Sudden Leg Paralysis and Very Heavy Breathing


8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
Good Evening Everyone,

I have a 2 year old EE named Sayuri in a very healthy flock of 17 chickens.

We went out to do our evening check on the chickens and found her down in the chicken run unable to get up and she is really panting. She tries to get up but just falls over. Her legs seemed limp/weak and she would sort sprawl to one side and her legs would sort slide out straight and limp but she would curl her feet around your finger nicely.

Brought her in to check her. No sign of injury. No discomfort when checking her out anywhere. No sign of wee beasties.

Poop is fine and she is not having difficulty passing. I have felt around her vent and abs for an egg - feel nothing.

Her crop does feel a bit large and more on the firm side. I can feel alot of stuff in there. Administered olive oil with dropper and have been giving her water. Massaging the crop

She wants to get up and tries to get up. She is very alert. She just can't stand is in panting/breathing heavy like crazy. Her whole body moves in time with her panting.

While my son kept an eye on her I went out to check the coop. Everything seems fine. I did find a colored egg in the main part of the coop and not in a nest box but I have no way of knowing if it is one of hers.

Any ideas would sure be appreciated.

Some other info:

bedding - shavings hay in run
feed - layer pellets - also receive oyster shell and grit
Feed and water is fresh daily
snacks - fresh greens, some yogurt, etc. - but nothing today
weight - guessing 5-8 pounds - seems fine and not boney

She just tried to get up. I helped to steady her a bit and she stood for about one minute panting like crazy the whole while. Now she's back to sitting down but she is now keep her legs tucked up under her nice and tidy. The bottoms of her feet are really hot.

And she is really panting like crazy.

Please help.
You can give her water with 2 aspirin dissolved in a pint of water. (I checked with my vet for this dose) If she does have fever that will help. The panting could be from fever...or it could be a respiratory infection. If this were my hen I would start her on Denagard as a first choice antibiotic but you cannot buy it locally. Otherwise I would try to get some lincomycin and if that fails, use duramycin.

The paralysis could be from either Marek's or from botulism. I would google both and see if either of them fits her symptoms.

I have had a pullet survive botulism and is fine now. She was paralyzed for about 7 days and then gradually began getting movement back in her legs.

Best of luck to you...keep us posted.
Thank you so much for responding! Will get her on the aspirin pronto.

I have the duramycin that goes in the water.

What about Tylan?
Oh Great Chicken Sage called "Three Cedars Silkies"!

I (and Sayuri) bow before you in thanks for your help.

The lovely Sayuri seems to have been severely dehydrated. She has taken in nearly half a pint of her asperin water and she is now standing and now longer panting as she was.

I have no idea why it never occurred to me that the panting could be from fever.

Will get her on the Tylan pronto.

You completely rock the house for answering a distress call so quickly.
I'm so glad she is better. Dehydration can cause weakness that even appears like paralysis. I wonder why she is dehydrated? I would say that she has had enough aspirin and I would now trade out her water for fresh water.

Keep us posted on how she does....

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