Strange, but cool

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Blisschick, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    I discovered today that one little pullet I have has Situs inversus, the condition where the internal organs are mirror image from normal. She's always been tiny and sort of sickly acting, like she was too cold and hunched up or just not feeling well, but I've never been able to find anything wrong with her and she eats well. Today I brought her in from her group outside because she just looked so sad and cold, I felt sorry for her. I had her in the recliner feeding her, and I was just checking her over, so when I went to feel her crop, I naturally went for the right side, and discovered it was empty...which was weird, because she was eating like a little pig! I checked again, and discovered it was on the LEFT -- and her heart is on the right!

    I did a little research and found that the condition is genetically recessive, and can occur in chickens when one side of the egg is heated more than the other. The same condition can happen in humans, more commonly with identical twinning, but can occur in individuals. Since my pullet was hatched out of an incubator with a fan and a turner, I'm wondering if her condition isn't genetic, not related to heat issues. None of my other OEBG's have ever had this, but it takes a unique combination for it to happen.
  2. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2007
    That's interesting Blisschick.

    From what you've read, what kind of problems do they tend to have? Do they have a shortened lifespan because of this?
  3. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    Well, digging around, I came across this little tidbits:

    Situs inversus can be produced in chicken embryos by overheating on the left side during incubation.

    Retinoic Acid (RA) excess and deficiency cause situs inversus of the heart in both quail and chicken embryos.

    The condition can affect the cilia (microscopic hairs) of the mucus membranes, making them function poorly or not at all. This can cause chronic sinusitis, and a bronchial condition that doesn't allow the bronchial tubes to dilate and contract properly. Because the cilia in the lungs don't function properly, it can also lead to lung infections.

    If all the organs are reversed except for the heart (on the left), the condition is called situs inversus levocardia, and has about a 95% chance of having some sort of deformity, most of which are severe, if not fatal. If the heart is on the right, the condition is called situs inversus totalis, and only has about a 5% chance of defects.

    Most of what I've read about this condition in humans says that only 3-5% of the people born with it suffer any kind of health problems from it, but I hardly think that could apply similarly to chickens. [​IMG]

    The only differences I've noticed with my girl is that she's smaller, tends to be less active, always seems cold, and her feet tend to have a bluish color. I've always felt that she had some kind of circulatory problem because of the coldness behavior and the blue feet, but then I've seen that happen to healthy chickens when they get sick. Since I've had her inside today, she got pretty warm and seemed to be acting normal. I wonder, though, if she'll get big enough to lay eggs. She's still pretty tiny, even for a bantam.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010

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