sick polish -- mold??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tmasker, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. tmasker

    tmasker Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello to all![​IMG]
    I just found this forum while searching for help. I have a gray Polish hen, Polly, who has started laying eggs about a month ago so she is young. Two days ago I noticed she was not out scratching around in her run making the usual noises. I found her sitting in the nesting box with her head down. I thought she might be laying an egg since she didn't lay for two days in a row. She never laid an egg and was slumped over in her box. I took her out and sat her on the ground to see how she was doing. She sunk to the grown and her head slowly went down until her beak was touching the ground. I thought with the 95+ degree weather are having in Central Florida, it could be heat or dehydration so I put a bowl of cool water near her. I wet her warm feet and she drank at least 12 times. She was eating dehydrated worms and corn on the cob without a problem. I thought we were all good. [​IMG] I put her in a wire cage in the back porch with water and food under a fan to keep cool, but covered the cage to keep her out of direct draft.

    The next day,yesterday, Polly was worse. She was puffed up with her head down. She responded to my call and lifted her head up. She was able to stand, but tired easily. She was not eating and sometimes had her beak resting in the shallow water bowl. She is making soft sounds and very weak. I can get her to stand but she is unsteady. I noticed the droppings under the cage were green and white but loose. I put a some Tetracyline in her water thinking it would help. I also put the medicated water in a small bowl with some layers mash garnished with a few worms. She tried to eat it, but was too weak. Tonight I put a bit of the "juice" from the bowl in a small syringe and fed a little bit to her tonight. She did drink a few times. She is still in her wire cage on the porch outside where it has just rained so it is humid and 71 degrees. I covered her up.

    After reading all the posts, I think it could be mold intoxication. We have had daily showers and although her coop is covered, her food was moldy. She shares the coop with 2 young Frizzles. They seem to be fine. I have cleaned out the hen house throughly. I raked and watered down the ground to get rid of any droppings. The food dish is now disenfected and fresh food and water are available for the Frizzles. Meanwhile, I am worried Polly will not make it. I think I will purchase some Corid in the morning (Saturday) and give it a try.... Can't hurt at this point. I have read about many scary diseases so I am hoping this is not contagious to my other 10 chickens or my family. Any further assistance is most welcomed. Thanks for giving me all the information to be able to sleep tonight [​IMG]

    Trish
     
  2. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    tmasker, check out the symptoms for aspergillosis and for mycotoxins and see if they fit. I just did a bunch of online research recently because my GLP Polly, who turned out to be Pol, had similar symptoms to yours. She had a rare bleeding ulcer that led to sepsis, which I doubt is your girl's issue, but I recall that I thought maybe some type of mycotoxin might have been the cause due to the symptoms.

    This is a good site that lists lots of poulty diseases including symptoms, causes and treatments:

    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/

    Good luck!
     
  3. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Has Polly been around any other chickens that have had coccidiosis, or any location where any chickens have had coccidiosis? If not, she most likely doesn't have that since chickens can only get it from other chickens & their droppings.

    It sounds like an internal fungal infection is very likely the problem. I've battled that strenuously before.
    ******************************
    I nursed 2 chickens for months with internal fungus problem that came from my feeding them moldy corn. I think what they had was mycotoxicosis, & would think that's what your hen has because there's a lot of corn in feed.
    This is so hard to watch & try to help. I did not know for sure the problem, nor the treatment with my first chicken. I didn't know correct treatment until very late with the second. They both slowly died of starvation.

    Mycotoxicosis is extremely hard to cure and has a very poor prognosis. However, if she has aspergillosis (which is also a fungal condition) that apparently doesn't cause high morbidity.

    Some important basic tips for treating Mycotoxicosis:
    * Antibiotics in general are NOT GOOD for treating it, because those also kill off GOOD bacteria which help in driving off bad fungi.
    * Carbohydrates and sweets *feed the fungus*, which then does more damage to the chickens' insides plus releases more toxins. Do NOT give any molasses, sugar, etc.
    * Proteins are great! Grasshoppers, earwigs, mealworms (though very expensive), freshly hulled nuts other than peanuts (pre-hulled nuts are more likely to have mold on them, as are peanuts), meats of any kind (fish, pork, beef).
    * It is okay to feed some regular feed, though it has quite a bit of carbs. Also do give other foods to help balance it out, though. I would not feed bread because it fills up their crops quickly so they probably won't eat as much, and is high-carb.
    * A little unsweetened yogurt is helpful to nourish good bacteria that are getting killed off competing with the fungus. Don't overdo or they will get diarrhea.
    * Add vitamins and mineral powder to their water. (**Do NOT add this to food. Chickens don't like the taste. They will still drink water fine with it added, but will avoid food if you add it to that.***) Add a little more than the label's directions. A pouch Vi-Tal or similar supplement at a feed store costs only $4. There are electrolytes in those, which means there is some sugar, but hopefully not as much as in Poly-Visol children's vitamins, etc.
    * Several kinds of vegetables are good for chickens struggling with this--spinach, pumpkin, lettuce (other than iceburg kind), & probably others. I don't remember for sure about tomatoes...
    * I would keep the chicken in a restricted area so she's sheltered from other chickens rambunctiousness & doesn't have to travel a lot, and so she has ready access to all the food and water she will take in. She needs as much of her energy saved as possible! The fungus is eating her food & poisoning her, and potentially damaging the walls of her digestive tract.
    * There is a hard-to-find chemical that can help treat this. I don't remember the name right now. It is a turquoise blue crystal. I had to get it from a compounding pharmacy. Try searching for mycotoxicosis treatments to find more info on that.
    * I don't remember whether Apple Cider Vinegar (unfiltered, "with the mother"--in health food sections of stores) is useful for this??? Kelp is another maybe--I don't remember for sure...

    Your hen may end up being too weak already to make it. I hope for the best, though.
    Since your other 2 chickens had access to the moldy feed, they likely have the condition, too, just are not showing signs as much yet because their systems' were maybe stronger to start with, or they didn't eat as much mold. Give them appropriate diet for treatment, too.
    Most of the chickens in the coop with my hens didn't die. I'm not sure whether they ate some of the moldy corn (There was only a little) or not, but if they did, apparently they were able to fight off the fungus, so you might have a good chance with some of yours.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  4. spiritdance

    spiritdance Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You said you thought she was laying an egg because she hadn't for a couple of days. Has she laid one since? If not, she could very well be egg bound. If so, this can be deadly within a few days, so you need to act NOW. Try sitting her in a shallow bath of warm water to relax her, then after soaking for at least 15 minutes use some vegetable oil around and just inside her vent. I then place an egg-bound hen on a towel in my lap and gently begin massaging from just under the ribs in a sweeping motion down toward the vent area. In severe cases, you may need to gently insert your finger into the vent and try to feel the lower egg. If you can reach it, oil the egg with vegetable oil. In one instance, I was forced to puncture the lower shell and allow the egg to fold in on itself to save a hen. This is risky, though, because if the hen doesn't expel all the shell fragments they can scratch her inside and create a site of possible infection. But if she is egg bound you MUST get that egg out! And afterwards, put the hen on antibiotics for 3 days, offer live culture yogurt, buttermilk, or keffir, and put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a quart of water and provide it as the only water source. Keep the hen in away from the flock (her "normal" environment encourages laying - something you don't want at this point) and DO NOT feed any layer feed until you know she is on her way to recovery. The goal is to halt egg production until her "machinery" can recover.

    If this is what's going on and she recovers this time, you will need to be very conscious in the future of her laying habits, since some hens are prone to this. Also, make sure she is getting enough calcium. Simply supplying oyster/calcium supplements to the flock is sometimes not enough for some hens. They just don't eat enough on their own to ensure easy laying and good egg shells. For these girls, I grind up some oyster shell very fine and "flour" moistened treats (grapes, raisins, bugs, whatever) with the powder. Not only does this get extra calcium in your "problem" hens, your chickies will shower you with undying devotion for it (at least until you fall down in the coop and they are forced to eat you on general principle [​IMG] ). Keep us posted as to your girl's condition.

    ETA: Given your pullet's age, I strongly suspect egg binding rather than mold poisoning. While the hot weather lately will spoil food more quickly, you would likely be seeing some symptoms in your other two birds as well, as mold toxicity does not discriminate. Also, hens (particularly young hens) are more likely to egg bind in hot weather, as they sometimes don't drink enough and their body fluids get more viscous/sticky. A hen's egg tract has a necessary level of moisture/lubrication that eases the passage of the egg. If this level drops, the hen must depend more on muscle contractions to move the egg down the tract. The result, in an egg bound hen, can be symptoms of extreme fatigue that go downhill to symptoms of systemic toxicity from the inability at a certain point to continue voiding stools. You mentioned that the stool you saw was watery - this happens in an egg bound hen because her body is trying to thin the stools enough to pass despite the bound egg (kind of like a person with intestinal adhesions getting diarrhea). Have you seen any more stools? Are they staying watery? If she stops voiding stools, her chances of recovery are greatly diminished, so try to determine if this is her problem before that happens.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  5. theparrotletdude

    theparrotletdude Out Of The Brooder

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    Take them to the vet. ASAP.

    Ity might be too late but you need to make an appointment and take them to an avian vet very, very soon.
     
  6. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I've read, egg binding takes longer to make a chicken as sick & weak as this one is.

    When I had internal fungus problems with my chickens, one showed signs early & I'd been treating her a number of weeks, when another I hadn't noticed problems in died before I could treat her at all. The first died almost a month later. Around the time she died, her mother got weak enough from the problem to finally show noticeable symptoms & she died a number of weeks after that. So chickens who have different strengths of constitution or who've eaten different mold quantities & different follow-up foods apparently weaken at different rates.

    Green loose stools are a sign of heavy bile as a chicken is starving. I really suspect the hen has an internal fungus. It would be almost impossible not to, if she ate moldy food, especially for more than a day or so, I think.

    Diagnosing fungus definitely is hard without doing internal (after death) inspection. Given the symptoms & situation, it is a reasonable conclusion, though. A vet wouldn't be able to do anything, unfortunately, except maybe tell you where to get that blue chemical, if you want to try that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  7. tmasker

    tmasker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2011
    Central Florida
    WOW! Thanks for welcoming me with open arms!!! I appreciate all your kind thoughts and good advice!

    I am so happy to report Polly is feeling much better. It was rough night for me with all the worrying. I was up at 5:30AM afraid to uncover her in fear of what I would find. She was standing up and talked to me!! She is still weak so I tried giving her a bit of unflavored yogurt to see what she would do. I put a bit on a spoon and held it to her beak. You can only imagine my excitement when she slapped her tongue in her beak and eagerly ate about 1/2 teaspoon of the yogurt. We moved on to a few freeze dried meal worms and a bit of chick starter feed in warm water. I was excited to finally feel her crop start to round out slightly. Not wanting to over due the food, I let her rest. After about an hour I took her out on the dew covered grass. She walked in circles and started scratching around. I think we may be on the mend, but she is still weak. I will try to see if I can feel the egg to see if she is egg bound, but I am a bit nervous about this. She loves to be held so I am sure she will allow it. I will update Polly's continuing improvement to all you kind Chicken Lovers! [​IMG]

    Polly has not been around any other chickens so I think I can rule out coccidiosis. Her droppings are firmer now and looking more normal. Starvation and dehydration were my biggest concern. Of course when I really started researching chicken illness I really became frightened! I was not aware so many things could go wrong! These chickens are our pets (family). I am so relieved she is getting back to her old self.

    I did notice the food in her run was moldy, so I have made adjustments to keep the driving rain from the food. How long do you think I need to keep Polly isolated as she improves if it is only from moldy food? What do you think about giving her Gatorade? I read about putting apple cider vinegar in the water. Would that be a better alternative? Thanks again for all your advice and concern. Thank goodness for this forum [​IMG]
    Trish
     
  8. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Idaho/Utah
    So glad Polly is doing well!!! [​IMG]

    You only need to keep her separate for as long as she is too weak to fit in well socially without becoming overwhelmed/over-stressed.

    Gatorade has sweetening in it, so I would avoid it if you can get another source of vitamins & minerals. BYC member threehorses sometimes recommends Poly-Visol (without Iron) for this, but I feel a little cautious because it also has some sweetener--Maybe it's not enough to be a big problem??

    This page talks about copper sulphate, which is the blue mineral, if you think you would need it later. http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/100/mycotoxicosis
    --------------------------------------------------
    Info
    I found that might be relevant to figuring if Apple Cider Vinegar might be good for mycotoxicosis (Sorry couldn't find better info--short on time):

    ORGANIC ACIDS FOR MYCOTOXICOSIS
    http://en.engormix.com/articles_view.aspx?AREA=AVG&id=97&pag=0
    ...We may also consider giving vinegar to flush the kidneys. ...
    ...Organic acids usually help by improving digestion process within the body and they help better absorption of nutrients through intestines...

    SOMEONE WHO HAD SUCCESS WITH VINEGAR IN CHICKENS
    http://onetenthacre.blogspot.com/2010/06/quick-update-on-funny-farm.html

    Don't know if this one is of any significance:
    ACIDS IN CLAYS (Vinegar acid might have similar concerns??)
    http://www.knowmycotoxins.com/npoultry.htm
    The amount of organic acids in clays is often very small. Does the small amount of organic acid(s) really work in inhibiting moulds? The answer is NO; and it can actually do more harm than good: The small amount of acids quite often has no effect. Worst of all, if the acids do work, due to such small amounts, they are not enough to kill the mould. Instead, the acids change the pH of the environment and bring pH stress to the moulds. The pH stress can actually stimulates the moulds to produce MORE mycotoxins. (REMEMBER, mycotoxins are the secondary metabolites from moulds produced due to stress from environmental factors, such as pH)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  9. tmasker

    tmasker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2011
    Central Florida
    Speckled Hills,

    Thank you for the information on Apple Cider Vinegar. I took Polly outside to her run today to see how she did. Amazingly she was putting the two Frizzles in line and hiked up to the hen house to check things out. I think she wanted to make sure they didn't have a party while she was gone [​IMG]
    I watched her for over an hour to make sure she was alright. I only left her in her coop for 2 hours today. Back in the smaller cage on the back porch she took a nap. I think she is still weak. I thought about the Gatorade after I gave it to her. Only about a Tablespoon of it was put to 1 cup of water. I will check out an alternative.

    e as a full crop now and able to get around without any problems. After reading all the other posts on BYC I believe I was really lucky not to loose her. We actually talked about where to dig the hole Friday night. I think we will take things slowly until I am sure she will not have a problem returning to her run.

    Thanks so much for the links. They are all great resources and I appreciate your sharing of knowledge. I have learned more about a chicken in the last five days than I ever thought I would need to know. Interesting how a $10 chicken can steal your heart. I have a wonderful photo of my husband on his belly in the grass tonight talking to Polly. I have to download it and post it soon!
    Thanks again for the information. We are blessed with a good group of girls [​IMG]
     
  10. tmasker

    tmasker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2011
    Central Florida
    HOw do I post a photo of Polly?
     

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