Test results in: not botulism but coccidiosis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ZooMummzy, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    Ok, so after endless hours of researching and reading till my eyes are crossed and my head is mushy, now I am 99% certain my favorite pet rooster (and probably the other 3 chickens I lost) has botulism. They all had similar symptoms - droopy, weak legs (never the Marek's split), very red face, lethargic (but eating well) - but it was the sudden loss of his neck feathers and others coming out easily finally made it all come together. None of the other symptoms added up completely to Marek's or FC and I have had 2 other chickens completely recover after long periods of hospital care. All the chickens got sick during really rainy, humid periods and were out in the run. All the house chickens and chickens living in the garage are perfectly healthy. I have seen watery green poo in some of the girls outside but thought it was just from the greens/grapes. Now I know better. They are larger and older and probably were able to handle the toxin better. These were little OEGBs and a young Silkie (she has recovered and I'm not exactly sure that hers wasn't an injury because it was so different). The weird part is that only my Barred OEGBs have died or been effected?

    We have had so much rain this year and the combination of mud puddles, scratch, mice and who knows what else staying in the soil has triggered this outbreak I am sure. I feel absolutely awful that I have killed/sickened my babies, but now that I know, I can treat and deal with it and try to never make the same mistakes again. I have all the information about the flushes I need to do and the follow up treatments for the birds but what do I do about the soil? There is no possible way I can close it off to my flock. I just can't. It is their run and the only place I have for them. Moving them is not an option and I can't keep them locked in the coop. Should I turn it over? Should I add something to it? Should cover it thickly with wood chips/shaving/etc? Will the sun and heat we now have on the way help? Any quick help and advice would be appreciated.



    **I edited this to say that I am positive it is botulism now. I have been flushing him out with epsom salt mix and the nasty junk coming out is exactly what they describe on other sites. He is following the symptoms down to a tee. This is both good and bad I guess - at least I know what I'm dealing with this time. His crop and waddles are so red and he is hot to the touch. I am not being cruel to him but I did test his feathers and they come out without any effort at all [​IMG] I am just heartbroken but determined to do everything I can to treat him and clean up this problem in the run, which is the help I am looking for. Since my first post, the other sick OEGB pullet died so I rushed her to the lab for a necropsy. Hopefully I will have the results back soon and it doesn't show I'm dealing with another problem too!

    **edited again to say he died so now I wait and see what the results are. I guess when I find out, I will figure out what I need to do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  2. Kim65

    Kim65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2009
    Washington state
    You and I live in the same part of the world (SW WA here) and I have not had disease pop up but I have been very worried about it.

    I am going to get a bale of hay and to heck with what it does to the ground (I can move my pen around to let the grass come back) I feel like I have to do something. I live on a flood plain and the ground is saturated and stinks. Plus it's warmish outside.

    I wonder if quick lime sprinkled daily on the ground would help??? Just guessing here.

    I had a streak of injuries and illness here recently, and I feel for all your anguish over your sick critters. I still have a hen in the "hospital" (read: my bedroom) while she regrows the skin on her back after a turkey attack. You feel so responsible, for everything.

    I also wonder (and hope someone can chime in here) about using CDT antitoxin on suspected botulism in poultry. I've had goats go down with it. It's called "overeating disease" or "enterotoxemia" in goats but it's the same bacteria. The antitoxin is basically an injectable drug that destroys the toxin the botulism creates. It saves goat's lives all the time. The doseage is not particularly important, sometimes you need to use a lot of it, but it reverses botulism quickly.

    Anyway, even though I don't have a good answer my post will bump yours [​IMG]
     
  3. patnjess

    patnjess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2010
    ok here's how you will know if it is botulism they will die. First they start going flacid, then they will be so flacid that they will no longer have the muscles to breathe.


    Botulism toxin is the most powerful killer known to this world. It would only take 1 ounce to kill the whole United States. It is one of the biggest threats as far as bioterrism and someone using this in food or water
    The bacteria are not deadly but the exotoxins that they produce.
    They are anarerobic, so you have to think where they are getting it from, if this is it and fix it.
    They produce spores and are highly resistant organism. If your chickens got it you need to find out where it is from to prevent intoxification by you and yours. Even not washing hands, or eating the same thing.
    If your chickens have it they will die. the only fix is antitoxin and that doesn't help what has already been done, this will just correct further damage, so life support is needed.

    I'm so sorry. so if this is it, i wouldn't cull to find out for sure and just watch them. You have to protect your family too.
     
  4. patnjess

    patnjess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi I'm not an expert in chickens, but the bacteria that produces botulism exotoxins is gram positive. Enterotoxins are produced from gram negative. the bacteria that causes botulism is Clostridium Botulinum, Clostridium perfingens is overeating disease. Humans can get this too, as food borne illness, also cause gas gangrene in wounds. Unfortunatly botulism is way worse.
    there is an antitoxin, but it can't undue what has been done, just prevent it from getting worse.
    I have no clue if it is available for chickens.

    Quote:
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2010
  5. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    Quote:Thank you for the information and I don't mean to be contradictory, but no, death is not an absolute. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=219553&p=1 This is the thread where I first learned about botulism and how to flush the birds. From there I went onto research many sites with toxin flushes. I could list numerous sites which say the same thing - flush the toxins. If they make it past 48 hours, you have a chance. The flushing is hard on their systems but it can and does work sometimes and if you continue with the proper treatment after the flushing, recovery is possible. Not all birds make it, this is true, but a lot of them can be saved with quick and hard work. I take in special need chickens so I know what lies ahead. I am just thankful I have something to try. I will be taking the next bird which passes in for a necropsy. I spaced on the others and just didn't think about it till it was too late.

    As far as where it came from - pretty sure all the mud puddles and the completely saturated, nasty mud we have here. It has been a brutal winter and spring for dampness and humidity. I don't know if I'm paying attention to it more now that I have chickens, but I don't remember last year or the year before being so difficult on my chickens. I battled mold all winter and now this. I'm about ready to move to AZ!
     
  6. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    Quote:Thank you for the bump [​IMG]

    We sure do and I don't know about you, but it's been a really rough year for my chickens! The last two years I never had a single issue at all and now this year, all I've done is battle mold all winter and now the run issue. Mine is completely saturated too and stinks. Every dry day I rake and sprinkle with DE. I never let the water stand in the run but sometimes the puddles form before I can get out there. On the numerous sites I went to, I found that they can even get it from eating bugs that live in the ground or in the water and feed on rotted grains, feed, etc. It's just overwhelming. Thanks for the quick lime thought. I will look into it. Is is safe for chickens? I've never used lime, just DE.
     
  7. Kim65

    Kim65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That's definitely something I didn't know. Now I'm going to do some reading on this!
     
  8. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    I didn't know it either, thank you. Something else to learn about.

    My chicken died in my arms an hour ago. I took him and the other OEGB that died a couple hours prior to him into the lab for necropsy. Hopefully by the end of the week I will have some answers as to what is going on in my flock. I am just devastated.
     
  9. Kim65

    Kim65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh no [​IMG]

    I figure you must be pretty overwhelmed by all this right now. I hate to throw more stuff at you, but I thought of the feed. An outbreak of botulism can also be from a "bad" batch of feed. Botulinum spores have been found contaminating animal feeds as well. It's another possible source, anway. I would notify the manufacturer of the feed of your possible botulism outbreak, at least the deaths of several birds eating that feed.

    It turns out there is a vaccine for Clostridium Botulinum that has been successfully used on ducks and mice.

    And Patjness is right, the antitoxin used for enterotoxemia is for C. perfringens, and would not work for C. botulinum at all. It is the exotoxin versus the enterotoxin thing. Even the "famous" veterinarians for the zoos have been unable to save many of the rare and valuable animals in their care. If we can't save them, we should go easy on ourselves ((((hugs)))))

    All the rest of us in this area are suffering the stinking mud and humidity, and I wonder why some folks have botulism type illnesses (you'll find out for sure [​IMG] ) and some not (cross my fingers here). There are other sources of contamination, which is why I bring up their feed.

    I'm so sorry about your favorite rooster. So sorry for your loss [​IMG]
     
  10. Kim65

    Kim65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another thing I read is that C. botulinum can't survive in an acidic environment. Thus, low acid canning has special precautions, like for green beans.

    What would improve soil acidity?

    Definitely NOT quick lime, it neutralizes acids. It looks like elemental sulfur acidifies soil, folks use it for blueberries and other acid loving plants.
     

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