SAD PICTURES: Additional thoughts about our necropsy?

CoffeeintheCoop

In the Brooder
Nov 11, 2019
15
45
43
This is definitive, and is a very, very abnormal looking oviduct. The inside and the outside should be approximately the same color, and should definitely not be thick. The yellow layers in the lumen indicate pretty severe and chronic inflammation. I thik what you are seeing is not necessarily yolk, but fibrinous material from chronic inflammation. I hope this helps put your mind at ease, salpingitis is a tough thing to diagnose and treat, and treatment is very often unrewarding by the time she shows clinical signs. Sorry for your loss, and thanks for sharing your necropsy photos with us.
I appreciate that. The confident convergence of opinions here has definitely eased my mind and taught me a lot.
 

Kiki

Hatching Quailies
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Jul 31, 2015
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The chickens are fed a 17% organic complete layer feed and a smaller amount of scratch. I don't make the decisions or buy the feed, but this second food is called scratch around here, and it looks like a dry seed mixture, with ground corn as a major component. I think it is fed more as a treat. Then, my dad gives them a cup or two of thawed-out frozen corn. He just thinks, "people feed "livestock" CORN, and of course, the hens LOVE it." During warmer months he chops up romaine lettuce as a treat every afternoon. Since Goldie died, he has backed off the corn a bit, and they stopped enjoying the lettuce once the weather got cold. They get dried mealworms, but not every day. During the time Goldie was sick, I started offering more variety in treats (grapes, shredded carrots, squash, apples, cooked grains like barley, broccoli, etc) but I have stopped doing most of that. The vet who saw Goldie stated that she was deficient in calcium, so I have been drying out egg shells and also feeding them hard boiled egg for about a week now. Next task is to figure out how to get more calcium into them. Their eggs are thin-shelled. They have oyster shell available at all times. The water gets ACV in it.
I would stop all of the treats and the acv and just feed the complete feed and plain fresh water.
 

Sue Gremlin

Crowing
7 Years
Jan 1, 2013
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It is so very helpful to see the consensus as you summarized here. Thank you. Would you say, as a general rule, if a hen starts to slowly waste away, with no distinctive symptoms, and then she stops wanting to eat or enjoy life, this is a strong possible cause, and euthanasia is the best course to take?
Yes, this is how I see it. It's hard to know what is wrong while the chicken is still living, though, so it's not black and white. Some birds can be treated for salpingitis, but it's largely unrewarding when the disease has progressed past a certain point. If I have a bird who is losing weight and not eating or responding to care, I will cull her.
 

coach723

Crowing
Feb 12, 2015
4,392
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North Florida
Would you say, as a general rule, if a hen starts to slowly waste away, with no distinctive symptoms, and then she stops wanting to eat or enjoy life, this is a strong possible cause, and euthanasia is the best course to take?
Sometimes it is very difficult to know exactly what is going on internally until necropsy, symptoms can be so similar between different conditions. Crop problems can be isolated to the crop sometimes and treated, but many times it's a symptom of something bigger. It's really necessary to look at the entire picture when trying to diagnose what is going on and every bird is a bit different. I've tried treating for salpingitis and so far have not had a positive outcome. It's so hard since they hide it so well that usually by the time you know they have it it's pretty advanced. I've lost birds to salpingitis and reproductive cancers, the symptoms can be very similar, the outcome is also the same. I leave mine with the flock until they are no longer doing normal chicken things, go off food and water, isolate themselves, then I euthanize. Knowing that there is nothing I can do for them, then when quality of life is poor, I don't see a reason to make them suffer. The worst part of chicken keeping, but a unfortunately necessary part. Once they are doing so poorly, they generally don't recover, regardless of the underlying condition when it's internal. Even though they can recover from some absolutely horrible stuff externally from injury.
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,207
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We took Goldie to a vet, and he totally mis-diagnosed her and sent us on a hunt for worm medication...
I actually hear about that a lot. People sending other people after wormer for everything from a messy butt to weird behaviour, I mean. It seems like a lot of vets have no idea what to do with chickens.
I replied INSIDE the quotes-- didn't realize that it is difficult to find those sentences after it is posted!
If you haven't already figured this out: Find what you want, highlight it, and hit "+quote" which should pop up automatically after you've finished highlighting. Repeat with the next section to which you want to respond. When you've captured all the sections you want to capture, hit "Insert Quotes" (little blue box under the reply box) and it'll upload them all as individual quotes that can be responded to individually.
 

CoffeeintheCoop

In the Brooder
Nov 11, 2019
15
45
43
I would stop all of the treats and the acv and just feed the complete feed and plain fresh water.
Quick summary of why? The birds are free range in a large yard with forage and insects available, so their diet is not controlled. Also, no one actually cares, it turns out, whether or not they lay eggs. But we all want to keep them happy and comfortable! Why not a variety of treats?
 

Kiki

Hatching Quailies
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Jul 31, 2015
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Quick summary of why? The birds are free range in a large yard with forage and insects available, so their diet is not controlled. Also, no one actually cares, it turns out, whether or not they lay eggs. But we all want to keep them happy and comfortable! Why not a variety of treats?
Because chickens are dumb.
They will fill up on the variety of treats before they eat a complete balanced diet.
Chickens lay eggs It's what they do.... When they stop laying eggs it's because something is wrong... Or they are old.

Think of all of the treats that you offer as chips and candy.
Think of how a kid would rather just eat chips and candy all day long.
Think of how that would affect their health.
 

CoffeeintheCoop

In the Brooder
Nov 11, 2019
15
45
43
Sometimes it is very difficult to know exactly what is going on internally until necropsy, symptoms can be so similar between different conditions. Crop problems can be isolated to the crop sometimes and treated, but many times it's a symptom of something bigger. It's really necessary to look at the entire picture when trying to diagnose what is going on and every bird is a bit different. I've tried treating for salpingitis and so far have not had a positive outcome. It's so hard since they hide it so well that usually by the time you know they have it it's pretty advanced. I've lost birds to salpingitis and reproductive cancers, the symptoms can be very similar, the outcome is also the same. I leave mine with the flock until they are no longer doing normal chicken things, go off food and water, isolate themselves, then I euthanize. Knowing that there is nothing I can do for them, then when quality of life is poor, I don't see a reason to make them suffer. The worst part of chicken keeping, but a unfortunately necessary part. Once they are doing so poorly, they generally don't recover, regardless of the underlying condition when it's internal. Even though they can recover from some absolutely horrible stuff externally from injury.
This is beautifully worded and I think a great summary of a basic policy. I have read enough accounts of chickens fully recovering (quickly, too) from simple crop issues, so I would want to be sure to try addressing that... but I don't think it makes sense to go through the whole process we attempted with Goldie... (I didn't describe all of it, but it included a vet visit, hand feeding, and also allowing her to die on her own, without the assistance of euthanasia)

THANK YOU. I will print this out for my dad
 

Jac Jac

Songster
May 6, 2019
190
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173
Savannah, Chatham County, GA
*** NECROPSY PICTURES **** SAD *** KIND OF GROSS ***

We lost a 2 1/2 year old Rhode Island Red hen recently. We decided to do a necropsy, since there was a lot of newbie learning curving and uncertainty, (despite a visit to a vet) and we wanted to be more informed for the future.

Mostly, I just want to post photos and ask questions about the photos, but if anyone needs a backstory detail, or if I should try to summarize the backstory, just let me know.

I am quite sure that Goldie died due to internal laying. I just want to know if I am missing anything else important, especially related to some fecal material I found in her intestines. I also have a couple extra questions.

The first picture I am uploading shows the content of her crop in a plastic ziplock bag. I thought Goldie had developed an impacted crop (it was quite hard at first), but after getting it to almost-completely empty and slowly adding food, it never returned to expected, healthy behavior. I repeatedly felt it over a week of time, and really thought she had sour crop. It felt "mushy" and "squishy". However, the crop contents had absolutely no sour or bad odor whatsoever. They just looked and smelled like a bunch of undigested feed with a few odds and ends. It seems like the texture of a malfunctioning crop doesn't always indicate a true case of sour crop. It wouldn't empty but it was not fermented. And it was not hard as impacted crops are supposed to feel like, either.

The second picture shows what I THINK are the contents of Goldie's stomach and her gizzard. I wasn't certain about whether I had both organs or not. Again, I just found undigested food, and lots of it. The sad thing is that Goldie probably starved to death, with all this food inside her body. This sort of information is exactly why we wanted to do a necropsy, so we can prevent another hen from suffering if possible. On this second image, I circled three round brown items. They seemed to be tiny rocks, but they are perfectly (or nearly) spherical. Does the action of the gizzard grind small stones into perfect spheres? We don't have a bunch of round brown stones in the yard, but we have larger, oddly-shaped brown landscape stones that may have been used by Goldie.

The next photo shows some pellets of fecal matter that I found in Goldie's intestines. These are small but very hard. Very different than all of the other objects found inside her body. In other portions of the intestines, there was wet, watery feces. But in one section, I found these pellets. I wish I could tell you more about what portion of the intestines it was, but I am not sure.

The fourth image shows the hard-boiled eggs we extracted from what I think is the oviduct (?). They were inside a fairly substantial tube that I could believe was their proper location. But they apparently were malformed, stuck and they just cooked inside her body.

The following images show what I think is a broken egg (yolk) scattered throughout her internal system. We saw the bright golden material all the way from the outside of her crop to down in her pelvic area. This is a broken, internally-laid egg, correct?

How does all of this work to harm the hen? Does the broken egg create a toxicity that poisons her so her organs don't work properly? Or did something mechanically block movement of food through her system and/ or mechanically block the eggs from moving down the oviduct correctly? Goldie had a bad day along the trajectory of her decline, and then "someone" laid a cooked egg overnight and Goldie obviously felt a whole lot better the next day. I was surprised to find the cooked egg material inside a long muscular tube, that seemed like a good place for eggs to be found. Their diameter and shape indicates the tube from which we squeezed them. I think they were all connected as one mass, but broke apart as we squeezed them out, as if squeezing out dried-up toothpaste. But nothing had shells, and I saw no weird shell-type material inside her body anywhere.

And... one last question that doesn't have a photo to accompany it. The vet told us that internal laying is "very rare" and even with an X-ray, he didn't recognize that she might be dying from internal laying. He checked a fecal sample and found worms. (We aren't sure what type of worms yet, I need to clarify that). But I opened up her intestines to see if I could find some significant mass of worms that would indicate her cause of death. I didn't see any. However, her body froze hard prior to our necropsy, due to scheduling issues. Would intestinal worms even be visible in small quantities after thoroughly freezing? Or would they kind of disintegrate? I did see some long stringy matter, very soft and soupy, as if the fecal material itself had kind of a stringy consistency, inside her intestines, but I couldn't have said they were worms. This issue is complicated by the fact that I fed her 8 earthworms only a few days prior to her death. There is no way to really know, but curious if I may have seen worms of some sort inside the intestines.

Thank you so much in advance for any and all thoughts shared. View attachment 1957233 View attachment 1957238 View attachment 1957245 View attachment 1957253 View attachment 1957270 View attachment 1957271 View attachment 1957272
 
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