Update - any ideas on what she died from? See post #4 for info

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PtldChick, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a pullet die tonight from what I believe is gapeworm. I'm going to try to necropsy her trachea in the morning to verify. My queston is this...I noticed today she was exhibiting the constant gaping that seems to be typical and brought her into the house in a crate. No other symptoms of a respiratory illness. In researching here I came across two videos where the birds were doing the same thing, and like Goldie, died later that day. Two days earlier she was fine, in fact she was tearing into a block of spent grain I set out like there was no tomorrow - I guess for her there wasn't. [​IMG]

    So, if by the time the symptoms come on, the bird is pretty much a goner, and they don't seem to be sick until then, how does one even treat for gape before it's too late? Is it a matter of preventative worming on a regular schedule? Should I have noticed her gaping every once in a while earlier on? Was there something I missed where if I saw it earlier I could have saved her?

    Dawg, I have about 20 pullets and 3 ducks, plus some banties. What do you recommend as the easiest and most effective way to worm them? Not too many of my girls are laying yet, so at least I won't miss the eggs.

    Also, if there are already eggs on the ground in the run, will the chickens just get gape again after they're done being wormed? Is there ay way to kill those eggs? Oxine? Vikran?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Sometimes chickens gape to work feed around in their crop, making adjustments so to speak or have something stuck in their esophagus trying to swallow it. Some respiratory diseases cause gaping, mucous stuck in the throat or ILT for examples, trying to dislodge the mucous or blood. Gapeworm clogs the trachea and they gasp for air to breathe. Their priority is to breathe air, no eating or drinking... like a human choking on a stuck piece of food in our windpipe, breathing is our priority or we choke to death from the lack of oxygen.
    Whether you do a necropsy on your bird, is up to you and not a bad idea and will definitely give you an answer.
    To help keep parasites at bay in your pen or run, you can add sand to it or lime it. Sand helps keep it dry and that's the key. It will help deter external and internal parasites but not eradicate them. I've never used lime in the soil and it's best to type "lime" in the BYC search box and read up on it.
    If you wish to start a worming program, that's up to you also. How often you worm depends on your environment, especially your soil. Where I live our soil is warm and moist most of the year, condusive for worms and I worm once every 3 months. In cold environments, where the soil is cold half the time, it is not condusive for worms and may only require worming maybe every 10 months to a year. Valbazen (albendazole) and safeguard (fenbendazole) are preferred wormers to treat for worms, zimectrin gold can be used as well. Some ivomec products have been losing their effectiveness against worms in chickens. I dont use it anymore. It is still effective against mites though. I dont know anything about ducks, cant help you there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  3. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Dawg,

    It will be hard to keep their ranging area dry as I'm in the PacNW and it rains a lot in the fall/winter/spring. The ground may get cold enough in the winter to keep some at bay, but we rarely get snow. I plan to put down large bark nuggets now that I've seen what the rain can do to the wood chips and shavings I was using in the summer. At least the poo can wash down through the nuggets and the surface will be a bit drier.

    I'm pretty sure it was gape because of the constant gaping with a gasping sound, she didn't eat or drink, and she looked like she seized when she died (which would make sense of a being choking to death, they don't just lie there quietly).

    I'm going to the feed store today to pick up the Valbazen or safeguard.

    Thanks for replying.

    Leanne
     
  4. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did my version of a necropsy by cutting the pullet's neck open, finding the trachea, cutting off a piece (from crop to throat) and cutting it open. No red worms were in there, and it appeared quite clear. She also still had some food (mostly liquefied) and oystershell in her crop and some appeared to have been moved up into her mouth, probably during her death-thrashing. Her mouth was clear when I brought her in the house, no mucus or cheesy pox/canker.

    Now I am stumped - was it gapeworm? Are the worms usually further down the trachea? Is there something else that would cause that kind of gaping with gasping and a quick, seizing death? It definitely looked like she flopped around in the crate right before she died.

    No one else is showing any symptoms so far, thank goodness, but I am worried about them.

    Synopsis:

    5.5 month Golden Lakenvelder female, laying for several weeks
    Saturday - fine and healthy, eating well
    Sunday - Did not notice anything wrong, but was gone most of the day
    Monday - noticed her constant gaping/gasping and brought her into the house in a crate. She did not run from me like she normally would do. Did not feel any bound egg, nor was her vent inflamed. No sneezing, coughing, discharge or funny smell. Mouth/throat appear clear. She was not interested in food or water. Gave her a couple drops of Poly-Vi-Sol. Occasionally her gape/gasp would be more active/violent, like she was having extra trouble breathing.
    Tuesday early AM - went to check on her again before I went to bed and found her deceased. There were some wood shavings on the floor, in her water and she was laying in an unnatural position...on her side with her head bent down toward her chest from being up tight against the crate wall. Did not look at all like a 'sleepy death' scenario. Some of the tips of her comb are black.

    My original thought on Monday was some kind of fungal infection, but after I read more on the forum and saw a couple videos of hens doing the exact same thing and it being gapeworm, that seemed like it fit.

    Any thoughts anyone?
     
  5. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any ideas?
     
  6. chickyboomboom

    chickyboomboom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girl is panting a lot too... Vet is stumped.. I think it might be lymphoid leukosis. Hen is still alive on antibiotics but no improvement after 5 days. Must drive you crazy not to know! Sorry for your loss!
     

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