Suspect case of coccidiosis NOT responding to Sulmet? Advice needed

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ewesfullchicks, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. ewesfullchicks

    ewesfullchicks In the Brooder

    Sep 27, 2007

    I have approx. 500 Black Sex-Links chicks (BSLs) who are split up into 3 different groups. We're still recovering from Hurricane Ike which destroyed a lot of my bird housing, (AND much damage to MY house) so things are less than ideal.

    When I first got the chicks, I had them housed in a trailer in litter, in two equal groups. During the hurricane, they were moved inside into my business building on litter, in two different groups. (Yes - I'm STILL cleaning up!)

    The hurricane wrecked the chick's housing. Therefore, I'm "making-do" with what I could pull together, once I got them out of my place of business!

    Two groups are on "ancient" litter, and are doing fine.

    The third group are on pasture with the protection of a "Chick-Inn" from Farm Tec. They've been there for approx. 2-3 weeks. The chicks will be 8 weeks old on Wednesday.

    The "problem" group is approx. 150 being kept in the above 12' by 18' structure. They have "baby" roosts, and the water is kept VERY clean. Fresh food is given twice daily.

    The weather has been mostly dry since the hurricane, and although confined, there is plenty of sunshine, ventilation, etc. and their area is very dry. However, it IS on grass.

    About 5 days ago, I noticed 3-4 chicks standing around, not interested in food, with kind of ruffled feathers. One of them had mustard yellow poops - no blood noticed.

    I started that group on Sulmet, and followed the instructions on the bottle. They are already on medicated feed.

    Unfortunately, I've lost 3 chicks since I first noticed a few "not acting right", and one is still acting droopy. I'll be dumping several bales of fresh pine shavings into their area this evening.

    I'm ASSUMING that 1. the problem really IS coccidia, and if so, that the grass became overwhelmed with contaminated feces and thus overwhelmed the chicks immune system?

    2. That it isn't something else?

    The other curious thing is that I STILL don't notice blood in poop, and the ones that have died have clean vents, and except for the first one, were some of the biggest chicks.

    I haven't bleached out their feeders, but will do this evening.

    Any suggestions?

    Would it be worth dosing the sick chick with an alternative? From prior posts I've learned that protozoa don't respond to antibacterials, but my Merck's manual lists stuff like oxytetracycline. Is it worth giving this a try? If so - what is the dose?

    Thanks for any help or insights people can give me.
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I would run a fecal sample to any vet for a fecal float test. Then you can treat for what they have because if they don't have cocci, you're using valuable time in treating for something you don't know.

    If they do have cocci, meds only stop the cocci from reproducing, and damage can be so bad that they have residual damage. Only one strain, the most common strain, has the standard sign of bloody poo. There are other strains that affect the intestines but don't have bloody poo so it could be that. Or maybe they have worms. Can't treat for all possibilities at the same time though, so best find out what it is before treating for new things. Good luck!
  3. ewesfullchicks

    ewesfullchicks In the Brooder

    Sep 27, 2007
    Thanks so much moderator "Silkie" for responding.

    I'm pleased to report that after the evening that I was so discouraged that I posted that email - I've had no further losses, and all seem MOST interested in food and water.

    I can only conclude that the problem WAS coccidiosis, and that the Sulmet DID help those that was possible to help, but it took it's time!

    My problem is that I've repeatedly asked my vets (plural) to run fecal tests on chickens, and they've refused, because they don't treat chickens.

    Part of me understands this, because when I FINALLY was able to get a small vet animal to run a fecal on one of my sheep - he totally misdiagnosed what the animal was infected with (my sheep vet was on vacation).

    When I discussed the misdiagnosis with my large animal vet, he explained to me how similar blah looks to blah, and I really totally accept that. This explains why vets stick with what they know!

    The frustrating thing is that no vet in his/her right mind is going to gain knowledge in poultry disease. There's simply no income in it, and each vet has spent thousands, and thousands, in order to become qualified.

    However, I'll try with the closest Agricultural College to see if they can be a resource!

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