Unknown Respiratory Infection - aftermath questions

dmvelez

Songster
6 Years
Oct 15, 2014
30
32
100
Des Moines, IA
Our flock contracted a respiratory illness. They all got sick, to varying degrees ranging from yellow snot flying everywhere and barely able to breath with TONS of rattling in the chest, to just a few sneezes and some lethargy. I suspect the two who showed the mildest symptoms had perhaps been vaccinated by the breeder. I’ve researched a LOT about the possible type of infection, but no veterinary tests were run. We treated them ourselves with antibiotics to guard against secondary infections and they all recovered, thankfully no one died. However, I have questions I can't find the answers to. This site said the same thing all the others did, it’s the most recent (thanks for the link BYC!) so I’m citing it here:

https://www.farmhealthonline.com/disease-management/poultry-diseases/infectious-bronchitis/

Info from the website is in BOLD, my questions are after that. Any answers you may have based on experience is greatly appreciated!!

Recovered birds are immune, but are carriers of the disease. – What exactly does this mean? If in the future I acquire more chickens and house them with my existing flock, does this mean the new chickens will become infected and get sick?

In adult birds, feed consumption and egg production tend to decrease sharply. The disease may damage the reproductive tract and cause a reduction in egg production, with misshapen, ridged and thin soft eggs of poor internal quality. – It’s been 5 weeks since the first sign of illness. Any idea when we will start seeing eggs? Their ages range from 16 months (previously laying for 8 months or so) to 5 months (the baby), seven hens and one accidental rooster. Several of the hens are 6 to 7 months old now and hadn’t started laying yet when the infection hit.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
39,583
56,527
1,342
Southern N.C. Mountains
Our flock contracted a respiratory illness. They all got sick, to varying degrees ranging from yellow snot flying everywhere and barely able to breath with TONS of rattling in the chest, to just a few sneezes and some lethargy. I suspect the two who showed the mildest symptoms had perhaps been vaccinated by the breeder. I’ve researched a LOT about the possible type of infection, but no veterinary tests were run. We treated them ourselves with antibiotics to guard against secondary infections and they all recovered, thankfully no one died. However, I have questions I can't find the answers to. This site said the same thing all the others did, it’s the most recent (thanks for the link BYC!) so I’m citing it here:

https://www.farmhealthonline.com/disease-management/poultry-diseases/infectious-bronchitis/

Info from the website is in BOLD, my questions are after that. Any answers you may have based on experience is greatly appreciated!!

Recovered birds are immune, but are carriers of the disease. – What exactly does this mean? If in the future I acquire more chickens and house them with my existing flock, does this mean the new chickens will become infected and get sick?

In adult birds, feed consumption and egg production tend to decrease sharply. The disease may damage the reproductive tract and cause a reduction in egg production, with misshapen, ridged and thin soft eggs of poor internal quality. – It’s been 5 weeks since the first sign of illness. Any idea when we will start seeing eggs? Their ages range from 16 months (previously laying for 8 months or so) to 5 months (the baby), seven hens and one accidental rooster. Several of the hens are 6 to 7 months old now and hadn’t started laying yet when the infection hit.
Good questions.
Is this the only information that you read about Infectious Bronchitis? Unless your breeder was aware of IB in their flock or they have a very large operation, I would doubt they gave any types of vaccinations.
There are many respiratory diseases, so without testing, it would be hard to know which respiratory disease you were dealing with.
As for what you are reading - that is specifically about Infectious Bronchitis - but I will have to disagree about the immunity part - I do not believe there is such a thing as immunity - resistance yes. Recovered birds are immune, but are carriers of the disease. Infectious Bronchitis makes birds carriers for up to a year - that would be recovered birds and those that are exposed.
With other diseases - birds are carrier for life (those that recover and those that are exposed). Yes. It does mean that if you get more chickens, they would be considered carriers and can become ill.

Infectious Bronchitis is a virus, it does not respond to antibiotic treatment. They may have had a secondary infection or even a secondary respiratory disease that did respond.

In adult birds, feed consumption and egg production tend to decrease sharply. The disease may damage the reproductive tract and cause a reduction in egg production, with misshapen, ridged and thin soft eggs of poor internal quality.
There is no way to know when they will resume laying eggs. Birds that have been ill may go through a molt - as the article reads, the disease may damage the reproductive tract - very likely, IB is a common cause of an inflammatory disease called Salpingitis.
Again...a lot depends on what you are dealing with, the stress levels, how the disease has impacted their health, etc. You will just have to wait and see how it goes.

You may want to do some reading on Mycoplasma, ILT and Infectious Coryza as well. These are a few other very common respiratory diseases that chickens can get. These 3 make birds carriers for life. They do affect egg production as well and possibly future overall health. Birds can relapse during times of stress. Mycoplasma is also transmitted into the embryo of hatching eggs.

If you have any more that become ill, it's best to get some testing to know what you are dealing with. Keeping a closed flock would be the way to go - no selling/giving away hatching eggs, chicks, no showing, etc. Any birds you might bring in, be prepared that they may become sick.
 

dmvelez

Songster
6 Years
Oct 15, 2014
30
32
100
Des Moines, IA
Wyorp Rock - Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my post!!

I have done so much reading on the possible culprits I can't even remember them all. Google reminds me that I already read pages and when. LOL It seems like I've gone round and round and read about the same things over and over.

After further research and carefully comparing descriptions of symptoms, I believe we can rule out ILT because we had NO "Bloodtinged exudates" of any sort. Infectious Coryza and Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) seem to be the most likely culprits, because from what I've read they respond to Tylosin or "new-generation antibiotics (eg, fluoroquinolones, macrolides)" of which Tylosin is a 'macrolide.'

We used Tylan200 because that's all that was in stock at the farm store. We adjusted the dose down to fit the size of the animal considering they aren't pigs or cows.

I'm no vet, heck, I'm just a mom raised in the city with a backyard suburban flock. But I can read, and observe, and I took videos and pics. Will try to figure out how to upload a video. This poor girl, an 'Easter Egger', already has puffy cheeks from the feathers so I couldn't even tell how bad she was until her eye swelled shut. Swelling went down and eye opened the 2nd day after a shot of Tylan200.
Freckles Eye.jpg
After closer examination of the video of the first girl to show symptoms (yellow snot flying, severe rails and 'honking' while trying to breathe) I notice now that she ALSO had swelling in her face. I just didn't notice because of how horribly sick she SOUNDED.
Gretchen.jpg
If I can get a video uploaded to this thread with my cell phone I will.

Thanks!
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
39,583
56,527
1,342
Southern N.C. Mountains
Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) seem to be the most likely culprits, because from what I've read they respond to Tylosin or "new-generation antibiotics (eg, fluoroquinolones, macrolides)" of which Tylosin is a 'macrolide.'
If you suspected that it's Mycoplasma or Infectious Coryza, then those will make birds carriers for life.
Mycoplasma is usually the most responsive to Tylosin (Tylan) so they may be what you are dealing with. Especially since the eye swelling went down after the 2nd day of treatment. Still hard to know without testing.
Infectious Coryza reported has a rotten odor and usually the facial swelling and eye pus would be quite severe - you would also have likely have had to push chunks of pus out of the eye - it can respond to Tylan, but Sulfa antibiotics are more suitable (sometimes along with Tylan) to treat Coryza.

Did you know that you can give Tylan50 or 200 orally? That's something you may want to keep in mind if you should ever have to treat again. That's a lot of needle sticks over the course of 5 days that you can avoid, since Tylan injectable is to be given at least 3 times a day.

Oh, for sure, there's so much information, it can be a nightmare digging through all that and of course, there's conflicting information too. Some material is old or geared for commercial operations too. None of these diseases are "new" - I've found references to MG, Coryza, etc in old poultry books published in the late 1800's or early 1900's.
 

dmvelez

Songster
6 Years
Oct 15, 2014
30
32
100
Des Moines, IA
If you suspected that it's Mycoplasma or Infectious Coryza, then those will make birds carriers for life.
Mycoplasma is usually the most responsive to Tylosin (Tylan) so they may be what you are dealing with. Especially since the eye swelling went down after the 2nd day of treatment. Still hard to know without testing.
Infectious Coryza reported has a rotten odor and usually the facial swelling and eye pus would be quite severe - you would also have likely have had to push chunks of pus out of the eye - it can respond to Tylan, but Sulfa antibiotics are more suitable (sometimes along with Tylan) to treat Coryza.

Did you know that you can give Tylan50 or 200 orally? That's something you may want to keep in mind if you should ever have to treat again. That's a lot of needle sticks over the course of 5 days that you can avoid, since Tylan injectable is to be given at least 3 times a day.

Oh, for sure, there's so much information, it can be a nightmare digging through all that and of course, there's conflicting information too. Some material is old or geared for commercial operations too. None of these diseases are "new" - I've found references to MG, Coryza, etc in old poultry books published in the late 1800's or early 1900's.

Wow. I had no idea. We've had our backyard flock with no illness for 5 years and then a bad choice of bringing in new birds without quarantine first (we got away with it several times before so we didn't even bother) got us this. Definitely learned a lesson!

There was no odor and certainly no chunks. Thank goodness! So, I guess MG is probably it without tests to know for sure. Do you know if a blood test now that they are 'recovered' would provide results?

Also, we looked and looked and could find no information of how many doses of Tylan to give/how often. Just how many mg per lb. of bird and then 'winged' it. They each got a dose with a follow-up 2 days later, then the EE with the swollen eye got a third dose when we saw her eye was swelled shut. That's it. Do you think it could have been MG if we kicked it with that (what sounds like) incredibly lacking dosing?

We were aware of the option to put it in their drinking water, but several of them were so sick, especially the first one to show the symptoms (the 5 month old Light Brahma hen) that we wanted to get antibiotics in them as fast as possible because it really sounded like they were dying. We didn't even know what we were fighting, if the antibiotics would even help, we just figured it couldn't really hurt and we had to do something.

Finally, since it sounds like you are aware of specific dosing instructions would you be able to point me to where I can find them? Or tell me what it is here? I could NOT find it, just had to fly blind.

Thanks again SO MUCH for your help and advice!!!
 

dmvelez

Songster
6 Years
Oct 15, 2014
30
32
100
Des Moines, IA
O.K. duh, you said "That's a lot of needle sticks over the course of 5 days that you can avoid, since Tylan injectable is to be given at least 3 times a day." So the dose of xxmg per lb. of bird (sorry I forget right now what it was) is to be given 3 times a day for 5 days?
:barnie That IS a lot of needle sticks! I only stuck each bird 2 or 3 times.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 20, 2015
39,583
56,527
1,342
Southern N.C. Mountains
There was no odor and certainly no chunks. Thank goodness! So, I guess MG is probably it without tests to know for sure. Do you know if a blood test now that they are 'recovered' would provide results?

Just how many mg per lb. of bird and then 'winged' it. They each got a dose with a follow-up 2 days later, then the EE with the swollen eye got a third dose when we saw her eye was swelled shut. That's it. Do you think it could have been MG if we kicked it with that (what sounds like) incredibly lacking dosing?

We were aware of the option to put it in their drinking water, but several of them were so sick, especially the first one to show the symptoms (the 5 month old Light Brahma hen) that we wanted to get antibiotics in them as fast as possible because it really sounded like they were dying. We didn't even know what we were fighting, if the antibiotics would even help, we just figured it couldn't really hurt and we had to do something.

Finally, since it sounds like you are aware of specific dosing instructions would you be able to point me to where I can find them? Or tell me what it is here? I could NOT find it, just had to fly blind.

O.K. duh, you said "That's a lot of needle sticks over the course of 5 days that you can avoid, since Tylan injectable is to be given at least 3 times a day." So the dose of xxmg per lb. of bird (sorry I forget right now what it was) is to be given 3 times a day for 5 days?
:barnie That IS a lot of needle sticks! I only stuck each bird 2 or 3 times.

Do you remember the dosage you were giving?
You have Tylan200 which is 4 times as strong as Tylan50. Not sure where you found your dosing, so you may have actually given them enough, especially if you found Tylan50 dosing.

The dosing information I have is from Plumb's Vet Drug Manual - the dosage for Tylan is 10-40mg/kg given 3 times a day for 5 days.

Injectable Tylan can be given orally.
IF I had a choice, I would use the injectable Tylan instead of water soluble (powdered) just as you mentioned - if birds are sick, then likely they may not drink enough medicated water.

You should be able to get some testing to find out if they have Mycoplasma. Your state lab may be able to do it or you can use and independent lab like ZooLogix. From what I understand Zoologix is around $95 for testing. Some state labs are very reasonable and may be much much less than that - others, well...they have nerve. LOL
 

dmvelez

Songster
6 Years
Oct 15, 2014
30
32
100
Des Moines, IA
Do you remember the dosage you were giving?
You have Tylan200 which is 4 times as strong as Tylan50. Not sure where you found your dosing, so you may have actually given them enough, especially if you found Tylan50 dosing.

The dosing information I have is from Plumb's Vet Drug Manual - the dosage for Tylan is 10-40mg/kg given 3 times a day for 5 days.

Injectable Tylan can be given orally.
IF I had a choice, I would use the injectable Tylan instead of water soluble (powdered) just as you mentioned - if birds are sick, then likely they may not drink enough medicated water.

You should be able to get some testing to find out if they have Mycoplasma. Your state lab may be able to do it or you can use and independent lab like ZooLogix. From what I understand Zoologix is around $95 for testing. Some state labs are very reasonable and may be much much less than that - others, well...they have nerve. LOL

Yes, each bird got only 1/2 ml of Tylan200 which, if we understood it correctly, was 50mg of the drug. Somewhere, out on the big wide web, we found that dosage as appropriate for chickens. We watched YouTube videos to learn how/where to inject them and like I said before, gave each bird roughly 50 mg (the roo got maybe 65 cause he's a bigger bird) of Tylosin and then a 2nd 50 mg 2 days later with the one bird getting a 3rd dose to combat the swollen sinuses/eye.

I don't think the really sick ones drank at all until a day after their first dose of Tylosin, so the water version wouldn't have helped I don't think. All in all, I'm glad we chose to stick them, I was nervous about it but they all recovered well and seem happy and healthy now. No thanks to my bad choice of bringing in the adorable sickie without quarantine first.

Thanks for the info on testing. I will try to find out how to get it done, I'm thinking Iowa State University would be the one, they have a vet clinic.

Much gratitude to you for your guidance!! You have been a wonderful resource, I hope others find this thread and can benefit from it as well.
 

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