Vitamin deficiency? And why aren't the vitamins working?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ladyrsanti, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. ladyrsanti

    ladyrsanti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 3 month old BCM pullet, the only one I've ever been able to get my hands on. When I first brought her home at 1 1/2 months old, I put her into quarantine. About a week in she developed a stubborn case of sour crop. It drained her, physically, and I thought I was going to lose her. I tried all of the tricks to get rid of it and as a last resort, when I could see she was getting weak, I pulled the monostat and gave her little bits of that for a couple of days. It worked. I did my best to boost her immunity and health with yogurt and eggs and lots of food and water. She survived the three week quarantine and then I put her out in a chicken tractor in the yard so she could see the other chickens and hopefully recuperate, put on some weight, etc. Well, a couple of weeks later she started stumbling around, seemingly off balance. At first I thought maybe she'd gotten into some moldy feed since it had been raining a lot and the feed that the chickens throw around outside ends up molding on the ground. I've lost young birds to bad feed in the past and was sure she would be dead the next day. But she was the only one affected and she did not die quickly like the others had. She stuck around. It seems degenerative and it's steadily gotten worse. So I figured vitamin deficiency and started giving her B2 and Sav-a-Chick along with the usual yogurt and egg to boost her digestive system after the yeast infection. She's 3 months old now, still not right and slowly getting worse. She prefers to walk on her hocks and sits for much of the day. This morning I noticed the toes on her right leg are staying curled. I've noticed it before but she usually straightens them out when she tries to walk. Now she is trying to walk on them while curled. When she eats, she struggles to swallow too, like the food is getting stuck in her throat and her neck seems to spasm to work the food down. I know that vitamin deficiencies are slow to correct and for a week or so she seemed to be holding steady but this downward trend is frustrating. What am I not doing (besides culling her but I'm considering it)? Is there anything else I can try?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  2. Manningjw

    Manningjw Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Make sure to keep her on quarantine and rule out viral cause of these symptoms. Is the crop now emptying properly? I don't have any ideas for you beyond what you have tried.
     
  3. ladyrsanti

    ladyrsanti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, she's still in quarantine with a "friend" for company (forgot to mention). Crop is fine, appetite is fine, drinking good, poo looks alright. I'm at wits end with this one.
     
  4. ladyrsanti

    ladyrsanti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, I'm going to eat my words a bit here. I just went out and palpated her crop and it is bloated again -_- Her last big bout of sour crop had it hanging so low I didn't need to touch it to tell it was distended. But she's gotten older and bigger so it's nearly hidden under the feathers. So yeah, persistent sour crop then. That would explain her getting worse. Thanks for the reminder.

    I was pretty sure it wasn't Marek's because she was initially quarantined with four cockerels (roughly the same age) that are still out there in the old quarantine pen and all are still fine after 7 weeks. I don't know what the incubation period is for Marek's or the timeline for the first symptoms but after 7 weeks, they're still fine (aside from being ready for slaughter).
     
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    To me, this sounds a lot like Marek's Disease. Birds will Marek's will slowly lose their ability to walk. Marek's can cause sour crop, as it can paralyze nerves and make the crop not work right Internal tumors or nerve damage could be causing the bird to have a hard time swallowing. Since she isn't responding to the vitamins and is getting worse, it is probably not a vitamin deficiency and is more likely Marek's.

    The other cockerels may not be showing symptoms because they are more resistant. Some birds in a breed or a strain may be more resistant to others. One bird may get it, or they all may get it. It all depends on varying levels of resistance. Pullets are often more susceptible because egg laying or beginning to lay puts more stress on their systems, opening the door for any disease to invade. Just because your other birds haven't begun showing any symptoms doesn't mean that they won't, or that it isn't Marek's.

    I'm sorry to say, that by this point, the odds of recovery are rather low. A bird that has a difficult time swallowing and can't move very well will usually only get worse. Marek's has no real treatment. There are some natural "remedies" (such as St. Johns Wort/Hypericum, Turmeric, and Colloidal Silver) that can "treat" the disease. However, these don't work for everyone, and are most effective if started as soon as the symptoms start.

    If she was my bird, I would probably cull. You have to decide whether her quality of life is still good enough to keep her around. Most birds with Marek's don't recover, and if they do, they may succumb later on from internal tumors.


    Best wishes to you.
     
  6. ladyrsanti

    ladyrsanti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you are right. After digging through some rather detailed reports on Marek's this afternoon and contacting the "local" avian pathologist, I believe this is true. It's not sour crop at all. There never has been a smell. She simply isn't moving the food along. She survived the first bout and went into remission. Now she is facing another bout and we'll see. The pathologist said it's literally everywhere already so that my flock already had it and her flock, that she came from, already had it. It's nothing new to my property, just that the stress of moving her here likely allowed the virus to take hold. He also recommended not culling her unless she stops eating or drinking and did not recommend a necropsy as the likelihood of Marek's is so great that it would be redundant to spend the $90-$170. I'll just watch her, massage the crop and try to keep things moving, keep her comfortable. I've just been lucky in the past is all.
     
  7. Angiebubs

    Angiebubs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm at 3 months one of the most common issues would be cocci. I have had a couple bouts of Cocci in the past (confirmed after by an autopsy), and while there were no signs of blood, they had the stumbling, drunk walk at the beginning which eventually deteriorated to weak legs etc. Just a thought
     

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