Sexlink balloon belly discovery

electrycmonk

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Aug 8, 2019
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Last night I went and got some needles at TSC (and some Chicken food too)…

this reply below is from last night in the chat again, in response to thecomments about how the “draining” won’t cure her or “save” her given the likelihood it’s ascites and that Sexlinks are a very, very short lifespan bird. She is currently 2.5 years old & this breed is supposedly 3-4 years maximum life. Well….

Wednesday is oldest daughters birthday (16th).
If she can have reduced pressure for a while before I have to put her to sleep, great. If I need to put her to sleep BEFORE the birthday….. UGH! (Heavy sigh) …. I will.

if she gives a hint to hanging around for “x months” great. I read enough of that thread (which refers to post #42) to know that this situation is a mirror to the cancer situation my Mom had in 2006. Drained her lungs several time between June and December- when she passed away in my arms.

…..

so I didn’t have the energy/guts last night to try to drain her. She seemed comfy and relaxed on the towel nest under the heat lamp.

this morning as I got up and around she was still chillin’ & a few more poop spots.

I headed off to my dr. Appointment.. will be checking on her when I get home after lunchtime.
 
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Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
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FWIW, I have a sexlink I rescued from a neglect situation. I know for a fact that she's over 5 years old because she was part of a kid's FFA project. She got her when she was a sophomore, and I acquired her after that girl graduated and her parents abandoned the whole flock. She looks awful for some reason (her feathers never grew back), but she is a great little bird and super feisty.

Good luck draining her belly!
 

OwO

Songster
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May 26, 2014
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I agree that this sounds like ascites (water belly,) because of the swollen lower abdomen and the yellow urates in the droppings. Ascites is caused by liver disease that may be caused by a reproductive disorder such as egg yolk peritonitis or cancer, and also can be a sign of heart failure. Draining should be done with a sterile18 gauge needle, since the fluid can sometimes be thick and full of white blood cells. Sometimes the hen may continue to drain once the needle is removed, so placing her on a puppy pad or towel would be helpful. Draining is only a temporary fix, and can introduce infection, shock, or death. Your vet could do it for you. Ascites fluid is yellow, but if you find clear colorless fluid, that can be from a cystic right oviduct. In post 42 of this thread, there are pictures of a hen being drained:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/laying-hens-with-water-belly-or-ascites.68731/page-5

I may be mistaken but I don't believe EYP is related to Ascites caused by liver problems? My vet informed me that EYP is the introduction of incompletely formed egg matter into the abdomen, rather than ascites fluid from the liver. To quote an article online:

"Egg yolk peritonitis is the inflammatory response caused by the presence of yolk material in the peritoneum (the thin layer of tissue covering the inside of the hen's abdomen and most of the organs) from a ruptured egg or a retained egg in the oviduct."

(https://cluckin.net/egg-yolk-perito...s-and-treatment-of-eyp.html#mcetoc_1eeae8loc2)

Apologies if I am mistaken, I am just trying to understand more about this problem (have lost a few chickens to it over the years :( ) yet I keep hearing conflicting things. From my understanding "water belly" or "ascites" in chickens is generally EYP caused by internal laying? Are liver problems really that common in chickens? I was under the impression that EYP is often mistakenly referred to as Liver-caused Ascites due to it bearing a resemblance to the condition in humans :confused:

(edited for clarity)
 
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Eggcessive

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Liver disease is the main cause of ascites. Egg yolk peritonitis can lead to liver disease, and thus ascites. Heart failure and cancer can also cause ascites. Other causes can be infection and mold poisoning which can lead to liver failure.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
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I believe that ascites can be a symptom of any organ being diseased.
It definitely can have different causes.

Mine was likely tumors, as the vet picked up on lumps that shouldn't be there when giving Ng her an abdominal check - her fecals were surprisingly normal the entire time.

With EYP, you wouldn't get the typical yellow transudate fluids when draining, right? Of course, you'd have to prick your bird to find out what's in there to drain off. I would also think EYP would have an accompanying fever? In my run in with acites, there was no fever, but I have had a hen with salpingitis before and that absolutely caused a fever.

No EYP yet, thank the head hen, but not getting production breeds anymore, so hopefully these complex reproductive issues will be few and far between from now on.
 

electrycmonk

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Had a great, long call with my Better-half after lunch. I sent her a link earlier the other morning to this thread.

While we talked, she advised, to go ahead and put her to sleep and don’t worry about trying to drain her. She is already limited to one eye and this is something that is causing her pain. So don’t worry about the kiddos.

So, that private message is detailed on how to euthanize a chicken with a syringe filled with alcohol for an even faster and nearly painless death than that of using the ether.

I went in search of really good anatomy of the cranial area and found this one seemed the best & most detailed:

https://www.plastination-shop.com/product/chicken-head-sectional-anatomy-print/

7BC07EE7-3817-4BD4-9EAB-D0AB644C6843.jpeg
The method of using the syringe w/alcohol does indeed work. There appears to be slight variation on skull size and design between breeds of chickens. More so than just the sizable difference between the Silkies vaulted skulls and all of our larger breeds in our flock. I screwed up initially. The first attempt stopped instantly as the needle stopped at the skull bone, and the alcohol started to squirt straight up like a fountain. Out of safety to make sure I did it correctly it took 3 more attempts. The article recommends a couple very small sized needles. The diabetic size needles is what was suggested to me. They recommended the quantity of alcohol was 2ML. The next detail was to be very careful and as soon as the needle has reached the brain to immediately inject the alcohol. There were a couple details I will update tomorrow….it’s 2AM & I’m finally winding down for the night.


What I had just bought at TSC was technically much larger. 18 gauge it’s all I had. And this is the alcohol I used:
2271AC52-A9F3-4DAE-B17B-8E1163F7CC9B.jpeg
In the article and the private chat the minimum alcohol is recommended as 70% but, 90% is ideal.
My 24 y/o DS held the hen as I did the injections. He figured that all told, it took maybe 2 minutes total. She did pass rather quickly- in retrospective view. However, for me *time* slowed down and it felt much longer.

Once she had passed I had decided to drain her of the fluid build up. I started out with a ruler across the top & on the side of the Tupperware. Guess-timated the taper and was way off for the base measurement. Using the ~6” X ~6” sides and the nearly 1 1/2” deep liquid. When she had drained I re-measured.
DAC0836B-9FD9-47A5-9703-72CD74F9E92B.jpeg
The base was 4 1/2” X 4 1/2” which was significantly smaller causing the volume estimate to be way off… so the volume calculation website estimate was significantly off… ~6” x ~6” X ~1.5” deep = ~880+ ML of fluid extracted.
A10DC853-48FE-49C6-890C-E485CF933910.jpeg
Well, this is what actually was drained:
8992291D-3864-41FD-9677-4111326D3FF5.jpeg
For sincere medical curiosity I did this draining. The other article has a great pictures to show how to drain and the color of the fluid in the containers is much closer to a straw color and rather clear. This has a obvious green hue and much less translucent. Once done draining I bagged her up and respectfully put her in the freezer.
 
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Eddie12109

Songster
Nov 14, 2020
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If you have not euthanized your chicken and don’t want to drain...
I give my hen with ascites a mix of:
Cinnamon, oregano, apple cider vinegar, and water at 8ml every day
Lily of the desert at 8ml a day
Turmeric 5 times a week

i have used this for my current hen who filled up with fluid to the point it seemed like she was about to burst. After a few days it now feels like she barely has any fluid. I have been able to prolong chicken lives with this before by months. It’s not a cure and isn’t some miracle fix for all chickens but it has helped me on four hens who have ascites.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
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Had a great, long call with my Better-half after lunch. I sent her a link earlier yesterday morning to this thread.

While we talked, she advised, to go ahead and put her to sleep and don’t worry about trying to drain her. She is already limited to one eye and this is something that is causing her pain. So don’t worry about the kiddos.

So, that private message that gave me detailed instructions on how to euthanize a chicken with a syringe filled with alcohol at the base of the skull for an even faster and nearly painless death than that of using the ether.
It's definitely a hard call to make when they're part of the family. Our last shaver (we lost all 3 this year) went on a hunger strike as we were going into lockdown and things just got worse and worse from there. She was showing signs of organ failure and we decided to cull - it was our first at home and we went with cervical dislocation.

Would love to know a less violent way of doing it, but that way was quick and definitive. It took seconds and you could tell she was gone despite the body reaction.
 

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