1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

swollen back-end, ascites? peritonitis? **Saw Vet - Post #4**

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BWchicken, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    1
    121
    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    Barred Rock bantam hen almost 3 yrs old. Her back-end/abdomen area, (behind the legs, starting just beyond the end of the keel) is swollen big, feels really tight-not like solid rock, but not squishy at all. It almost feels air-filled (is that possible)? I recently changed feed from flock raiser to layena and I just started feeding dried meal worms pretty often too. This hen stopped laying about 2 years ago, vet found no apparent cause and said she seemed perfectly healthy. I do feel her abdomen every few months (fearing peritonitis) and she's always felt perfect. This is the first time she's had anything like this. She's acting normal though.

    Please help me if you can. I will call the vet first thing tommorrow but he's always in such high demand I doubt he will see her for a few days. Should I try to drain her? If so, where can I safely stick a needle back there? She's a bantam and I don't want to cause damage. Any of your ideas or thoughts are so appreciated, I don't want to lose her.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    544
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Those symptoms do make you wonder about peritonitis or internal laying. If she is eating and moving around fairly normally you may want to wait for the vet to see her. I know I have run across descriptions of draining the belly on the BYC forum, but I have not personally done it myself.

    Although you hen may not be an internal layer, I'll let you know that our internal laying hen got a very big belly over time (well over a year) as egg material built up in her abdomen and got partially reabsorbed. You can see autopsy photos of this on byc, but they are graphic. There is a risk of infection with internal layers, but our hen waddled around with her big belly and enjoyed her treats and sand bathing in the sun for a long time.
     
  3. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    1
    121
    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    Thanks for the reply, I'm afraid it is peritonitis too, because she hasn't laid in 2 years. She's definitely much slower today, waddling, and she doesn't feel good. I went ahead and called the vet and we have an appt. at 4:30 today. I hope it goes well, and I'll post again later tonight with the details. I'm so so sad but still hoping for the best.
     
  4. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    1
    121
    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    By the time I got to the vet, she was way worse and having trouble breathing. The vet analyzed the fluid and he thinks it's congestive heart failure, but we'll know for sure if bloodwork rules out liver or kidneys. He was surprised that this was happening to her so young. He says it's absolutely not peritonitis, she's not making eggs at all. So that's good news. Vet said congestive heart, as bad as it is, is still a better diagnosis than peritonitis. He said we can likely make a difference with medication. At least give her quality life for longer. The blood tests should come back in a couple days so then we'll know whether the ascites was caused by liver, kidneys, or heart, and he'll give medicine for her accordingly at that time. The blood tests will say for sure, but he thinks it's probably congestive heart failure.

    He drained all the fluid and she immediately began to breathe normally and she seemed to feel so much better. I was so grateful for her relief. I wanted to keep her inside tonight, but decided to put her back on the roost with her flockmates, thinking she'd be most comfortable sleeping there after her hard day. Temps are gonna be upper 30's tonight so I hope that's not too cold for her. (I may talk myself into going back out to get her, I don't know).

    I'm not sure the grim-ness of this diagnosis has sunk in yet, I'm just so happy to see her get relief after that fluid was drained. The difference was amazing. I'll deal with the rest as it comes, but she has relief for now, and I am concentrating on that.


    edited to add:
    I went to check on her around midnight and was surprised to see that she's still draining from the needle holes. It's cold out and she was standing on the roost in a puddle of fluid shivering. :( So I brought her in and now she's toasty warm in the hospital cage.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  5. egglicious

    egglicious Chillin' With My Peeps

    354
    1
    113
    May 7, 2011
    I would definitely keep her in until she is completely healed.
     
  6. Am I the only one not seeing the pic?
     
  7. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    544
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    I'm glad the vet was able to see her without delay. I think I have read that heart failure can lead to ascites. I know other people's hens have done okay after draining. I hope her condition can be managed with medicine.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by