Sick Turkey. Please help!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by gschulken1023, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. gschulken1023

    gschulken1023 Hatching

    Apr 15, 2017
    My best friend has a sick turkey and reached out to me for help. I'm a third year vet student, but unfortunately we don't get much education in pet poultry. I'm also 7 hours away from her so I'm unable to actually see the turkey. I really would like to give her some insight/help and I'm hoping someone on here could give me some thoughts. I've already advised seeing the vet, but there aren't many in the area that see turkeys and those that do are closed till Monday. I don't want her to lose him before then.

    His name is Rocky and he's a 2 year old, he's a heritage breed (I'm not sure exactly which one). He's been a bit lethargic and less vocal than usual for the last couple weeks, but has been eating and drinking normally until yesterday. He won't stand up on his own and she tries to stand him up he is very wobbly and uses his wings to support himself. He will hold his head up and seems to be alert. He refuses feed, but will take water when offered. He seems to be breathing normally. Yesterday when she picked him up, he "vomited" a yellow bile like material (a cup or two). He doesn't seem to be having any diarrhea, he is getting poop stuck to his feathers because he's not standing up. Crop feels empty. He isn't cold but doesn't seem to be as hot to the touch as he usually is.

    She has isolated him in a dog crate with straw and a heat lamp. She has been offering him water and food every hour and has been trying to get some into him by syringe.

    Does anyone have any advice? Thank you in advance!

  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Think the advice you got on the Emergencies sub was good for a start. ~Two weeks of "puny" behavior followed by inability to stand/no appetite/empty crop but large quantity of drainage (crop/proventriculus anything from low grade exposure to mycotoxins to Wet Pox - simply not enough info). Did the drainage smell? Pick up turkey, again, and tip slightly forward to see if all that is required is gravity (bowl to collect material if any) to induce draining. Keep track of amount of fluids given over 12 hrs and then tip turk and measure difference to assess how much is being devoted to hydration.

    Small amount of drainage, like a small section of fresh dropping, can be placed in quart ball jar nearly filled with water, lid screwed on and shaken thoroughly. Then direct high power battery operated spotlight through bottled fluid while examining any "solids" drifting about using a 20-30 power jeweler's loupe, for example. Multiple instances of stringy/filamentous items could indicate some "worm", or other.

    If the drainage stinks could be sour crop. Please have her describe droppings (walk her through smear method as well). Assuming no change to feed/opportunities to forage in new location/exposure - even indirectly via owner - to unvetted poultry/big increase in precipitation/temp at around time first noted Rocky getting quiet?

    Have her try the Advanced Search function of BYC (just below main search entry) and be as specific/detailed as possible. Hope for the best - if not getting the fluids to "move along" orally, the next step is slow installation by use of IP fluids (something of a hail mary, that).

    Best of Luck!
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    • He needs to be in a warm room or, 80-85 is idea, but watch for signs of overheating. A heat lamp is not a good idea because really sick birds can't move away from the heat.
    • Get a baseline weight.
    • Ideally a vet would do a fecal and a gram stain, and probably prescribe antibiotics.
    • He needs at least 5% of his weight in water per day. Subcutaneous fluids would be best if his crop is slow to empty.
    • Pictures of poop would be helpful.

    Slow crops are common in sick birds, so I suspect that is why he vomited.
    Has he ever been wormed?
    Is he housed with chickens?
    How much weight has he lost?
    How prominent is his breastbone?

    Here are some avian veterinary resources for you:

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