Squishy Abdomen and Swollen, Bald Butt & Egg Yolk Peritonitis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by EmmyGirl, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. EmmyGirl

    EmmyGirl Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2008
    Skippack, PA
    I'm posting this in the hopes it might help someone who has a hen who's going through what my Mathilda went through just recently. When I was searching for answers last week when Mathilda first got sick, it seems like a lot of us have/had hens with the same problem and none of us knew what was going on.

    Mathilda is a 2-1/2 yr old Red Sex Link. She started laying at about 20 weeks and laid some of the most gigantic eggs I've ever seen. About 2 yrs ago she tried to lay an egg so big that it wouldn't come out and prolapsed her insides trying to push it out. With the help of warm baths and prep-H, an intact egg was delivered, her insides were pushed back in and healed and after several months of inside-chicken status (it was in the middle of winter), she seemed to have a full recovery. She was never a regular layer after that incident and had just about stopped laying over the past year or so which I assumed was normal given her history of laying problems.

    Last week I noticed that her behind was swollen, pecked free of feathers, and very red. When I picked her up to check to see if she was eggbound, her belly and under her vent felt very squishy, like a water balloon. She was lethargic, had trouble walking and didn't have much of an appetite. I was hoping some TLC would bring her around but to no avail. She would only take water with electrolytes from a syringe along with a little scrambled eggs. I took her to a wonderful local vet who aspirated a sample of her abdominal fluid (yellow yucky fluid), took an x-ray (no egg stuck), and determined that Mathilda had egg yolk peritonitis that probably started quite some time ago. Apparently hens who lay extremely large eggs (yes), have a history of being eggbound (yes) and older hens can develop abnormalities in their oviducts which makes it difficult for an egg to form normally and it can sometimes get stuck and cause irritation and infection that can fester for a long time. If I had caught this earlier, she may have had a better prognosis with an intense course of antibiotics and fluids. She felt Mathilda was too far gone and also had indications of liver failure so the prognosis was not good for a full recovery. Mathilda went peacefully but I feel so horrible--poor little girl. I'm so so sad right now and wish I knew then what I know now. A squishy and swollen abdomen or behind is not good--probably a sign of infection and shouldn't be messed around with if you want to save your chicken. Get help ASAP if you can. RIP my little Mathilda:hit
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  2. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2010
    I am sorry [​IMG]

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