Suspected recurring gapeworm

Blue Legs

Chirping
Mar 4, 2021
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I free range about a dozen mixed birds near Eugene, Oregon. They have about an acre to wander around which is fenced in, and surrounded by seasonally flooded swamp. At one point or another, most of the birds seem to develop what I interpret as the symptoms of gapeworm. The rolling head shake at first, and if it progresses the choking horn-like noise they make when exhaling, followed by gasping for air and death. SOMETIMES I am able to successfully treat this with ivermectin or fembendazole, sometimes it doesn't work. Once they recover, they dont seem to catch it again but I do lose about 1 in 4 victims and my Jersey Giant rooster and one of my Bresse boys are starting the head roll/shake thing.

Can anyone suggest a course of treatment
 

Blue Legs

Chirping
Mar 4, 2021
53
119
79
Any ideas? I was planning on reapplying topical ivermectin in the morning at the suggested rate dialed down proportionally.
 

Eggcessive

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Can you try to get your vet to confirm gapeworms by taking in some fresh droppings to do a fecal float? Gapeworms are rare. Respiratory disease is more common. The state vet could do a necropsy on any other one that you lose, and could diagnose a respiratory disease or worms. If using fenbendazole for gapeworms use 0.25 ml per pound of weight given orally for 5 straight days.
 

Banana01

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Feb 18, 2021
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Check their crops, they should be empty in the morning, if its not it likely is worms causing a blockage. The problem with blockage is you need a worm treatment. I give dewormer and lots of water when there is blockage and it clears usually one day.

Or if you see them gasping for air with a watery crop, you could start on dewormer any time of day.

Have you ever seen them pass any worms in their droppings after giving medicine?

Have you ever given both ivermectin and fenbemdazole? Is it oral ivermectin? Might want to do a fenvendazole treatment but also give oral ivermectin dose on day one. I have success with oral liquid dewormers especially for smaller young chickens. Adults pass the worms too but it takes longer, like one day whereas young ones clear up in less than a day.
 

dawg53

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Nov 27, 2008
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Keep in mind that gapeworms are located in the trachea. Capillary worms can infect the crop. Either way, the wormer has to be present in the bloodstream in order to eliminate worms.
I agree with @Eggcessive. Simply take a few fecal samples that are mixed together in a plastic ziplock bag to a vet and have them look under a microscope for worm eggs like they do for a dog or cat, shouldnt cost much at all. Then you'll know for sure whether it's worms or not.
 

Blue Legs

Chirping
Mar 4, 2021
53
119
79
excellent! Thank you for the helpful ideas, I didn't expect gapeworm to be found in fecal samples but those should be easy to come by hahaha. I will also inspect his crop in the morning, he tends to leisurely stroll out a few minutes after the bulk of the flock so grabbing him tomorrow should be easy enough. The ivermectin I have is topical, I apply it directly to the skin on the neck. I may be able to get some oral at the feed store if the topical isn't effective for this.

The respiratory symptoms haven't occurred with these birds yet, they are on the head shaking/rolling stage. It looks like they are trying to dislodge something in their throats, hence my assumption of gapeworms.

SO, my plan will be to inspect the crop in the morning, oral fembendazole and ivermectin if symptoms seems right, and if there are no discernible physical symptoms, I will take a stool sample in as this is a recurring, if infrequent, problem in my flock
 

Wyorp Rock

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Sep 20, 2015
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they are on the head shaking/rolling stage. It looks like they are trying to dislodge something in their throats, hence my assumption of gapeworms.

SO, my plan will be to inspect the crop in the morning, oral fembendazole and ivermectin if symptoms seems right
Any way you can get a video of their actions? All are head shaking/rolling?

Have you looked them over for lice/mites, in the ears for infection (pus/debris/ear mites) and made sure crops are emptying completely overnight?
They have access to suitable grit?

Ivermectin Pour On (or paste) can be good for treating external parasites (lice/mites) but it's not that effective against worms anymore.
Fenbendazole (Safeguard/Pancur) liquid or paste will treat most worms that poultry have except for Tapeworms. 👇👇👇
If using fenbendazole for gapeworms use 0.25 ml per pound of weight given orally for 5 straight days.
 

Blue Legs

Chirping
Mar 4, 2021
53
119
79
I got a video of the head rolling/shaking but I am unable to upload it. Standard video shot from a samsung phone, mp4 file. Dosed both birds this morning
 

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