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Two hens - Same Sypmptoms, vet clueless -- please, PLEASE help.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AsherSkyline, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. AsherSkyline

    AsherSkyline Out Of The Brooder

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    I have two hens, a barred rock "Agatha" and a rhode island red, "Ethel". The barred rock, Agatha, showed symptoms first. 1-2 weeks later, Ethel, the red, started showing symptoms beginning with dilated pupils, floppy comb, and sleepiness. No other hens have shown any signs of this illness. I appologize if this post is a mess... but I want to give all information that I have.

    I noticed lice crawling on their vents in December, dusted them, and have not seen any poultry lice since. Both chickens have been slowly but surely getting sicker, and have been sick since late January. They both visited the vet in February, Agatha was diagnosed with sour crop, which I treated with apple cider vinegar and she no longer has that foul smell in her breath. Vet recommended antibiotics so, they were treated with a very broad spectrum antibiotic called "trimethsulfa" for 10 days, it did not change their condition at all.
    I once saw that Agatha pooped out a roundworm about an inch long. I have dewormed them with Safe-guard for 4 days, 2 times per day. No worms seen since. They get rooster booster "vitamins and electrolyes with lacto bacillus" in their water. They eat very small amounts, but Ethel is more active and eats more. I will tube feed Agatha, but her crop is very slow to empty. All Agatha will eat are meal worms... refuses eggs. I've dusted their coop with the red/clay colored foodgrade diatomaceous earth, even added it to their food for a week. I isolated them, for about week, no improvement. Returned them to the coop, no improvement. Agatha is no longer perching at night, sleeping in nest box or outside, I assume it's due to her balance being so off. Her back feathers are being pecked at from her sister, Agnes... who is now listed in the re-homing section due to her constant mean girl syndrome. As she walks, it looks as if she is on a balance beam, she moves very slowly and wobbly. Ethel is not yet to that point, but I know that is what will come next if this isn't figured out. Neither of them are egg-bound. Again, NO other hen shows any signs of illness. But, I swear, these two have the SAME thing, they are just in different stages of it.

    Possibly related?? I have another hen (a black australorp, Ursula) who is nearly completely bald from being pecked at and eating her own feathers. Vet diagnosed her with self-mutilation after a trip to the vet for a staff infection. She's healed from that, but now her eggs have gone from light brown to almost white, and she still is picking at herself. Covering her with a black cohesive bandage was all that I could do to protect her from herself, but it was causing her feathers to come in ingrown, so I stopped using them. I now coat her in pinetar, which helps keep her from picking at her skin, but she still picks at other areas like her legs and my bully hen will pick at her neck.

    Simple lay out of symptoms of Ethel and Agatha:
    Behavior, over sleepy, depressed and lethargic (will fall asleep when standing, then startle awake and lay down)
    Change in voice, vocal strength is weaker
    Droppings, green (sometimes bright green) and watery
    Eggs, reduced production
    Eyes, change in pupil size (enlarged)
    Eyes, closed or partially closed
    Head tucked into neck or drooping
    Incoordination, stumbling, falling
    Pale comb / with drooping
    Comb has black spots, but it has not been cold enough for frost bite
    Reduced feed consumption
    Weakness, almost always laying down
    Weight loss (Agatha is frighteningly thin, when tube feeding her, her crop is very slow to empty)
    Scales on legs are darkening/blackening
    Slow moving
    Walking appears to be painful (NO bumble foot)
    Agatha has a cracked beak
    Cold to the touch
    Agatha has an awkward gait, sometimes will stand up like a penguin using her tailbone to support her rather than her legs.
    Both of their legs are darkening, even black on some parts
    Agatha no longer lifts her tail more than parallel to the ground. It is almost always down.

    Any wisdom out there?! I'm up in the middle of the night searching and searching for answers. The only thing I've found that closely gives me an answer is redmites, but I have never seen one on the coop, or on them. My vet has basically said it likely is just a virus, and even suggested that I have them put Agatha down in order to do a necropsy to possibly know what is wrong with Ethel to maybe possibly be able to treat her. I don't want to kill one of my girls. They are my friends, not my food. [​IMG]
     
  2. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Overrun With Chickens

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    I am so sorry that you and your birds are going through this. :hugs

    I had a three year old production red, Yolka, show similar symptoms that your hens are showing. She started off being very lethargic, she often times sat down in the run with her eyes closed. Her comb soon got droopy and began to turn purple. She went from being my best egg layer to laying very few, and soon absolutely no eggs. When she walked, she walked very slow. Her symptoms lasted a good few months before getting progressively worse. She no longer had the strength or balance to sleep on the roost, so she would sleep in the nests at night.
    She lost so much weight and right before she passed she was just skin and bones. She had yellow poop, and died in a fit of seizures one morning. I was there to comfort her in her last hour, but I was saddened that I couldn't cure her.
    I never sent in for a necropsy, but my assumption was that she had ovarian cancer. Which is pretty common for production breeds.

    My other production red, Sunny, struggled with crop problems. She continuely threw up brown liquid. I would treat her but it always came back. She showed lethargic behavior as well, and was ultimately taken by fly strike.


    I'm sorry I can't be of more help to you. I hope that perhaps sharing my experiences make you feel a little less alone. Hopefully somebody can shed some light on this issue for you.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. AsherSkyline

    AsherSkyline Out Of The Brooder

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    I forgot to mention that they are both the same age, and bought at the same time and place. They will be turning one in a month or two, so both very young.
     
  4. nightowl223

    nightowl223 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The green droppings sounds like potentially a serious infection of the digestive tract, which may or may not have been caused by the previous antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off the good bacteria that live in all of our guts, any critter's guts, and help us digest stuff to get all the nutrients. Sometimes after an antibiotic treatment, the killing off of good bacteria allows bad bacteria to take over. I fear it may be too far along to help them, but I would definitely try some plain yogurt with live cultures as soon as possible.
     
  5. AsherSkyline

    AsherSkyline Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! I considered that, however the green droppings were present prior to their trip to the vet. It's green, with white and very watery. After the full round of antibiotics, the appearance of the droppings didn't change at all. The droppings of the rest of the flock are normal. I've been giving the entire flock probiotics in their daily water. Thoughts?
     
  6. nightowl223

    nightowl223 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's helpful, the fact that their poo was an unhealthy color prior to the antibiotics. Perhaps you mentioned that before, and I missed it. I'd push plain yogurt with the sick girls. Sometimes the packaged probiotics aren't as robust as the ones in yogurt. If you're not using electrolytes, too, I'd add that, as well as some raw honey and ACV (apple cider vinegar with the "mother" in it, the unfiltered, unpasteurized type) in the sick girls' water.


    Edited to add:
    Any specific antibiotic may not always clear up everything, because there's so many different types of germs that can be involved. Maybe ask the vet for a different type of antibiotic, one that works on the "opposite" type of germs, gram-negative vs gram-positive, etc. Sorry I didn't check back with the thread earlier. Been soooo busy starting garden plants and sorting through seeds that we give away at different events, and all the other real-life stuff that happens. *sigh* Wishing you the best of luck with these girls. I know what it's like to struggle to heal sick or injured featherbabies. You get so very emotionally invested in them. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  7. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Overrun With Chickens

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    My hen was very sick for a while (different symptoms), but her poop was green and lose and smelled AWFUL. I was told by a very informative poster that green poop could result from the bird not eating enough.
    My hen survived and got more stable, but the green feces continued for a little while after.


    It's unlikely it's an infection causing the abnormal droppings since they were treated for that.

    I wish I could help more. We've all been there, sick chickens are not fun. :hugs
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

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    Could it be that these hens are suffering from poisoning? Those symptoms sure are suspicious of poisoning. Could it be all of the medications for so many different conditions have resulted in a toxicity that is now making them ill, including whatever you've dusted them and their quarters with?
     
  9. AsherSkyline

    AsherSkyline Out Of The Brooder

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    [quote name="nightowl223" url="/t/1086589/two-hens-same-sypmptoms-vet-clueless-please-please-help/0_100#post_
    Any specific antibiotic may not always clear up everything, because there's so many different types of germs that can be involved. Maybe ask the vet for a different type of antibiotic, one that works on the "opposite" type of germs, gram-negative vs gram-positive, etc. Sorry I didn't check back with the thread earlier. Been soooo busy starting garden plants and sorting through seeds that we give away at different events, and all the other real-life stuff that happens. *sigh* Wishing you the best of luck with these girls. I know what it's like to struggle to heal sick or injured featherbabies. You get so very emotionally invested in them. :hugs
    [/quote]

    Thank you so much. I'll pick up some yogurt tomorrow and ask my vet ASAP about any different antibiotic. Ethel (the red) passed away this afternoon. I found her on the floor of the coop having a seizure. I wrapped her in a blanket for warmth and she fell asleep for a while, but after gasping and seizing, she died within about 20 minutes. I expected Agatha to go first... I'm so devastated. I'm taking her to the vet in the am for a necropsy. Will update
     
  10. nightowl223

    nightowl223 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sending my sympathies for your loss. [​IMG] Hopefully the vet will be able to give you an answer. If you haven't already, you might bring the other one inside, away from any of the other ones, and keep her in a dog kennel or large cardboard box where you can watch her, keep her warm, and offer treats to get calories in her as often as possible.
     

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