Sick hen that suffers seizures and refuses to eat

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cngsoft, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. cngsoft

    cngsoft Out Of The Brooder

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    This is my first post in BackYardChickens.com, and it's an emergency.

    1) What type of bird, age and weight?

    RIR, 4 years old, normal weight, no major recent weight loss or gain.

    2) What is exactly the behavior?

    Several months ago she got very short-sighted but we assumed it was just old age. However, the past night she had a seizure while sitting on the couch, her preferred spot for sleeping. We managed to calm her down and she managed to sleep. She seemed fine in the morning, she stood up on her own (in fact she didn't want to sit down) albeit she looked confused and didn't want to eat or drink. We hand-fed her a little in the afternoon but she wasn't very cooperative; even worse, she started bending her neck down, her head against her chest, and one hour later she got seizures, some of them quite violent (she screamed like if she were in panic, and we had to restrain her down until she calmed down) and she only calmed down when we made her lie on a side. And that's how she's been until now.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?

    The seizures, the lack of appetite, the crooked neck, the new seizures, they're all from the past 24 hours.

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?

    She's our last hen. However, our other birds (two partridges, a wood dove and a budgerigar) look perfectly fine. The wood dove stays near to our hen, they have been friends since we got the dove a year ago and something.

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma?

    Not at all. In fact, she shows full strength in her seizures.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation?

    I don't have any idea. She liked eating stuff from our backyard, however, and that's a risk factor.

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all?

    Her usual diet is made of wheat, corn, rice, lettuce... she shares it with the dove and the partridges, who stay healthy.

    8) How does the poop look?

    Her poop for the past 24 hours has been scarce (she didn't eat anything) but its bright green colour reminds me of diarrhea as described in other threads of the forum.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

    Keeping her indoors (where it's warm; it's icy outside), hand-feeding her sugary water, soaked bread and olive oil, massaging her crop as described in several pages of this site.

    10) What is your intent as far as treatment? Do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?

    This town is too rural and the vets here only handle cats, dogs and big cattle, so I'm afraid it's all in my hands.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    [​IMG]

    This is how she looked a couple of hours ago, after a specially big seizure where she yelled and screamed, like if she were in terror or panic. She calmed down after we held and petted her, we let her rest on the couch, and that's when I took the picture.

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use.

    Right now she's in a cradle improvised with a long yet not too tall crate filled with towels and sheets to keep her from hurting herself. This cradle is indoors.

    My apologies for all the mistakes you'll first in this hurried first post of mine. What shall I do with her now?

    EDIT: spelling, format.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  2. cngsoft

    cngsoft Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2013
    She just had a new seizure, this time she whimpered while she left her cradle and crawled on the ground; I had to hold her, hug her and talk to her until she calmed down and allowed me to return her to the cradle.
     
  3. BravewingTheHen

    BravewingTheHen Out Of The Brooder

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    My Coop
    Hmm... First of all, I'm no expert. I'm just going off of what I've experienced, And after looking at the picture of your bird, I feel like I've seen this before. First of all, has she been twisting her neck around in a snake-like motion and backing into things? Second, does she walk around fine? And third, is one of her wings drooping down lower than the other? Let me know if any of these symptoms seem to be in your chicken, or anything else that might give us a clue on what could be wrong. Hope she's ok. :(
     
  4. cngsoft

    cngsoft Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2013
    Thanks for replying, BravewingTheHen, and for asking new questions.

    She was twisting her neck in the afternoon, before the current string of seizures kicked in. She didn't back into things (though she collides into whatever is close to her during her seizures). She was able to walk normally until today morning; after that, she'd just stand up or sit down. Neither wing was drooping before the seizures began.

    I don't know what else to say, really. It's getting late here and she keeps getting seizures. She seems to have one every forty minutes approximately; in the very last one she excreted urine: no green poop because she hasn't eaten anything since the start of her seizures. Between each seizure she calms down, closes her eyes and lies on a side, like in the photo I took three hours ago; but if we try to hold her when she's relaxed, her legs and wings quickly start moving, making feeding almost impossible; it doesn't help her crop is still quite full.
     
  5. BravewingTheHen

    BravewingTheHen Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2013
    My Coop
    You could try searching up Wry Neck, my little Silkie has that right now and she's been doing okay, yet my hen Bravewing (yes, the one on which I named my account after) ended up dying from it. Your chicken sounds a little different though... Watch this video I found of someone's chicken and tell me if this kind of looks like your chicken, or what differences your chicken has to it.

     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  6. cngsoft

    cngsoft Out Of The Brooder

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    BravewingTheHen, Wry Neck was indeed one of the possible diseases of Caroline, and while her behaviour didn't look exactly like your video, (from the list of related videos) matched her early state of confusion quite well. At the same time, however, her crop was impacted; the treatment described in https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/sick-hen seemed to work until the seizures begun.

    Unfortunately it's too late now: Caroline passed away. She was our last hen, the most charming, docile and intelligent of them all. She's survived by our 12-year-old budgerigar, a wood dove whom she was friends with, two young partridges who saw her as a role model, and yours truly. I'm in shambles.
     
  7. cngsoft

    cngsoft Out Of The Brooder

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    In the hope that current readers will deduce explanations for Caroline's sad fate and future readers will find them useful, I'm going to share my observations on the late Caroline's body.

    The immediate cause of death was that she choked and drowned on her own vomit: her bill and the blanket where she rested were dirty with sticky watery goo. We had indeed tried to feed her fresh water and olive oil when we realised ten hours earlier that her crop was impacted, still carrying some food from the past Monday despite her not having eaten for the entirety of the next (and last) day, Tuesday; we had also massaged her crop, following the recommendations of https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/sick-hen and other BYC contents.

    The seizures may have been thus a consequence of insufficient massages and excessive water; the impacted crop thus became a full-blown sour crop case when she began arching her neck in discomfort, and her later evolution (Caroline laid on a side, with brief yet violent seizures every thirty or forty minutes) could be the effect of worsening pain, weakening starvation and an increasing awareness of incoming death.

    However, it's still difficult to say how everything started. The very first symptom of something major going on happened on Monday, when she experimented a seizure before bedtime. She seemed to recover and slept a good night, but disorientation and confusion kicked in the next morning, and by the time we realised her crop wasn't right it was already late afternoon and she had fewer than 12 hours to live.

    I'd like to thank the entire userbase (past, present and future) of BYC.com for all the texts that helped me solve past health issues from my late fowl, for all the replies that my questions about Caroline's final sickness received, and for all the chickens that will live better lives thanks to the growing contents, experience and knowledge of of BackYardChickens.com.
     

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