Spirochetes? Not emergency, but a serious question

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GoodEgg, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Hello all,

    I am in need of some information. I have a flock of 26 free ranging chickens over about 1 acre who all came from MurrayMcMurray as day-olds, and 4 ducks who were purchased from a feed store as 2-day-olds.

    I believe everything is fine, but this (see below) will probably come up as an issue in court and I don't want to be accused of unhealthy living conditions. (I've also been told I must rake the entire acre the chickens use daily, and that just isn't possible for me ... is it truly necessary for health reasons to daily rake the entire chicken area???)

    My daughter said the puppy at her father's house was diagnosed with spirochetes, and the puppy had been licking the shoes she wore over here.

    There is some question now if I am mismanaging my flock and/or putting my daughter in danger somehow.

    The chickens DO have runny brown droppings at times (or perhaps that is the ducks ... they always make a "squirty" dropping). But I also see lots of little (and sometimes big) green and white balls around the yard. The droppings in the coop are solid and greenish.

    It was my understanding that chickens sometimes have droppings of a different form and no cause for worry?

    They eat mostly forage (grass and bugs) and commercial layer crumb feed. I add a lot of "extras" including rice, oats, lots of veggies and fruits, some eggs, eggshells, etc. Some I purchase for them, and some is whatever is left over or not quite fresh anymore. But I never feed anything with mold or that is clearly gone bad. Just perhaps slightly softened fruit, etc. that has been kept refrigerated. (And I wash everything before I give it to them.)

    I generally get about 18 to 20 eggs per day from 23 pullets ... sometimes as little as 14 or so, or as many as 22. Production is usually steady. The ducks lay 1-2 eggs per day for 2 ducks (other 2 are drakes).

    Any info would be much appreciated. I may need something to "prove" in court that our chickens are not a health risk. [​IMG]

    Thanks so much for reading.

  2. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    This might be a dumb question--but why are your chickens suspected?? It is possible the dog got it from fleas??
  3. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    I am not sure how dogs can get spirochetes but ...

    My chickens are suspected because there is a rather nasty custody battle going on and ... anything that can come up as an issue is coming up. (Sorry, didn't really want to go into it, but I guess I don't mind telling.)

    My keeping chickens is apparently an issue. [​IMG]

    I am afraid I don't know much (yet) about the spirochetes. I DID research how to keep chickens in a healthy way before I got them, but now it seems that it is becoming an issue.

    Thanks for asking, and I could really use any help anyone might be able to offer.

  4. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    .... dogs likely serve as a natural reservoir for S. pilosicoli and possibly transmit the spirochete to other animals and human beings.


    Spirochetes are a group of helical, motile bacteria that are widely distributed in nature.....


    Perhaps you can get your chickens feces tested to determine whether they have spirochetes and what type they have :
    Serpulina alvinipulli (birds)
    Serpulina canis (dogs)
    Serpulina pilosicoli (people, dogs, swine, birds)
    or one of the others. And then insist that he prove that his dog had, not only the same variety, but ones with matching DNA.

    It is ridiculous for his to accuse your chickens as the source when the dog could have gotten the spirochetes from the mud, wild birds, other dogs, humans, etc.​
  5. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    I don't know much--not an expert in anything, but I think pointing the finger at you is ludicrous. You said it was a puppy, right? has is been vaccinated? If yo don't get more hits on this site, I would call your vet and find out the chances of his puppy getting it from your chickens., and find out how spirochetes are transmitted. And get your ckickens feces tested. I'm still thinking fleas or ticks or mud etc... jmo

    I wouldn't get worked up over this.
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    They always go right to the chickens, dont they? Sheesh. [​IMG]

    EDITED to ADD: I'm sorry for your troubles and also, that I don't know anything about this particular subject, but very glad that some others here do. Best of luck to you in this.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008
  8. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Having simple biosecurity measures (and being aware of such) should stand you in good stead in any court discussions...
    Having boots/rubber clogs which can easily be taken on and off (and therafter washed along with hands and such whenever coming in and out from the yard area) is more than sufficient ...
    Blaming your chickens for the dogs spirochets well... that first must be established. Here is additional info:
    (MERCK veterinary manual)

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2008
  9. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    These organisms can be passed on to dogs from flea and tick bites, or urine from and infected animal passing through the yard.
    They also proliferate in muddy areas around creek banks.

    It will be very hard to establish that the chickens are the origin, first every chicken would have to be tested, found to be positive carriers of the specific family found in the dog.

    The spirochaetes are divided into three families (Brachyspiraceae, Leptospiraceae, and Spirochaetaceae), all placed within a single order (Spirochaetales). Disease-causing members of this phylum include the following:

    Leptospira species, which causes leptospirosis
    Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease
    Borrelia recurrentis, which causes relapsing fever
    Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis
    Most spirochaetes are free-living and anaerobic
  10. Renegade

    Renegade Songster

    Oct 8, 2007
    Griffin, GA
    As a retired vet tech I can tell you it is unlikely the spirochetes came from your chickens. Having said that if I were in your current situation I would take multiple fecal samples mix them together and have them tested and make sure you give a copy of the hopefully negative results to your divorce lawyer. We all know puppies taste test and mouth everything. Most dogs pick up spirochetes by drinking water that contains the urine of wildlife infected with the spirochetes. Since your daughter is in the same environment as the puppy please make sure she knows to wash her hands often especially before eating. Good luck with everything.


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