Updated info: Inflammed cecum/gizzard - why? Warning: necropsy pics

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by burntumber, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. burntumber

    burntumber Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my most lovely hens died today. [​IMG] These Silkies are so fuzzy- I had no idea she was absolutely emaciated and dehydrated until I picked her up. Keel bone protuding and complete muscle loss.

    Being a Pre-vet student, I was curious about her cause of death, as the other chickens are fine. When I opened her up, the first thing I noticed (barring a total lack of fat- not even a trace) was a huge gizzard that seemed to fill up her abdominal cavity. When I moved it, the next thing I noticed were enormous cecum, with one being blackish. I didn't notice any lesions, so I'm not thinking it's New Castle's. When I opened up her gizzard it was cram packed full of what looked like tiny fragments of shavings. It was quite dry, too. It's pretty clear she died of starvation and dehydration- but any ideas as to why? Our chickens have a constant supply of grain, oyster shells, and water. And often table scraps like veggies and cooked foods. Our coop isn't overcrowded and there's no evidence that she was being bullied or picked on.

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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Sorry about your girl. Sounds like malabsorption, but why? A more thorough necroscopy might reveal the cause (path lab ?).

    You might want to take a look at member dlhunicorn's site as she may have seen this specific condition before:

    http://dlhunicorn.conforums.com/index.cgi

    Did you pick up the rest of the hens to check the wt.s?
     
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    I have several links with photos which may help you identify (including a link to the poultry necropsy collection of photos from cornell) ... (Here is article describing normal findings which may help you:
    http://poultryscience.uark.edu/pdfs/Avian_AdviceWi2005.pdf
    I have a section especially on physiology and necropsy (there are several helpful links (necropsy photos) at my library (click on link in my sig) >you will have to look in the anatomy/physiology and pathology section and you will need to be registered and log in or those sections won't come up.
    Might be an impacted gizzard... might also have been in combination with something else such as an internal layer etc. or:
    http://www.vet.uga.edu/vpp/clerk/weisman/index.php
    (enlarged gizzards are often described in necropsy findings)
    often there are secondary complications which will actually be the cause of death ... did you look for a possible torsion?
    Sidenote: I dont have time to look up the other articles but this one (altho the age doesn't match the section I have copied for you below applies to all ages and might possibly be involved as a nutritional cause (I am NOT diagnosing anything > I am not a vet and really have no idea... so many possibilities and I am afraid only a proper necropsy would be able to diagnose this for you):
    http://www.articlesbase.com/medicin...ventriculitis-and-gizzard-erosion-320471.html
    (excerpt)
    "" ....Dietary Biogenic Amines (DBA).

    High levels of DBA’s like histamine, 3HT, 5HT,histidine, dopamine, gizzerosine and serotonine, can be found in dietary constituents such as tankage fish meal, corn screening, soyabean meal, vitamin premixes, fats, poultry meal, meat and bone meal. The biogenic

    amines are decarboxylation breakdown products of amino acid catabolism and these amines are considered toxic to animals. The potential for biogenic amine build-up is real in animal by product meal and is the result of breakdown of the product. Histamine is produced in the poultry feed under proper temperature and moisture conditions by microbial decarboxylation of histidine. Reduced growth, poor feathering and proventricular enlargement have been associated with histamine toxicity in chickens. Histamine toxin problem in chicken generally

    has been associated with the intake of fish meal which contain high level of histidine

    Gizzerosine is a compound found in overheated fish meal due to interaction of caesine with histidine and acts as a factor causing gizzard erosion or ulceration in chicks. It can also be formed if the temperature of fish meal increases by incorrect handling during transportation or storage particularly in hot weather. Then gizzerosine concentration of burnt fish meal

    would be low because of degradation of protein. However it is also likely that fish meal with good colour, odour, taste and physical properties may contain

    a large enough quantity of gizzerosine.

    Gizzerosine stimulates proventricular gland secretarycells to release excessive hydrochloric acid. Gizzard lesions result from the runway digestive effects of hyperacidity. Opportunistic bacteria may subsequently colonise the nutrient rich biodetrius. The cells of the glandular alveoli of the proventriculus secrete hydrochloric acids and pepsinogen (pepsin) which is a digestive enzyme required for initial digestion of proteins. Any lesion in the preventricular glands will interfere with the secretion of pepsin with subsequent impairment of

    protein digestion and utilisation. The results are poor production performance, unthriftiness and poor feed conversion. This could also explain why some of the birds affected with this condition pass undigested or poorly digested feed in faeces.

    Mycotoxins

    T2 toxin produced by fusarium is a caustic irritant. It causes necrosis of mucosa of proventriculus, gizzard and feather epithelium. Citrinin which is basically a nephrotoxin can also cause fissures in the gizzard

    Oosporein – In oosporein poisoning one may notice that the proventriculus has enlarged circumference at the isthumus and the mucosa is covered with pseudomembranous exudate (necrosis may occur at the isthumus).

    Cyclopiazonic acid (CPA) – Lesions occur in proventriculus, gizzard, liver and spleen. The

    proventriculus is dialated and the mucosa is thickened by hyperplasia and ulceration. Mucosal necrosis may occur in gizzard."
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  4. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    so, your chicken died of gizzard impaction? Is that right? What do you feed them? Any grain with husk still attach?

    Sometimes even when everything is available, you still get one semi retarded bird that refuses to take the grit......
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sorry for your loss. Sounds like you found out why she died. She died of a gizzard impaction due to shavings.

    My guess was that she just didn't get the grit thing and it did her in. One thing to watch for on silkies is their head poofs. Make sure they can actually see. If they can't... they can often miss out on food and things they need to live.
     
  6. burntumber

    burntumber Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Holy Helpful Post, Batman! [​IMG] I'm going to investigate some more the points you brought up, dlhunicorn. I've never heard of the fish meal histidine issue- wow! I love learning new stuff like this. Fascinating! Is it helpful to know we have fish (broiled) a few times a month and give the chickens the cooked skins and leftovers?

    I didn't think to look for a torsion on the exit side of the gizzard- duh! That seems so logical! I actually still have her- frozen. I may have to thaw her out and check things over more carefully- esp. look for lesions inside the digestive tract.

    The point someone made- Silkiechickens- about some chickens not being too bright or able to find food or grit is interesting, as well - that's definitely possible. Why on earth would she be consuming shavings like that? There was no food her system at all that I could see, nor oyster shells or sand in there- just shavings. How odd.

    I give free feed access to layer pellets mixed with cracked corn, btw. And table scraps pretty much daily. I give them plain yogurt and cooked oatmeal from time to time, too.

    Thanks for the condolances, everyone. I'm really bummed- she was really one of my most favorite hens- just beautiful. I'd bought her to add new blood to my brood this past fall- had her shipped in from the west coast.

    I found it notable that she had no develping egg folicles at all. But I suppose that could be due to the malnutrion.
     
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It's not so much silkies being stupid, it's often that they just can't see. I don't really keep big crested ones myself for that reason. They are walking snacks due to feathers in the way of their sight. When it's not raining, I feel bad for them as they will pick and miss because their poof obstructs their vision. There are cases of silkies starving because they couldn't see their food, and only recovering after a heavy head trimming. They really do have two personalities, the soaking wet one where they look at the world like they have never seen it before, and the cute little idiot personality when their poofs are full and they walk into things.
     
  8. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    burntumber wrote Why on earth would she be consuming shavings like that? There was no food her system at all that I could see, nor oyster shells or sand in there- just shavings. How odd.

    Similarly, birds with bowel infections are susceptible to a blocked gizzard because they are unable to absorb sufficient minerals. Cold spells are the most likely times for such birds to develop a blocked gizzard.Foreign body obstructions occur mostly in perfectly healthy birds who are inquisitive and playful.

    The most common causes of foreign body obstructions are toweling, rope fibres, toys, paper, and plastics found within the birds play environment. Foreign bodies also occur after cold spells and in birds who have behavioural problems, such as boredom or sexual frustration. These birds like to chew on wood and tear up paper. Nutritional problems may also cause birds to chew on abnormal objects

    The above, from this link (other causes listed, though not specific to vision challenged silkies. They'd be fox fricassee here): http://www.avianweb.com/blockedgizzard.html
     
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Ensure two or three feeding stations... I have often observed that one bird in the group will be picked on by the others ( every time they go to eat they are ran off)...make sure they are well distanced from each other.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  10. henlady

    henlady Out Of The Brooder

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    Could a yeaning for roughage/greens make them eat shavings? Just an idea. I thaw kale or grass that I've frozen and offer it to my flock of 9 about twice a week....and they go insane over it. They must need it. I've seen mine eat shavings on occasion. Hopefully not enough to do any damage. Thanks for sharing your ordeal. I like to learn from others' experiences.
     

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