Sick hen - trying to diagnose so we can treat her

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by KGandE, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. KGandE

    KGandE Out Of The Brooder

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    We have a sick hen and are trying to find ways to help her. We raised her from a chick and she is about 8 months old. Her breed is a light brahma.

    About 2 weeks ago, we noticed that her eyes were closed and she was lethargic. This lasted about a day and a half before we took her inside to try and warm her up and hope to get her back to normal. Since she did not improve by the next day, we took her to the vet, who tube fed her about 25 ccs of critical care formula and gave her a course of Baytril antibiotics.

    We have been keeping her inside, in a big crate, bedded with shavings (same as her coop). We are tube feeding her at home twice a day for 2 weeks. We ran out of "critical care" and the vet recommended that we switch to "exact" formula. She gets about 35 CCs twice a day.

    The improvements we see are that she is opening her eyes more often now and is a bit more energetic - enough to take a few steps around the room after we feed her. Overall, she is more alert than she was two weeks ago. The bad side is that she is still weak, has lost some more weight, shows no interest in eating or drinking on her own, and her head nods to the side when you put her down on her own outside of the crate. It sort of looks like she is drifting off to sleep and then catching herself - that kind of a head nod, but to the side and down. Also, when he put her down, she curls one foot as if she is looking for the roost. When she finds none, she straightens that foot out and stands normally. Also, she has lost some weight - not unexpected since we're just giving her the liquid diet.

    We tried putting her outside today, since it was relatively warm and sunny, but after 5 minutes of doing nothing but standing there, we brought her back in.

    The other hens she was housed with all are fine so far.

    So, at this point, we are really looking for ideas. If there is anyone reading this who has had a similar experience, please let us know if you figured out what it was or how to treat it. If not, any other ideas on how to get her back to her old self are much appreciated.

    Please be aware that this girl is a pet - we don't care about egg production or even getting her back outside - we just want to try to get her back in good health again so she can feel good. If we don't figure something out in the next day or so, we will have her in for x-rays and blood work. (The vet doesn't really know what he's looking for at this point, but hopes that maybe something will leap out as a cause when we review the x-rays and blood work...)

    Thanks.
     
  2. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    (EDIT - Further research helped me realize that a hen could not survive being egg-bound for two weeks.... Nevermind.)

    Other than that, I have no idea. I assume you have checked her thoroughly for any hidden injury/cut/bite/wound/etc?

    Is she sneezing, have nasal discharge, eye bubbles, or anything?

    How are her poops?

    Is she still laying, or has she stopped?

    Can you feel any unusual masses in her abdomen?

    I hope we can figure it out! Maybe some of the more experienced members can chime in. :)

    MrsB
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  3. KGandE

    KGandE Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your post.

    She has no injuries that we can find, no discharge, no bubbles and no masses - nothing that we can see or feel.

    Her eyes are shut, but when she opens them they seem to be pretty normal looking. The vet said they looked swollen, but I'm not sure I agree. She is a bit squinty when she opens them though, so I suspect they may be sore or at least sensitive to the light. That's the only real visible symptom she has, along with the head nodding and the foot thing she does when you put her down.

    We're not sure that she has ever laid an egg - although her sister started about 1 month ago, so 2 weeks before this began. If she did start, it was just in those couple of weeks and she hasn't laid since we brought her in. The vet confirmed that she's definitely not egg bound.

    Her poops are really stinky and greenish. They are not normal, but are closer to normal than they were when she first came in. She usually poops soon after we feed her.

    Thanks again - you had good questions, maybe they will help someone else to help us!
     
  4. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pictures of your hen and her poop would greatly help if you can get one up with your mobile. <3

    I forgot to ask.... When was the last time you wormed them?? :)

    Neon green poop is a sign of malnutrition, either from a hen not eating (due to illness) or due to worms!

    Your vet can do a fecal float test for parasites.

    @casportpony and @Eggcessive are the resident medical geniuses when it comes to veterinary stuff. ^_^ You can find a PLETHORA of info on the site using the search bar at the top for the symptoms and dosage for worming your mama. I would suggest doing ALL of your birds at the same time, just to be sure. It's a good idea to worm your entire flock once or twice a year. I believe it's okay to do, even if they are worm-free.

    The medication used for worming is available at most feed stores. It's the kind used for worming horses, if I'm not mistaken... You just use teeny, tiny amounts!!!

    How long have you had chickens? :)

    MrsB
     
  5. KGandE

    KGandE Out Of The Brooder

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    They were wormed fairly recently with a pelleted wormer. I will have vet double check her for worms, but I'm not seeing any (as I did in the past, before worming). The flock eats a complete layer pellet supplemented with some grains for treats daily and occasional fresh fruits or veggies; they also free range in a fenced area.
     
  6. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wish I were of more help to you but I am at a loss. The only other thing I can figure could be some kind of internal infection or something that, obviously, we can't see. :/

    I hope someone can come in and help.

    Again, pictures certainly help if you can manage one or two!

    MrsB
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Pretty sure 35 cc's twice a day is not enough for a bird that size. Do you have a kitchen scale? If not, get one and start weighing her daily. Your hen probably needs about 10-20% of her body weight per day in fluids, but double check with your vet on that.

    Many worms are too hard to see and capillary worms are hard to treat, especially with one of those pellet wormers. If she were mine I would talk to the vet about treating or capillary worms with Safeguard or Panacur. Know that while fecals are good to do, many times the produce false negatives.

    -Kathy
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    This link says that crop volume is about 50 ml/kg and to start with 1/3 to 1/2 that. You have been tubing her for quite some time, so it's probably safe to give more than 1/2 crop volume) f she were mine I would give no less that 25 ml/kg and probably not more than 50ml/kg once I was sure she could tolerate the extra and was showing no signs of vomiting. Twice a day is usually enough, but if she losing weight you might want to increase to three or four times a day, but only if her crop empties normally. Make sense?

    Here's the link:
    http://www.lafebervet.com/avian-medicine-2/avian-nutrition/tube-feeding/

    -Kathy
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Regarding the wormer... The Safeguard dose I use for chickens is 0.23 ml per pound for five days. This dose will treat roundworms, cecal worms, gapeworms, capillary worms and possibly some species of tapeworms.

    Safeguard liquid and paste are sold at Tractor Supply in the goat, cattle and horse sections. Liquid or paste will work and the dose is the same with either. Ignore the instructions on the bottle or tube, they're for horses, goats and cattle.

    -Kathy
     
  10. Katz5617

    Katz5617 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel your pain. We're trying to reintroduce our pet back into the flock after an unidentified illness. She fell ill quite suddenly and was falling to the side, couldn't stand,lethargic, her left toes began to curl - no balance at all. We searched for injuries, blood, swelling. her crop was fine - we could find no explanation and none of the other chicks got sick. We brought her into the house and began hand feeding and watering her. I gave her medicated feed, wormed her, gave her vitamins. electrolytes, etc. We kept at it consistently for a little over two weeks. She eventually came around and is no longer staggering or losing her balance and is eating well and can literally run around - we've never known what it was or just what it was that helped her get better - but other than it seems her left wing is now paralyzed she seems good as new. The other chicks didn't want to let her return to the flock so my husband built an adjacent run so they can all familiarize themselves again. We've been doing this for about two weeks now and next week will probably put her back in. I guess my whole point is to say don't give up. We have no idea what was wrong with lady or if anything we did helped her or if she just got better on her own with time but as you said - she is our pet and we wanted to give her every opportunity to live. I know I would hand feed lady and find treats she would eat, put a little yogurt on my fingers - anything I could. People here gave me wonderful suggestions and things to look for. I really didn't think she would make it, but she fooled us and I don't regret the time I spent trying. She is such a sweet natured and loving little Lady. Good luck and I certainly hope yours has a happy ending. This is our first attempt at raising chickens and I certainly found out there is a lot to learn and this is our go to site for information. We just tried a multitude of things that the folks here suggested and something worked. Hopefully you can find the right combination of what it will take for your pet.
     

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