Successfully treated our hen 4x for egg yolk peritonitis - here's what I did

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by urbanutah, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. urbanutah

    urbanutah Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2016
    Taylorsville, UT
    We adopted 4 adult hens from a client in March 2016. One of the hens, Penny ([COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Ameraucana), has now survived a few episodes of egg peritonitis. We're not sure why she has had so many issues with laying (the first issue with her was egg bound and she passed a rubber egg following an epsom salt bath and seemed instantly good as new). In the several months that have followed she has laid several broken eggs, all our other hens lay just fine with strong shells (oyster shells are always available). Unfortunately, we have no idea how old the four hens we adopted are so maybe Penny is just old. [/COLOR]

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Egg peritonitis does not have to be a death sentence, but catching it early is key to successful treatment. I am by no-means a vet, but used common sense and read many articles on the subject. Here's what I have done each time she's laid a broken egg: [/COLOR]

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Gather her up and bring her in and give her a warm epsom salt bath in the bathroom sink (I put on purple sterile gloves when doing her treatment and obviously super clean the bathroom when I'm done). I add about 1/2 cup of epsom salt to the more-than-half full warm sink water and dissolve the epsom salt before immersing her back-end (make sure the water is not too warm, but warm enough to be comfortable). I make sure to clean her bum area thoroughly and remove any gooey feathers. As the sink drains I rinse her well with fresh warm water from the tap. I swaddle her in a big junk towel and gently dry her off and put her on the ground and use the blow-dryer on warm setting with medium airflow and get her as dry as possible. Fill a short tumbler cup half-full with distilled water and microwave for 15 seconds (make sure the water is not too warm, test it like you would a baby bottle), dissolve 1 tbsp of epsom salt in the cup of warm water and using a 20cc syringe give her an epsom salt enema and put her in a dog crate. Because I don't have a vet who treats chickens nearby I don't have access to antibiotics so I improvised and gave her the recommended dose (on the bottle) of Kochi Free every day for 3-4 days, which is a so-called natural antibiotic. I also give the emergency dose of Nutri-Drench (not straight, I dilute it with a little filtered water) 2-3x a day for 2-3 days using a dropper and squeezing it slowly through the side of her beak. [/COLOR]

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]This last episode Penny laid a regular egg followed by another shell-less egg yolk and white right on top of her "good" egg. During the epsom salt bath (with the gloves on) I gave her a procto exam (as I do each time this has occurred) to see if I could feel any egg shell, I felt nothing as usual. She was in bad shape this time and I wasn't sure she was going to pull through, she wasn't eating or drinking the day after the egg incident. I should have given her the epsom salt enema the day she laid the shell-less egg, but we were busy and I didn't begin treatment until day 2, which was a mistake. I fed her a high protein gruel I make from smashed hard-boiled egg, a 12 grain mix I cook up that resembles oatmeal, 1 tsp ghee (clarified/purified butter), 1 heaping tablespoon of Fage plain full-fat yogurt and finely crushed egg shells (I save our egg shells, dry them, microwave them and run in the food processor until they are like grit and add these to their high protein breakfast). I add hot water to make it into a sloppy gruel and Penny ate a few bites of it each day.[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]On day three of the most recent ordeal, after Penny's second epsom salt enema, she passed an egg-shell that looked like a tightly wrinkled light green (she lays green eggs) deflated crescent-shaped balloon. When I picked it up in the dog crate it was hard as a rock....so bizarre. Shortly thereafter she perked up a bit and later that afternoon Penny rejoined the flock and while still a bit under-the-weather she was happy to free-range. I went out with the shovel and dug up a bunch of worms for her (she runs to me every time I get the shovel as she knows I unearth savory goodies when turning the soil in the flower beds). It was a good sign and she ate about 10 worms on day 3. By day 4 she was back to normal. Whew! Bottom line is that I have saved her 4x since we got her only 7 months ago. She's the sweetest girl in the flock and we have no idea why she has such terrible laying issues, but I'm getting lots of practice saving her. I only worry that one of these days she won't be so lucky. I do keep a close eye on our flock and note who lays each day so I am able to "catch" these issues relatively quickly and start treatment right away, which is the key to success.[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]A solid first-aid kit is an absolute must, thanks to Lisa Steele, FreshEggsDaily.com for her comprehensive first-aid kit list of supplies. After adopting our small flock I went on Amazon.com and bought just about everythign on her list. [/COLOR]

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Here's what I used to treat Penny's egg peritonitis:[/COLOR]
    • [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Epsom Salt (plain)[/COLOR]
    • [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Nutri-Drench (vitamin supplement)[/COLOR]
    • [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Kochi Free (natural antibiotic)[/COLOR]
    • [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]High protein breakfast mash[/COLOR]
    • [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Pure white petroleum jelly or Waxlene for vent lubrication[/COLOR]
    • [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]Dog crate so you can keep a close eye on them and keep them warmer indoors, if necessary[/COLOR]

    [COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]As I said, I'm am no vet, and I'm a pretty "green" backyard chicken keeper. I am only sharing this information so it might help others as I had a hard time finding treatment info online that could be accomplished without a veterinarian, which wasn't available to me. I've had to learn as I went along and this system seems to do the trick when Penny has one of her egg episodes. I probably should cull her, but I just can't bring myself to because she's so sweet and she's my gardening girlfriend.[/COLOR]
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  2. Skyoaks413

    Skyoaks413 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2016
    Arroyo Grande, CA
    Thank you for this info! One of my hens is exactly the same as yours...her eggs have been huge since she began laying and she is tiny I've always felt horrible for her. She's looked lethargic a few times and always passed a broken egg or shriveled up shell rock hard, or soft shell. She hasn't laid since her molt this winter and I found two soft shelled eggs in my coop last week. She hasn't been herself since Wednesday, and has been progressively getting worse. At first I thought she was egg bound so I've been giving her two soaks a day in epsom salt baths and giving her calcium. But still no egg, and today I actually got up the nerve to feel to see if there was an egg and there's nothing...but yellowish yolk looking goo came out after so I'm thinking it's already broken in there or it's egg yolk peritonitis. Everything I read says it just keeps happening until they eventually die from it...I feel so bad for her. She is in the house tonight and isn't drinking or eating much. I will try your ideas and see if I can save her, I've heard there's something they can give a hen to make them stop laying...if she makes it through the weekend I'll ask my vet about it. Thank you again for the info!
     
  3. urbanutah

    urbanutah Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2016
    Taylorsville, UT
    Awww, I'm so sorry to hear that she's struggling so badly, it doesn't sound good at all. I will say that I think Penny would not have made it this far had I not caught her "episodes" early on with the infection. She got pretty bad once and I had to bring her inside for two nights, but she pulled through. I've heard the same thing about hens that have these issues, but it doesn't stop the heartbreak of losing a chicken/pet. I am sending positive thoughts and energy your way and hope she pulls through.
     
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  4. Skyoaks413

    Skyoaks413 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2016
    Arroyo Grande, CA
    Thank you so much...I found a local avian vet and took her this morning. She was too sick and I had to put her down. I'm so glad your girl made it through....I am devistated [​IMG]
     
  5. urbanutah

    urbanutah Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2016
    Taylorsville, UT
    I'm so sorry :( That is just gut-wrenching. Our Penny is having major issues laying since her molt and winter break and hasn't laid a normal egg since she began laying again about 2 1/2 weeks ago. I have found funky shaped hard egg shells, egg yolks and white on the ground and in the coop with no shell, she even laid an egg inside of an egg....I'm afraid she won't be around much longer with these types of issues it's only a matter of time before egg peritonitis gets her. The vet said we should put her down, but I'm really struggling since she's not sick yet, but I also don't want her to suffer. She's such a sweet girl and my gardening buddy.
     
  6. urbanutah

    urbanutah Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2016
    Taylorsville, UT
    I just realized you live in Arroyo Grande, CA. I lived there for several years before moving to Utah. I loved walking my dogs on Grover Beach.
     
  7. Skyoaks413

    Skyoaks413 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2016
    Arroyo Grande, CA
    I
    It's such a tough call to make I know! The vet I saw today was really nice, he explained a lot and basically told me there are things to help prolong the inevitable if it's caught early each time but the genetics of a hen that has issues like Gigi or penny ultimately can't be fixed. For me it came down to quality of life and she was suffering. You'll know when it's better to let her go. Yes we live in arroyo grande, what a small world! We love walking the dogs by the pier also! Good luck with your gardening buddy! [​IMG][​IMG]
     

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