Unknown disease - Missionary in Africa needs help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Colonel, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Colonel

    Colonel Chirping

    Mar 19, 2007
    I am vice president of a non-profit corp. that provides financial and logistical support for missionaries in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Today, I received the following from Laura Holt and am hoping folks here can offer some guidance. They have quite a bit of experience raising chickens in America, but being in Africa changes the whole game. This is one of several chicken problems they need help with, but I am splitting it up so that it goes to the appropriate forum section. The complete letter and a couple of photos are posted here - http://www.southernagrarian.com/chickens-in-africa/

    Problem Three: I have lost some hens to a strange illness. None of my books give me what I need to diagnose clearly. What happens is the birds develop a difficulty walking; their legs go stiff so that when they do walk they have to swing the legs out to the side. They look more like they are rowing than walking. Then they collapse and the wings go droopy. The head is alert and they are clearly in distress attempting to get back up on their legs. At the point of collapse the legs are straight out the back and extremely stiff. When I pick them up I can feel that they are having what I would call tremors especially in the shoulder area; sometimes these are fairly violent. Sometimes it is accompanied by raspy breathing, even gurgling. I have found that antibiotic given orally in a high dose (by force with a syringe) will generally keep them from dying. I don’t know if the illness itself is bacterial or if the antibiotics are merely treating secondary infection. Sometimes they appear to be improving and within an hour or so can be dead. I have an infirmary where I remove them to just in case it is contagious. The onset is rapid and death comes quickly if I don’t get it in time with antibiotic. Help!!

    I have broad spectrum antibiotic which goes into the general water supply. I try to use it sparingly only as a treatment but it can be given at a lower dose for prevention. I have had a terrible time with cholera but thankfully not Newcastle. “Chickening” here is certainly different. I am weary of losing my beautiful birds.


  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Free Ranging 7 Years

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
  3. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

    Oct 3, 2011
    My Coop
  4. tellynpeep

    tellynpeep Songster

    Oct 4, 2008
    SW New Hampshire
    I see you are in Florida. I would get in touch with the Florida Agricultural Extension Service http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/agriculture/livestock/poultry.html

    and ask them your questions. They should have access to a poultry veterinarian who is trained in tropical diseases (there are a whole host of diseases we don't see in this country. While Marek's and Newcastle Disease http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/birdbiosecurity/end/ are high on my list, I'm sure there are lots of other potentially devastating diseases over there.)

    Good luck sorting this out.

  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  6. Colonel

    Colonel Chirping

    Mar 19, 2007
    I hadn't even thought of getting with the Ag Center - even though I was just there a couple days ago about a garden problem. Looks like that will be my next stop, but a big "Thank You" for all the replies.

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