Serious case of heat stroke ... bad!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by flybynight, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. flybynight

    flybynight New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2013
    Coastal North Carolina
    No, it's not that hot in coastal NC today, about 84 degrees, and my hens are free ranging in a large backyard for the day, with plenty of shade and water. But there was a black plastic bin of shavings near the coop. I found it tipped over with one of my 2 yr old GLW layers. Marsala had been trapped struggling underneath the pile of shavings and upturned black plastic bin in the sun, for how long I don't know, probably at least an hour. I thought surely she must be dead. I picked her up and she was limp, but her beak was slowly gaping and her eyelids moved. As I carried her inside, saliva dribbled from her beak.

    I filled the bathroom sink with tap water and cooled her down in it, holding her head up so she wouldn't drown. I supplemented the cool bath with a few ice cubes. I'm not sure how long I kept her in, perhaps 15 minutes. Her breathing seemed to normalize, and the heat radiating from her skin lessened. After getting her out, I became concerned that I may have cooled her down too much or too fast. I took her temperature, and it seems perfect, 104 degrees, so now I have her covered and protected from drafts so she won't cool down any more.

    I have mixed up homemade electrolyte, a quart of water with 1/8 t salt substitute, 1/4 t baking soda, 1/4 t salt, 3/4 t sugar. I put in some Thick-It, hoping to lower the risk of getting it into her lungs. I'm using a syringe to give her a couple of drops at a time.

    She is sleeping a lot, but opening her eyes some. Although she seems unable to lift her head, she actually can when she occasionally shakes out her hackle feathers.

    Oh my, now she's flapping, trying to stand, but she keeps falling over. I have her on a bed of towels in a box in the house.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Anything I'm not doing that I should? Anything I am doing that I shouldn't? Possible prognosis?

    Marsala is a sweet bird. She's very pretty -- he black bands on her golden feathers are wide, bordering a rich bronze center that doesn't become washed out as they age. She was the first to let me pick her up, and the first to start laying. Though her eggs are a little small (55-58g) she's a good consistent layer. I feel responsible for leaving that bin out there. I would hate to lose her.
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    It can take a while for them to recover, I would just keep her in a cool, quiet place with food and plain water and let her rest. Maybe alternate the electrolyte mix your giving with plain water so you don't get to much salt into her and see if she doesn't start drinking on her own later today.

    Good luck with her, hope she pulls through.
     
  3. flybynight

    flybynight New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2013
    Coastal North Carolina
    Thanks cafarmgirl. I don't really know how much fluids to push into her right now while she's not drinking on her own. Any thoughts on that? I suspect she's quite dehydrated.
     
  4. flybynight

    flybynight New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2013
    Coastal North Carolina
    Yay! With a little help balancing, she just took a few sips on her own! If I don't help her to balance, she tips forward, tail up, in sort of a three point stance with beak touching down.
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    It's hard to get too much water into them if your just doing it via an eyedropper or syringe so your probably safe just supplementing what she will drink on her own if you think she's not getting enough. Hopefully tomorrow she'll feel stronger and eat/drink by herself. Will she eat anything if you offer it? Mashed hard boiled egg maybe?

    I had this same thing happen last summer, chicken tipped a box over on herself that I'd forgotten to take out of the barn. Except I didn't find her in time. I really kicked myself for a long time over that, I still feel bad about it, so I know how you feel! Hope your girl continues to improve.
     
  6. flybynight

    flybynight New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2013
    Coastal North Carolina
    Thanks! I was just pondering what food to offer her, and egg came to mind. I'd thought of scrambling one. I'm so sorry to hear that you lost a girl to a similar mishap ... I must stop kicking myself and focus on feeling grateful that I found her still alive.
     
  7. flybynight

    flybynight New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2013
    Coastal North Carolina
    I am offering egg, but she will not accept food yet. She hasn't repeated drinking on her own, but I continue to push some fluids. She is now holding her head up on her own, steady, no longer bobbing.
     
  8. flybynight

    flybynight New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2013
    Coastal North Carolina
    We lost her during the night. I suspect she seized and vomited. I think I heard something when it happened. Perhaps if I had stayed up to continue getting fluids into her, might have had a different outcome. In retrospect, sub-q fluids would have been the best route. But without being prepared for that at home, I would've had to pay for a vet visit. And she might have had brain damage anyway. I might look into what's needed to do sub-q, but I hope I never get the chance to do that again. RIP Marsala, you lovely bird. Why does it always have to be one of my favorites (sigh).
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Sorry to hear that you lost her, she may have just had to much damage from the heat stroke to be able to recover. Probably wouldn't have been anything you could do to change the outcome even if you'd been right there.

    The one I lost was my favorite bird by far also, she was such a tame, sweet bird. Don't know why it does always seem to be the ones we are most attached to.
     
  10. flybynight

    flybynight New Egg

    9
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    Feb 12, 2013
    Coastal North Carolina
    Thanks cafarmgirl for being with me through this. More hindsight, I should have warmed up a room for her. I didn't even stop to think that 76-78 degrees is way to chilly for a chicken ICU; better 85-90 degrees. Also, I should equip and learn to tube feed. Tubing fluids into her would have been more effective than wrestling that little beak open for one tiny squirt after another. I've lots to learn, being rather new to this (just over 2 years).
     

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