swollen eye and itchy comb

crittercaretech

out of the house and into the grow out coop
Mar 1, 2020
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Hello,
I have an Ayam Cemani rooster with a swollen eye and itchy comb that needs some experienced chicken keepers to offer suggestions as to what could be going on. I need to mention our equine vet very reluctantly took a look at him today from several feet away and had no suggestions. This is our only veterinary option for chickens in our area.
Approximately a week ago I noticed this guy was away from the others and had his eye closed with some swelling around it. He is one of two roosters. I have never seen them fight and the only aggressive behavior is our naked neck rooster occasionally chases this guy away if he gets too close but the Cemani always retreats quickly. Therefore I'm not sure if it is an injury or something else going on. I brought him inside and have flushed his eye and applied antibiotic eye drops daily with no improvement or deterioration in his condition. There is no discharge or crust around the eye. There is no sign of respiratory infection his nose is clean and dry and his breathing is normal with no sneezing or coughing and no head shaking. The swelling has remained the same as far as i can tell and it is not hot or hard to the touch. It doesn't feel like there is a pocket of fluid under the swelling, it feels more like the swelling lies within the tissue. Although he is not happy about being inside he isn't lethargic or depressed and is eating well. I'm not sure how painful it is but he doesn't seem to mind if I push on it or manipulate it. After a few days I noticed he was scratching that side of his face and also the comb on the same side.the scratching seems to be isolated to his head he isn't scratching anywhere else. When I first gave brought him inside I didn't see any mites crawling on him but his leg scales looked to be raised a little so I gave him a rub down with Vaseline and repeated a second time. His scales look normal now so unsure if there were any scaley leg mites or not. None of the other chickens show signs of infestation. He really seemed to enjoy the foot massage though. Although I didn't initially notice any body lice or mites, I did notice some mites on him about the same time the scratching was noticed. I gave him a bath in dawn dish soap and his scratching has continued. Last night I wormed him with Ivermectin paste wormer and when I opened his mouth I noticed a slimy white saliva ball in the back of his mouth isolated to the opposite side of the head. I removed it with a q-tip. This evening there is another white slimy buildup of saliva in the same spot. The white saliva wasn't full of bubbles or giving off an odor and it came out in one glob about the size of the cotton on the tip of a q tip . His mouth looked normal after I removed it. Our polish chicken recently had an ear infection. I thought perhaps his itching might be caused by an infection so i treated it last night and again this morning with drops. The vet said it wouldn't hurt so will continue for a few days to see if they offer any improvement. I have been fairly lucky with chicken illness and have not experienced anything like this before. Am I missing anything that may be causing the symptoms? The photo from the front shows the comparison to the other side of his face. The overall size of the swelling is isolated to the featherless portion around the eye. the wattles and comb and under the jaw are not noticeably swollen. His comb always lays to the side. I considered facial paralysis but when I put medication in his eye he can move the skin above his eye but I don't see his bottom lid move. The main target of his scratching is the small grayish colored spot behind the eye and another grayish area on the comb directly above the eye extending toward the back of the comb and it has a dry rough feel to it. Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Vickischics

Songster
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I do not know enough to offer you any help but, I did contact Wyorp Rock, LaFleche, Castportpony, and Roosterhavoc. Hopefully they will respond soon. They are only a few of the "Experts" on BYC and if you want to learn, you should follow their posts. Good Luck. I am sure someone will be able to help you with your problem with your Rooster.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Have you looked inside his ear for signs of infection or mites in there?

You mention he had mites? Are those all gone?
The ball of mucous inside the beak, when you clean that out again, can you get photos?
What are the drops you are using (in the eye?)?
 

LaFleche

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According to your description, there might be two different things going on with your Cemani rooster.

I suggest to send in the next mucous ball you clean out of his throat and if possible blot the area maybe even using sticky tape for another sample. Your state lab would be the way to go.

This could be scaly leg mites which sometimes transfer from the legs to the other featherless parts (mostly the head) but could easily have some other cause as for example a fungal or bacterial infection.
 

crittercaretech

out of the house and into the grow out coop
Mar 1, 2020
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Have you looked inside his ear for signs of infection or mites in there?

You mention he had mites? Are those all gone?
The ball of mucous inside the beak, when you clean that out again, can you get photos?
What are the drops you are using (in the eye?)?
sorry for the delay getting back to you, the neighbors bulls got out and took down part of my fencing so i had some repairs to make this evening. yes the body mites are gone. i did get a look insi\de his ear with a pocket microscope. his ear didnt have any crusty material around the ear and inside the ear looked clean best i could tell but it was a little bit of a rodeo trying to get a good view. my husband will be home tomorrow maybe with some help i can get a better look and update if anything looks off. the eye drops are Neomycin and Polymcin B Sulfates with dexamethasone. they are recently expired june 2020 meds but where an unopened bottle my equine vet gave me last month. He cant sell after expiration but said said i might be able to use them for something in the future. As for the photo of the ball of mucus i will see what i can do and add photos if i can get any clear ones for ya. thank you so much for taking the time to try and help our boy. it is deeply appreciated.
 

Wyorp Rock

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sorry for the delay getting back to you, the neighbors bulls got out and took down part of my fencing so i had some repairs to make this evening. yes the body mites are gone. i did get a look insi\de his ear with a pocket microscope. his ear didnt have any crusty material around the ear and inside the ear looked clean best i could tell but it was a little bit of a rodeo trying to get a good view. my husband will be home tomorrow maybe with some help i can get a better look and update if anything looks off. the eye drops are Neomycin and Polymcin B Sulfates with dexamethasone. they are recently expired june 2020 meds but where an unopened bottle my equine vet gave me last month. He cant sell after expiration but said said i might be able to use them for something in the future. As for the photo of the ball of mucus i will see what i can do and add photos if i can get any clear ones for ya. thank you so much for taking the time to try and help our boy. it is deeply appreciated.
Where are you located in the world?
You have some good eye drops.
The mucous inside the beak along with the facial swelling, I would be more inclined to think respiratory illness, but which one it's hard to know.
The comb may be just from scratching(?)
Do you have any avian vets that can see him?
 

crittercaretech

out of the house and into the grow out coop
Mar 1, 2020
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Where are you located in the world?
You have some good eye drops.
The mucous inside the beak along with the facial swelling, I would be more inclined to think respiratory illness, but which one it's hard to know.
The comb may be just from scratching(?)
Do you have any avian vets that can see him?
we are just outside Las Vegas, Nevada. the avian vet we would normally use has recently retired for health reasons and I have not been able to get an appointment with the two other vets that will treat chickens because they are not taking new patients due to the Covid virus. it is very frustrating when you have an animal in need of vet care that other clinics wont make exceptions to their policy and accept long standing clients from another vet who has retired. At the same time I do understand that they don't have as many appointments available so they need to service their clients. late last night I attempted to get a mucous sample and photo of it and there was no mucus. still none this morning either. His face could be slightly more swollen today but if you stare at something long enough you can trick yourself. I just messaged my equine vet who looked at him from a distance recently with no treatment suggestions if I should start him on antibiotics. his response was what do you have on hand.
I have SMZ 960 mg tablets as well as fish Mox 250 mg capsules his reply in a very childlike whine was,"yes those are both safe to use but I don't know what the dosage is, please don't turn me into the go to vet when people need their chickens treated." This is frustrating but at the same time you have to know him to know he is kinda kidding but mostly serious. he is a great vet and tells it like he sees it, looks like he just stepped off a surfboard but his mind is usually on the golf course. I'm sure he thinks I am inquiring about my chicken just because I know it annoys him, lol. most days that would probably be true. i was able to get some close ups of his comb where he scratches i will make a separate reply in a few minutes with those attached. thank you for your taking the time to help us
 

crittercaretech

out of the house and into the grow out coop
Mar 1, 2020
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update: this morning I tried to get a photo and a sample of the mucus ball he had in his throat on two previous occasions and there was none. last night I was able to get a photo using the pocket microscope at 40x magnification. the first photo shows the area he scratches on the comb, the second is the area is the spot behind the eye. the last photo is kind of interesting. most of his feathers have feather casing around the bottom. most of his body the casings are greyish white and some are yellowish. around his upper neck head area most of them are yellowish and look like normal casings. this one and several others look to have a tail. started thinking maybe it is a parasite i am not familiar with or it could just be normal but it intrigued me and thought someone else might have a thought on it.
 

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Wyorp Rock

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Well, I'm sure not an expert nor a vet! LOL
The photos are interesting.
I'm going to tag in @Eggcessive and @casportpony as well, they may have better suggestions than I do.

Do you notice if there's any more spots like that on the rest of his body. Is he excessively preening or just scratching his head?

It could be scaly face mites or something like Feather (Depluming)mites, but the mucous and facial swelling is different.
Sometimes more than one issue can be going on.

Your vet is just being cautious I suppose. It must be very frustrating though.
On this one I lean toward using the SMZ-TMP instead of the Amoxicillin. I think it would be more effective.
I don't have concrete dosing info for SMZ-TMP I *think* this is correct, but Kim or Kathy may have something different. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/my-babies-are-dying-bactrim-smz-tmp-dosing.356425/page-2

Just doing a bit of "brainstorming" here for when Kim/Kathy come on - IF it's Scaly Face Mites or Depluming Mites (should see evidence of Depluming Mites elsewhere, I think). Ivermectin would be what I would use. Is there any contraindications between Ivermectin and SMZ-TMP?
 

Eggcessive

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How much ivermectin paste did you use? It may have lost some of it’s effectiveness as a wormer, but it may treat mites. It might also help to apply some petroleum jelly or plain Triple Antibiotic Ointment to the itchy spots on the comb or skin.
 

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