Sick gaping chicken?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by deborahlee, May 18, 2011.

  1. deborahlee

    deborahlee New Egg

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    Mar 14, 2010
    One of my 3 year old sex-linked hens has been puffed out the last several weeks, but seeming to eat move around, comes in and out with the rest of the chickens. Now she really is just standing still... opening and closing her mouth as if gasping but not really gasping or wheezing. Gaping like a fish opens and closes its mouth. Her lower abdomen seems distended.

    Of the other 12 chickens, 11 are great and healthy. One we lost to our own negligence -- a poopy butt got infected and abscessed and we culled her a couple days ago... she also was just standing around puffed out. This one's hind end looks great, just her whole lower abdomen feels distended. She just ate a little slug I held out to her. she drinks a little water. We've had her inside 24 hours, and now half an hour in a warm bath without results..

    any other ideas?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I'd keep up with the warm baths if you can feel an egg bound up inside her. That's about the only thing you can do. I am wondering if she could be an internal layer. Unfortunately, if she is an internal layer and all puffed up with fluid, chances are she is not going to make it. You could try to drain off some of the fluid in her abdominal cavity to ease her breathing, but that is merely a stop-gap measure to make her more comfortable. It won't make much difference in her long term prognosis if she is laying internally.

    Good luck.
     
  3. deborahlee

    deborahlee New Egg

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    Mar 14, 2010
    Thanks CMV, I guess you're right. We don't feel an egg in her abdomen, just the distension. AND we notice that a once or twice a week we find an egg residue without a shell in the henhouse, as if it seeps out of her when she perches.

    She still seems to have some energy for things when she's outside, and I guess she's not contagious! ... so we'll watch how she's doing and cull her if she looks like she's in pain. Or is being all fluffed up and holding still enough to show the pain?

    thank you!
     
  4. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Most definitely indicators of extreme pain. Chickens hide the majority of their ailments very well. If they show any signs of weakness in a flock they are ostracized and/or attacked, so their evolution has made them masters at hiding pain and illness. When they are sick enough to show signs of it, they are pretty bad off.

    Sorry.
     
  5. tenderkat

    tenderkat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Deborahlee-

    I have been having the same exact symptoms with one of my girls for the past couple of weeks. Started with greenish diarrhea about a month and a half ago, then her tail went down two weeks ago, and her belly has gradually been getting bigger and bigger. Three days ago I noticed that her breathing had become labored, exactly as you mentioned like a fish out of water. And her abdomen is extremely large and very firm, not so much squishy anymore. She is having a really difficult time walking, and just sits like a penguin with her head held high and her wings out. Yesterday, I brought her inside the house, gave her a bath, and probed inside her vent. Nothing came out save for a tiny bit of the greenish diarrhea, and I didn't feel anything when probing inside. I was so disappointed because I was hoping that she had just become eggbound, the egg(s) would pass, and all would be well. And this morning, still nothing. She is eating and drinking.

    I went to the pharmacy last night and got a needle, with the intent of trying to 'drain' her. I have no idea if I will actually be able to do it, or if it will actually do any good if I try. I have read that with abdominal distension, there isn't always any fluid to drain, that sometimes it is enlarged organs or other undrainable masses. And I've also read, as CMV mentioned in your post, that this is only a temporary fix that does nothing to alleviate the underlying cause. I'd hate to put her through the pain of jabbing a needle into her, only to have negative results. So, I'm still on the fence unless someone can offer me a very good reason to try.

    I have no idea what is going on with Lily. She had a lice infestation, so I treated her for that. I will be doing my second half of worming this coming Sunday, although I doubt that Lily will be around to get any benefit from that. I have read about internal laying, lymphoid leukosis, salpingitis, septicemia, entiritus and many other causes/contributers to her 'water belly' condition. I have been so confused about all the different signs and symptoms of each, and none of them appear to have good outcomes. I am afraid that no matter what I do to help her, she will inevitably pass. There are no local vets that have any avian experience, and I'm not sure if I could afford one anyways. My only hope is that if she is going to die, she goes quickly and without too much discomfort. Although, as CMV mentioned above, her symptoms are indicative that she is already in extreme pain. I have no idea how to help her along.

    I am so sorry that you are going through this with your hen. And I am sorry that I can't offer any advice or help. I've hijacked your post for several reasons. Mainly because our symptoms and the condition of our girls seem so similar. Also, because I can totally understand your distress in trying to deal with all of this. Lastly, because I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences we will get some more advice/answers, plus it bumps your post up.

    I so hope your hen gets better, and good luck with however you decide to treat her!!!! If there is anything I find that helps my chicken, I will let you know. I will watch your post, and hopefully we will both get some clues.

    Katherine
     
  6. deborahlee

    deborahlee New Egg

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    Mar 14, 2010
    thanks for the info on reading pain...

    I think I would opt for putting her down rather than the syringe, agree, too much pain too little gain...

    but happily, today, after a day inside, she is walking around the yards with the other chickens, a little slower than the others, but interested in food. I think I'll get her the homeopathic remedy made from eggshell (Calc-o-t I think..) ... so far I've had very good experience using homeopathy with my chickens (one sided paralysis in one, just funky and sick looking in another).

    If I thought she had peritonitis, I'd use homeopathy first, don't know if I'd go to the antibiotics or not, but today, the sun is out and for today -- she's seeming better.
     
  7. morwenna

    morwenna New Egg

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  8. deborahlee

    deborahlee New Egg

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    Hi I didn't try the crushed garlic as she seemed to recover...wish I'd seen that before we had our next gaping chicken, but I didn't. With #2 (Pincushion) we had a day of worry, trying to flush out her crop which seemed too large but that didn't help...

    I gave her homeopathic Silica, no help, then Antimonium Tartaricum 200C because she was wheezing with the gape: she was better within 1 hour and completely better within 24 hours!

    I'll remember the garlic for next time though!

    thanks...
     

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