swollen, puffy head

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gr8tlygraced1, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. gr8tlygraced1

    gr8tlygraced1 Hatching

    Apr 12, 2013
    I have a 5 month old pullet whose head is very swollen and puffy including ears and wattles. I don't think the swelling extends down the neck. I cannot find any injuries or parasites. She does have a tiny bit of clear discharge out of one nostril and there is a tiny bloody spot up in that nostril. The other side is normal. Her eyes seem fine, no discharge there. She does not appear to be in pain and is eating normally… Any ideas?
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Could you post a picture? Infectious coryza can cause swelling of the head ears and wattles, and there is a disease called swollen head syndrome that can cause swelling of the head. Here is some info about them:

    Infectious Coryza

    Synonyms: roup, cold, coryza
    Species affected: chickens, pheasants, and guinea fowl. Common in game chicken flocks.
    Clinical signs: Swelling around the face, foul smelling, thick, sticky discharge from the nostrils and eyes, labored breathing, and rales (rattles -- an abnormal breathing sound) are common clinical signs. The eyelids are irritated and may stick together. The birds may have diarrhea and growing birds may become stunted (see Table 1).
    Mortality from coryza is usually low, but infections can decrease egg production and increase the incidence and/or severity of other diseases. Mortality can be as high as 50 percent, but is usually no more than 20 percent. The clinical disease can last from a few days to 2-3 months, depending on the virulence of the pathogen and the existence of other infections such as mycoplasmosis.
    Transmission: Coryza is primarily transmitted by direct bird-to-bird contact. This can be from infected birds brought into the flock as well as from birds which recover from the disease which remain carriers of the organism and may shed intermittently throughout their lives.. Birds risk exposure at poultry shows, bird swaps, and live-bird sales. Inapparent infected adult birds added into a flock are a common source for outbreaks. Within a flock, inhalation of airborne respiratory droplets, and contamination of feed and/or water are common modes of spread.
    Treatment: Water soluble antibiotics or antibacterials can be used. Sulfadimethoxine (Albon[​IMG], Di-Methox[​IMG]) is the preferred treatment. If it is not available, or not effective, sulfamethazine (Sulfa-Max[​IMG], SulfaSure[​IMG]), erythromycin (gallimycin[​IMG]), or tetracycline (Aureomycin[​IMG]) can be used as alternative treatments. Sulfa drugs are not FDA approved for pullets older than 14 weeks of age or for commercial layer hens. While antibiotics can be effective in reducing clinical disease, they do not eliminate carrier birds.
    Prevention: Good management and sanitation are the best ways to avoid infectious coryza. Most outbreaks occur as a result of mixing flocks. All replacement birds on "coryza-endemic" farms should be vaccinated. The vaccine (Coryza-Vac) is administered subcutaneously (under the skin) on the back of the neck. Each chicken should be vaccinated four times, starting at 5 weeks of age with at least 4 weeks between injections. Vaccinate again at 10 months of age and twice yearly thereafter.

    Swollen Head Syndrome

    Synonyms: Facial cellulitis, thick head, Dikkop, SHS
    Species affected: Chickens and turkeys are the known natural hosts. Experimentally, guinea fowl and pheasants are susceptible but pigeons, ducks, and geese are resistant to the infection. SHS does not presently occur in the United States, but is present in most countries of the world.
    Clinical signs: In chicks and poults, there is initial sneezing, followed by reddening and swelling of the tear ducts and eye tissue. Facial swelling will extend over the head and down the jaw and wattles. Adult chickens have mild respiratory disease followed by a few birds having swollen heads. Other signs include disorientation, twisting of the neck, and a significant drop in egg production (see Table 1).
    Transmission: The infection spreads by direct contact with infected birds or indirectly by exposure to infectious material.
    Treatment: There is no proven medication for swollen head syndrome. The disease is caused by a virus classified as a pneumovirus. A disease closely mimicking SHS is caused by a mixed infection of respiratory viruses and specific bacteria. Antibiotic therapy may be helpful against the bacterial component.
    Prevention: A commercial vaccine is available. Swollen head syndrome is considered an exotic disease and a live vaccine is not approved for use in the United States.
  3. gr8tlygraced1

    gr8tlygraced1 Hatching

    Apr 12, 2013
    Thanks, Eggsessive.
    The swelling started going down almost immediately and within 36 hours she was normal, Two days later I found another hen whose head was beginning to swell and acting a little droopy. She had a tick attached to her comb. I removed it and she, almost immediately, began walking around and eating again. The swelling was gone in a couple of hours. So maybe the pullet from my original post had a tick that had dropped off before I found her. They show no other symptoms of the diseases in your posts. I will continue to watch them. Thank you for your reply
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014

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