Star-like eye deformity: Tumor? (See photo)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by robphenix, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. robphenix

    robphenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone know what this is? Below the photo, I'll outline her symptoms, etc.[​IMG]
    A few months ago, Penny (three years old and not laying anymore as of this past summer) was making a strange noise I'd never heard before and acting a little odd: Standing around making forward head movements in various directions as if she were trying to find something. I interact with our 2 chickens every day, so I noticed this immediately.
    The next day I went to check on them after work, and she was unable to walk. She was also unable to control her head movements in order to eat, even if placed by some food. The food would be in front of her, but she'd be pecking the air in different directions. I noticed a feeder had been knocked over and suspected it might have fallen on her and caused head trauma; but she showed no sign of physical injury.
    As she was unable to walk or eat independently, I immediately began feeding her by hand, holding a bowl of pellets in front of her and quickly moving the bowl to wherever her head moved so that she could make contact with the food. However, I noticed over the next days that her crop was stalled. She wasn't processing the food and lost a lot of weight in just a few days. I fed her baby food with a little melted lard and scrambled egg blended with water to liquefy, for a few days. My theory here was,if her crop is stalled or impaired, all the crop massaging in the world may not break up the solid pellets in there. So I thought the wet food would help soak it, soften it, and allow her to pass it. The lard and egg would hopefully prevent further weight loss.
    This worked: The hard, large mass of stalled pellets broke up, and her weight improved.
    From that point, I have been hand feeding her broiler crumbles mixed with water to make a soft food for her. The broiler crumbles are a good choice, it seems, because she still has trouble processing food, and this helps keep her weight from dropping.
    Setting aside the many ups and downs, she has improved to the point of being able to walk around the yard. Somewhat feebly, but well enough to explore. Her long-term condition is: She definitely has neurological problems. She navigates strangely: She'll walk up to the coop wall and seem not to understand that she can't go that way. Her ability to feed has improved to the point where I can place her in front of the food bowl of moistened crumbles, and she'll eat it. She can usually manage to get to the regular feeding station, but if she eats too much dry food, I need to massage her crop and get some wet stuff for her too, or it just piles up in there.
    She has very poor leg control. She can just barely manage to climb the ramps to get up to the roost at night, and this only because I rebuilt the coop interior to accommodate her by installing extra-wide ramps. Even with the wide ramps, she can't seem to process the visual stimuli and turn it into proper directionality when she walks. She will repeatedly come very close to falling off because she veers off path and one foot will be half off the ramp. She stops many times on the way up to look in all directions, extending her neck. And once up there, she cannot get down. She'll take a few tentative steps to try going down the ramp in the morning, lose her balance, and then give up after a few tries. I need to take her down manually every morning; otherwise she'll sit up there all day.
    Finally, if I pick her up, she is unable to properly extend her feet and toes when she's put down again: Specifically, her toes tend to curl up. She also tends to sit back on her "knees" instead of a normal sitting posture.
    Finally, I just noticed the eye problem a few nights ago. I went out to the coop after dark to check on them, and I notices the eye when my headband flashlight reflected strangely off her eye. The other eye is fine.
    My initial impression with her was Marek's. She has never displayed the classic split leg symptom, but she was not vaccinated for the disease, and we have several chicken owners in the area as well as wild turkeys outside our fence regularly and every imaginable songbird out back. (we got Penny from a local farm at about 10 weeks of age, and they don't vaccinate them.)
    We have one other chicken, who is fine. She WAS vaccinated when we got her at one day old.
    The things that seem to match Mareks, I think, are: The lameness, which intitially was a complete inability to move but then improved; the stalled crop; the neurological problems, and now eye-related problems. However, the Marek's eye images I've seen online don't seem to match her strange eye pattern. I've always had some lingering doubt that this was due to a physical injury from the falling feeder, as it is heavy and was on the floor of the coop. However, Penny is so clumsy and strange now in her actions, that she knocks things over all the time (she'll try to move into areas where she clearly cannot go and knock stuff over in the process. I've since secured anything that could possibly fall from anywhere. I tend to think that the feeder didn't fall on her, but rather, that she knocked it over through her bizarre navigational attempts.)
    The eye thing makes me even more convinced it was not a physical injury; but it is of course possible it's a different, entirely unrelated problem.
    Sorry for the long post; but from what I've seen in other posts, lack of initial info only leads other people to need to ask for more info in order to be helpful.
    Definitive answers, theories, research leads, would all be greatly appreciated. Thanks, folks.
     
  2. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oskaloosa,Ia
    that isn't the usual pupil bleed that marks presents but she could be getting cataracts in that eye.
     
  3. chickenchic11

    chickenchic11 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2015
    I believe its a cataract
     
  4. chickenchic11

    chickenchic11 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2015
    can she see ok?
     
  5. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oskaloosa,Ia
    Thats what I was thinking
     
  6. robphenix

    robphenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hm. My wife suggested the same thing. I can't seem to find any online images of chicken cataract that matches what I see on her, but then again there are a number of very different looking manifestations of it. I'd say that's certainly a possibilty. Now to do some research on cataracts.
    Thanks very much for your feedback!
    Cheers
     
  7. robphenix

    robphenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 25, 2012
    Update: The jury is still out, months later. Cataracts seems likely, given the way it looks now. It no longer appears as a star-like growth in the eye, and it has progressed. I'm not sure how much she can see but "barely" would seem to be the most accurate description. I have to physically take her down from the roost in the morning. She can very slowly, carefully negotiate her way up there in the evening, stopping continually to put her head right down to the ramp to see where the edge is so she doesn't fall off. Still, she repeatedly gets one foot or the other half off off the ramp and nearly loses her balance on the way up. Coming down, she just can't see well enough so she usually just stays up there until I take her down. If she attempts to get down herself, she invariably Falls.
    Thankfully, she can at least see well enough to find her food and water. She just sits in the coop all day unless I take her out. If I put her in the bright sunshine, she will slowly walk around, looking very carefully every step of the way, or will work her way to her favorite spot and then just stay there. So in general she manages well enough with a little bit of help.
    The only thing that makes me still wonder if this is part of a larger tumor is that she periodically has seizures.
    I know it may be a separate issue, but I'm just documenting this here in case anyone else ever has experienced something like this. When she has the seizures, she'll be sitting still and then you can just tell by looking at her that she's becoming mentally checked out. She has a blank stare, and then her head very slowly starts arching upward toward the sky. When it passes the point where her head is straight up, her whole body explodes in explosive uncontrolled movements that last for 1 or 2 minutes. She just falls over and thrashes around convulsively.
    I have no idea what could be causing this unless it's some kind of tumor on the nervous system or something. Poor Penny!
    Does anyone know:
    Is there some other seizure inducing chicken malady that she could be suffering from that has nothing to do with her eye problems?
    Thanks again for the input[​IMG]!
     

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