Strange chicken disease- can anyone help?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Grace Boyer, May 11, 2007.

  1. Grace Boyer

    Grace Boyer Out Of The Brooder

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    Several of my chickens have died from a disease I can't identify. Symptoms include runny nose, loud breathing, blood spots on the rooster's combs, -which, right before they die, turns somewhat blue, gets thin, and droops- extreme thinness, runny droppings, and in one case, a large cyst or something on the rooster's leg which popped and attracted maggots. The leg itself got a lot better with antibiotics, but the rooster died.
    The hen I'm wondering about now is eight years old, mixed breed (I think) and probably around 4-5 pounds. She has trouble breathing, has dropped to the bottom of the pecking order, (she used to be at the top), seems to be losing her eyesight, and is slowing down from her normal active self sometimes when I carry her or she tires herself, her face turns blue until she catches her breath.
    I think several chickens have died from the same disease because some of the symptoms are common, but if it is the same one, it takes several months to spread from one bird to another, and over a month to kill one.
    If this sounds familiar to anyone, help would be very appreciated, as this hen is a longtime pet.
     
  2. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    To get answers you could try posting this in Emergencies...
    But usually laboured breathing and purple combs is heart or respiratory ills.
     
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    It really sounds like Avian Tuberculosis. It is very slow spreading, and can manifest itself in many ways, but some typical symptoms include problems breathing, lameness, eye problems, and diarhea. It is a sort of chicken cancer, and affects all their organs and everything. We had it. Rather than cull our whole flock, we opted to take extreme measures to improve the health of the whole flock and did everything we could do within reason to sterilize everything. We've had three hens I was sure have had it, and died from it, since last June. They all had pretty much the same symptoms. I don't know about the abscesses and weird combs, but it might just be a symptom that roosters get. In our case I don't know if we've stopped the spread of it or not; I'm afraid to say one way or the other. It is a very bad thing to get as there's no way to treat it, and the virus will last in the soil and everywhere for years and years if you don't kill it, but not all of your chickens will get it if that's what it is; many develop a natural immunity. It is very common for backyard flocks to get it (commercial flocks usually don't) and I read that many people don't even realize they have it. Get a necropsy if you can; in Ohio, anyway, it is not a reportable disease, so we didn't get quara ntined and the State vets gave us a lot of free advice. If you have any die make sure you dispose of them where no varmints can get to the carcass, cause they can get the virus and spread it, too.
     
  4. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Oh, another typical symptom is extreme weight loss, and it can affect the heart and lungs, and liver, which might be causing your blue combs. If you want to do something til you know for sure, deworm your flock and make sure they are free of parasites (that's the first thing the vet told us to do); then get oxine or something and soak everything you can find with it that they would come in contact with. Oxine is what we used. We even sprayed the chickens themselves with oxine; that's what the directions said to do. Don't get any new birds, and try to keep the sick ones segregated. Good luck; hope this helps. I feel for you.
     
  5. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    One more thing...get some Oxtet if you can quickly get it; failing that, put your pet hen on terramycin (4 tsp per gallon) and any others that are sick. It might help. We did that, too, for the whole flock for a while.
     
  6. Grace Boyer

    Grace Boyer Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the help. What are oxine, oxtet, and terrimycyn,(or whatever that was), what is it supposed to do, and where do I find it?Could this disease spread to guineas too? I have a guinea in with the chickens. Is it easier for old birds to get, or does it affect them regardless of age? My guinea is two, the rooster is two, (I think) and the hens are 4? and eight. What are the chances that dosing them would stop the disease and/or cure Pet?
     
  7. Grace Boyer

    Grace Boyer Out Of The Brooder

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    A few more things- I have a guinea in with the chickens, who hasn't showed any symptoms yet. Can she be affected? Would it be safe to give her to a friend, or would she endanger their flock?
    My chickens free-range quite a bit. Does that mean that if I end up losing my whole flock-which is quite possible since it consists of only four birds- that I shouldn't get more for several years? Also, chicknmania, what should I expect to pay for those medicines?
     
  8. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You can get Oxine from the Chicken Doctor at www.firststatevetsupply.com. It is lots more powerful than bleach. You can also get Terramycin from him, or Oxytet, if you want to. Oxytet is better, but you can get Terramycin at TSC or your local feed mill; it's water soluble and you just mix it with the water. (4 tsp per gallon) The Terramycin, though it won't kill the Avian TB, will help the birds fight whatever infections they may be getting, and helps their immune system function more effectively. We bought Turmeric from him also, helps the immune system. We bought the type of dewormer that kills all types of worms but tape (also from him) and DE. There are cheaper places to get DE. If you want it, try Hoegger Goat Supply's website (you can google it), if you can't get DE locally.

    Yes, other birds can get the TB. But I don't know if it's necessary to give any away, and you might be spreading it that way. But that's your call, basically. I know it sounds horrible, and you might lose some birds, but you might not. Our birds are free range too and I think it helps; at this point they SEEM to be all happy and healthy. The thing about the TB is that it's naturally in the soil and everywhere anyway; some birds just get it and once one gets it it's spread more easily.

    If your birds die and you want to get more, I would wait a few months, and just keep trying to sanitize the main areas where they roost, etc. Obviously if they're free range you can't treat the outdoors. The way we are set up, we weren't really able to sanitize and disinfect the way we would've liked to; just did the bast we could, and hoped for the best. That's about all you can do. With Oxine you can put it in their drinking water and it sanitizes the water, too; stops spreading that way; you can also mix it with water and fog with a fogging machine if you want to (we didn't do this). Don't use the directions on the bottle; use the directions provided by the Chicken Doctor. .

    For all the stuff we bought, we paid about $100.00, plus shipping. To us it was worth it. If you don't want to spend that much, you can still do a modified treatment, deworm and delouse and etc with less expensive stuff you can get locally like 7 Dust and PigSwig maybe, and it'll still help some.

    We have a new rooster our neighbor forced on us (he is segregated now); and we had to recently introduce our previously house-bound young chickens to the flock. We are anxiously watching them; will let you know if any develop symptoms.

    Let us know how things go! I've been looking for someone to compare notes with about this disease! Good luck.
     
  9. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator Staff Member

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    I would take one of the dead ones to a vet for a necropsy so you know exactly what you are dealing with. Otherwise you will get many different opinions and conflicting advice which could be confusing and overwhelming.

    You could also email Wes in Tx, who is the main emergencies moderator and ask.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/profile.php?id=53
    Good Luck!
     
  10. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Also, I read somewhere that older chickens are more prone to getting it, but I really think it just depends on each individual chicken's health. No one can really say what anyone's chances are that the treatmeht will help, but I do know that it is better than doing nothing. We have seen some surprising things, as far as them getting better, by treating them. And everyone knows they do respond to love and special treatment.
     

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