Suprelorin implant (Virbac) stops hens with egg peritonitis laying anymore

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by joehilly, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. joehilly

    joehilly New Egg

    Mar 27, 2012
    Hi guys

    I am in contact with the British Hen Welfare Trust in the United Kingdom and we were emailing about my dissertation idea which might be something on egg peritonitis (i have decided exactly what yet). However the vet who works with them suggested to me that Suprelorin implant (Virbac), which is used on dogs to prevent aggression, can be used to stop hens secreting egg material which leads to egg peritonitis. It is a chip that is implanted into the neck of a chicken and releases hormone signals which prevent any more eggs from being laid! ... the chip lasts a year and so needs to be replaced and apparently costs around £40 to £50 (don't know if its in USA or anywhere else). It is not licensed for use in chickens though so this might be what I may be working on for my dissertation. Also it means you do not have to spay your hen, and I'm not entirely sure yet, but i assume no antibiotics will have to be taken (i read another thread where they were talking about antiobiotics being used to stop egg laying).

    Just thought I would post and see if anyone has any views on it.

    let me know what you think!
    nightowl223 likes this.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Please, please, please do your dissertation on this subject. Too many favorite hens are lost to EYP and internal laying. Some alternative treatments would be a great thing.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
    nightowl223 likes this.
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I just wanted to bump this. I know it's only been a few weeks, but any new and alternative treatments for this disease are very exciting to me. Has there been any development, small or large?
    nightowl223 likes this.
  4. Karhog

    Karhog Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 15, 2012
    Hi, I am very interested in this too. I recently lost a chook to EYP after months of being on and off A/B.(She had got too thin for the implant) I now have another chook showing symptoms and would like to act before it's too late- although she does seem to be losing weight. I have been quoted £60 for the implant and have an appt with the specialist next Fri to see if my chook is suitable.
    nightowl223 likes this.
  5. Gold Coaster

    Gold Coaster Out Of The Brooder

    Hello Joehilly,

    I can provide you with my experience with the implant, with the pros and cons included.

    Early this year, one of my adopted Red Stars, Sunshine, developed Egg Yolk Peritonitis. It came on out of the blue, but there are symptoms leading up to it that one can look out for. If you manage to catch it quickly enough, you CAN save your chook. The reason chooks die from E.Y.P. is because the egg yolks build up in the abdomen causing pressure to their lungs and internal organs.

    Sunshine started by laying yolk-less eggs for about a week. If you cracked one open, it was egg white only. However, they eventually got smaller and smaller and soon, she stopped laying altogether. When I called my chickens for a special treat of mealworms they all ran to me, except Sunshine. She was walking up very slowly and even though mealworms is her favourite treat, she didn't seem to want to eat her usual share. Then she began standing around, remaining very still and quiet. She never wanted to sit down, scratch or preen, her appetite was decreasing and she was making poos that resembled the colour of raw, scrambled eggs. At night, she had trouble sitting down on her perch and was visibly gasping for air. During the day, when I did catch her sitting down, her whole body was shaking as she struggled to breathe. When I picked her up to investigate, I found that her entire abdomen was swollen. It felt like a balloon. Tight and hard and not giving way when gently pressed. My first thoughts were egg binding, so she went through the warm bath and olive oil treatment, but there was no improvement. Next stop was the vet.

    The Vet was very sympathetic, however his experience with chickens was limited, so he wasn't sure if it was E.Y.P. or a tumour. However, he syringed her abdomen and got out an amazing amount of eggy liquid. Sunshine's breathing improved dramatically once the pressure of the eggy build-up was gone. He also presribed her a week's worth of antibiotics and we hoped it would do the trick.

    The first few days she was moving about better, but eventually, she went downhill again. After five days we made an appointment with an Avian Vet, who specialises in birds and poultry. After an inspection, she came to the same conclusion as the other vet. Good case scenario, the diagnosis was E.Y.P. and treatable. The bad case scenario would have been a cancerous tumour and she would have died from it in a few months without surgery. Either way we had options. She would syringe out the liquid, and provide her with an implant that would effectively stop her laying. You can get a 6 month implant or a 1 year implant. Then when her strength improved in a month's time, we could also opt for surgery and they could remove her ovaries and/or tumour if possible. We found that option very expensive, not to mention we might not have a chicken at the end of it if she died from the procedure. So we agreed to the implant and it was inserted into her breast. The eggy fluids were syringed from her abdomen once more and we were to continue with the antibiotics that the other vet prescribed, until it was all finished.

    We watched Sunshine like a hawk for the next few days and were increasingly panicked when we noticed her abdomen had slowly began to fill up again. We knew that the hormone implant would need at least a week to kick in and thought we might need to take her to get syringed one more time. Then after 3-4 days Sunshine laid another yolk-less egg.

    After a week, Sunshine began to perk up. Her abdomen was slowly going down on its own, without any need for further appointments to the vet and syringing. She was still doing eggy poos, so she was slowly expelling it and she also stopped laying altogether. Then the poos slowly turned back into healthy, normal chicken poos, her appetite steadily increased and she even began running around again. She had no trouble sitting down and her breathing was back to normal. The implant had obviously worked!

    It's now been 5 months and Sunshine is her perky little self. She is the oldest chook and yet she has somehow reverted into a little pullet. She sometimes has these little happy bursts and jumps up flapping in the air. When you call her she goes into roadrunner mode and will race the other chooks for first place. So far so good, touch wood.

    There have been some cons though. Sunshine was originally second place in the pecking order. She is now last. It actually occurred about a month down the track after the implant had worked its magic. So she wasn't weak or ill at that stage. However the other chooks challenged her and Sunshine stepped down. Sunshine also went through a very heavy molt after the implant kicked in. She looked simply awful and we were concerned that she wouldn't grow back her feathers in time for winter. But thankfully, she has a lovely new feathered costume and it is even more beautiful then her last coat. Lastly, her comb and red ear lobes have shrunk down to almost nothing. Even though she is perky and happy and eating well, they have not improved with time. It is obviously a side-effect from the implant.

    There are a few important facts I would like to mention about the implant and E.Y.P. that the Avian Vet mentioned:

    1. The implant may or may not work with all chooks. Some chooks may be resistant to it and even after it's inserted, it might not take effect.
    2. A 6 month implant or a one year implant may or may not last the full duration. Every chook is different, so implants may last longer or shorter than indicated.
    3. After the implant course is complete, your chook may or may not start laying normally. If she doesn't lay normally, a new implant is required or surgery. If she does lay normally, monitor her carefully because she may relapse into E.Y.P. down the track if you don't pay attention.
    4. Do not attempt to syringe your chicken yourself. You may puncture an organ and the chicken will die in a few hours time. It's best to leave it to an experienced vet. Even they can cause an unintentional puncture, they admitted that much to us.
    5. If the Vet doesn't prescribe antibiotics then be sure to ask for some, to ensure no infection sets in after syringing out the eggy fluids from the chicken's abdomen. There is such a thing as sterile E.Y.P. which Sunshine had and Septic E.Y.P. Once a chicken has Septic E.Y.P. they go downhill very fast, so it's best to prevent it with a course of antibiotics.

    I really hope that this information helps. As for pricing I'm in Australia, so it might vary depending on where you are and which vet you visit. Avian Vets cost more, but they are experts in chickens. I paid around $300 to the Avian vet which included a consultation fee of just over $100. The rest was the cost of syringing and the implant itself.

    Gold Coaster
  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Gold Coaster,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It gives me hope, if I do ever have a hen with this problem!
    nightowl223 likes this.
  7. Spinster_Sister

    Spinster_Sister Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2009
    Hawthorne, CA
    bumping this up because this is a hopeful development. very interested if this is or will be made available in the US.
    nightowl223 likes this.
  8. Gold Coaster

    Gold Coaster Out Of The Brooder

    Hello Nambroth,

    I just hope that you'll never have to encounter this problem, because it can be quite heart-wrenching, especially if you're unlucky enough to notice the symptoms too late or if it goes septic or if the implant doesn't take.

    Hello Spinster_Sister,

    I'm actually surprised that it's not available yet in the US. [​IMG] I'm certain that at some stage it will get there though. It's a very good product if you want to save your chicken and if you don't mind them not laying while the implant is working.

    I guess you can always ask for an update from your local Vet or Avian Vet about it. If there is a demand, the supply is sure to follow.

    Gold Coaster
  9. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

    Aug 23, 2012
    My Coop
    Any updates? [​IMG]
    nightowl223 likes this.
  10. dheimstead

    dheimstead New Egg

    Apr 12, 2013
    My chicken just got the Suprelorin F 4.7 mg implant put on last thursday (April 6, 2013). I had taken her to the vet suspecting she had peritonitis and after an X-Ray the vet was pretty convinced that was what it was. She put "Chicken" on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory and also put in a call the UW Vet School in Madison to a vet there she corresponds with. I had asked the vet about putting my chicken on Lupron shots (also a GnRH agonist) as I know it is used in Cockatiels. I, myself, am on Lupron as an attempt to treat the symptoms of endometriosis. Chicken had been egg bound late last summer, she is four years old, and then this happened, so I was concerned with her future health.
    When the vet in Madison called back he suggested the Suprelorin implant because he said I can treat "Chicken" with antibiotics, but if she keeps depositing egg into her abdomen she will never get better. It was $120 for a three month implant. My vet said she happened to have implants there because they use them on ferrets.
    It has been a week and so far Chicken is doing very well. I brought her inside for the first few days and by sunday she was cooing, eating and her poop was back to smelling like chicken poop instead of albumen. I don' t have a lot of information on the implant other than it is supposed to stop the chicken from producing eggs. I would like to get more information on the side effects. I know with Lupron, (again, also a GnRH agonist), long-term use, or use over 6 months can cause bone density depletion. It also causes hot flashes, night sweats (sounds like menopause doesn't it), but I have no idea what effect it will have on a chicken. I was actually going onto the Internet to research the implant more when I came across this post. If anyone finds any info on it in terms of side effects please post. I will do the same.
    nightowl223 likes this.

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