Update on ascites (?) Peritonitis (?) LL (?) chicken from a month ago...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by seamouse, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. seamouse

    seamouse In the Brooder

    May 23, 2009
    I posted about the dorking hen described below on 12/20 or so. This hen is still hanging in there, so I wanted to update and take further input if there's any. The original symptoms as described in my numbered post below remain the same. My original guess was that the abdominal swelling in the bird was either ascites from an unknown cause (LL maybe) or, prior to that, I'd wondered about egg peritonitis. The swelling has definitely increased, she is also unsteadier on her feet and less active. The swelling feels pretty hard to me, not hard like a shelled egg, hard like a not very ripe orange. When she stands, it looks like the swelling starts up around her vent, but I can feel that most of it is low, on the sides, between her legs. Vent looks good.

    She's in the house now. She was in for awhile after my first post, but was perky enough to go outside for a few days. When I noticed her losing fluid from her crop, I brought her back in for a few days. When I returned her outside again, she pretty much stood in the same spot all day, isolated, so I brought her in before she got picked on and that's where she's been for the past couple weeks.

    She eats some, mostly only if I feed her by hand or call her attention to her food at the right time. Her "preferences" are applesauce and cheese. Go figure. She ate yogurt well for a long awhile, but not for the past couple days. She will peck a very occasional sunnie off the floor. Tonight, she gobbled about a teaspoon of cooked peas. Her poo is, and has been, green with quite yellow uriates. She doesn't do very much of it, but she's probably not eating more than a couple total spoonfuls of food a day now. She had developed what I think was a fungal crop infection which appears to have been successfully treated.

    Her willingness to drink has declined more than her willingness to eat. And she eats funny. Her beak clangs around like she's wearing ill-fitting false teeth or something. It appears eating very much at once triggers some pain because she will suddenly stop, her head will suddenly "spasm" forward, then arch backwards, then she holds everything in a frozen upright position and refuses any more food. She also moves her head around to odd positions looking at her food and although I can't see any changes in her eyes, I've begun to wonder if her sight is going. She has developed a couple dark dots in the orange of her left eye, at about the 3 o'clock spot. Any chicken iridologists reading this post? :)

    For the past several days, she has become much less active. She responds well to warm baths, presumably because she gets some relief for her abdomen. She will lay "unsupervised" in a tub of warm water for about 30 minutes. She is still trying to respond to many of her instincts. When i blow dry her after a bath, she "preens with me." (Lordy, lordy, when did I become a chicken?) Her "hospital cage" is situated on a blocked in doorway entry with a full glass door. She has access to a cage with straw and a small floor space. Although she mostly stands in her cage these days, when the sun begins to set, she will often exit the cage and get on top of it with the waning light. I have no idea how she does that. I've never seen it. Just heard the clanking around of it. She cannot get down by herself.

    Most of the post below is still accurate. However, I have now treated with Butenefine hydrochloride via lotimin (my understanding is that's the fungicide that impacts the candidas family) and doxycycline via Bird Biotic. I have not wormed. Am treating with nothing but TLC now. She doesn't act horribly miserable, although I believe the increasing standing still is probably about her uncomfortable abdomen. Her comb has declined in appearance. Absolutely no other symptoms.

    My questions: Could a bird live this long-- more than a month-- with egg peritonitis? I am not likely to consult a vet, but I just may do my first necropsy because this is my third bird with these symptoms over the past year. I am thinking that even as a novice, I could probably identify egg peritonitis and maybe even some organ issues. Our nearest necropsy service is a few hundred miles away. Thanks for reading this far. Any comments appreciated. -Rochelle


    12/20 Original Posted by seamouse [​IMG]

    I'm probably not going to be able to determine what's going on with this hen, but thought I'd toss the description out here for comment anyway. -Rochelle

    1) 3 and 3/4 year old dorking hen, skinny breast was hidden under those great dorking feathers; lower abdomen swollen

    2) sluggish, tail down, shrivelled comb looked very dirty/dark, looks a bit better after being isolated in the house for two days; no injuries, no discharges, no wheezing, sneezing, or oozing. Sometimes appears to have medium-ish labored breathing; is "squat walking," which is what caught my attention, walking low to ground rather sluggishly and with some impaired balance

    3) noticed the symptoms two days ago

    4) No other hens exhibiting these symptoms, but i lost a barred rock this summer with similar symptoms. thought it was egg binding but it was probably some other abdominal blockage; gradual decline over several weeks until death; no necropy. also had a sudden hen death about four days ago (see #6)

    5) No bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    6) I am aware of nothing that may have caused the situation; however, another dorking of the same age died suddenly four days ago. Found her sitting listlessly on edge of nestbox. When she let me pick her up, I knew something was wrong. Could find / see NOTHING-- no discharges, injuries, etc. Only thing noticeable was when I carried her into the house, she tried to squawk once and rattled in her throat. She absolutely refused to eat or drink that night though I did manage to annoy her enough to get a good look at her mouth which was healthy and clear looking. No discharge. No wheezing. Her crop was very empty. Her breast was skinny. In the morning she was dead in the "hospital cage." There was a greenish yellow fluid discharge where her head was laying after she died. no necropy.

    7) Bird in question is in the house in cage and has been eating fairly normally, though probably a bit less than would be normal. Ate yogurt yesterday very enthusiastically-- even during her bath and being dried off with hair dryer. She's eating commercial layer crumbles, a little scratch, a few sunnies. I added chicken vits-electrolytes to her feed, as well a bit of olive oil and vitamin e oil..

    8) Poop is very small, urates are obvious, occassional mini-rocket blasts of quite liquid poo with mostly urates.

    9) At first I was concerned about egg binding so brought her in, have given her two warm soaks and abdominal massages, checked vent and feel nothing. I've just let her be warm and still and added a bit of nutritional bounce to her food as per #7.

    10 ) I will not be taking her to a vet. I am just wondering if it sounds like some kind of abdominal or reproductive or digestive obstruction rather than egg binding-- tumors, cancer, etc. At first, I did think I felt something hard like the side of an egg from an external examination, but in re-examining her abdomen today, it just feels quite tight but squishy, so I'm wondering about ascites from some source. I'm also wondering if I'm just going to watch another hen decline and die. I know ascites is aspirated, but I also know it mostly just recurs. And although I see no symptoms in any other chickens (flock of about 20), I'm feeling a bit discouraged that some underlying viral tumor or something is at play in my flock. Arg. Any thoughts are welcome.
  2. PetRock

    PetRock Crowing

    Apr 28, 2010
    SF Bay Area, CA
    How is your hen doing? I have a similar thing going on here. I have a 9 month old pullet who has been penguin walking for over 5 weeks now. I first suspected egg bound or peritonitis so I did all the bathing, massage, separate quarters thing for 4 days with no improvement. She did lay an egg in her dog kennel almost every day. I finally let her out to join the flock. That has been almost 5 weeks ago and she is eating well, drinking, pooping, laying double yolked eggs 2 or 3 times/week, and her comb/wattles are bright red. But she is still walking like a penguin and lays down to eat. Another one of my 2 yr. old hens came down this week with what I am suspecting is a fungal infection with vent gleet and sour crop. I am wondering if this is part of the problem with my penguin bird.

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