To cull or to treat? Upper respiratory

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AinaWGSD, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I posted about my hen with an upper respiratory ailment of some kind here https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/620797/hen-with-upper-respiratory-disease. On the bright side, her wheezing is not as noticeable at rest, but any stress (ie handling) will get her going again. The "funky" smell was definitely feces stuck in her feathers (when I bathed her earlier this week I managed to flush an entire chicken turd out from under her feathers above her tail!) and has totally disappeared since her bath. And although she hasn't laid an egg since I brought her in from the coop (not surprised there) her comb and wattles are still nice and red.

    But I am still stuck between whether to try to treat her or to cull. The size of doxycycline that the vet wrote a script for is not a common size and is not cheap. I can get the next size up or down for less than $20, which is about what I am willing to spend on meds for her, however these pills come in capsule form and can't be halved to get the dose that is prescribed. I will probably call to see if she can get me a different dose as I know there is a fairly wide range and she chose the dose that was kind of in the middle, but I expect it to be a few hours before I hear back from her as they are very busy and down a person today. In the end, she will eventually be culled after she is done as a layer anyway so part of me thinks I should just do it now and get it over with, especially since even if she recovers with antibiotics if she has another respiratory episode I will not treat a second time. But then I feel a little guilty for wanting to "take the easy out" since she seems healthy other than the respiratory noise and it seems like something that she could recover from. I am also reluctant to take my flock down from 6 layers to 5, and while my sussex are not my best layers they aren't that bad that I wouldn't notice the difference either.

    Any thoughts anyone wants to share would be appreciated. I feel that for most of us, chickens share that strange limbo land between pet and purely livestock that makes this decision difficult (if my chickens were pets I would treat without hesitation, if they were purely livestock to me I would have culled her by now).
     
  2. Chemguy

    Chemguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Springfield, Ohio
    I can understand your dilemma. The pet/livestock line is blurry in my house.

    I'd like to share my own experience. When the temperature started to yoyo, I had one hen that began wheezing every time the temperature dropped. When still, she was quiet but if she moved around or made her typical cooing sounds, she would wheeze. But, after the temps held steady for more than 24 hours, the wheezing went away. This happened when the temperature dropped, but not when it rose. I'm keeping a very close eye on her and the rest, but she does seem fine. But, my point is that in my case the wheezing seemed to be due to change in weather (like the 40-50 degree swings we've had). Is it possible that you are seeing something similar? You and I have pretty much the same weather.

    P.S. We used to call it shampoo-banana when I lived there, but that was a long time ago. Cham-bana sounds better. Progress.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  3. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It could be weather related as we have had some pretty dramatic temp. swings right around when this started. Although that makes me concerned that it may be an underlying infection that has become noticeable because of stress. And when I first noticed it we had not had a sudden shift in temps for more at least 24 hours.
     
  4. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sullivan, IL
    So, thanks to my guilt towards "taking the easy out" on a hen that seems healthy other than some respiratory noise (which I know from personal experience can sound much worse than it actually is) and my husband's reluctance to scald and pluck a chicken outside (and absolute refusal to do it inside) in the middle of January, we've decided to treat. I got my vet to call in a prescription for the 100mg doxycycline capsules and it was a much more reasonable price, about $7 for 2 weeks worth! The first pill went down rough, literally. We spent the first hour or so after administering it worried that we might have accidentally shoved it down her trachea instead of her esophagus. The second capsule we split open and mixed with about 5cc of watered down dogfood (I think I'm going to try to sneak a can of baby food or a/d that we use for syringe feeding from work today because even watered down the dog food was kind of chunky) then gavaged directly into her crop. So much faster, and less stressful for all of us! Here's hoping it's just a mild bacterial infection brought out into the open by the crazy weather we've been having.
     
  5. FrenchToast

    FrenchToast "Draft Apple Ridge" a Bit from Heaven

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    Good Luck with your hen. Have you tried Tylan 50. It is about $10 at Tractor Supply.
     
  6. ivyy

    ivyy New Egg

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    cat food is much less chunky and if you get it in the pouches you can smush it even finer befour opening it .garlic in the drinking water is great for respitory recovery too.
     

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