What do you wish veterinarians knew about chickens?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Chickerdoodle13, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Hey guys! I wasn't quite sure where to put this so it would get the most exposure. Anyway, I am a vet student at Cornell University and I'm going to be giving a presentation for the poultry club about Backyard chickens to my fellow students (Along with a few of my advisors). Part of the presentation will be a fun quiz about breeds, part will be about typical housing for backyard birds, and then a majority will be about common illnesses, injuries, and parasites. Many of these students who will attend are interested in small or large animal practice, but will not have a lot of other avian exposure. With the increase in backyard poultry keeping, I think it is important for vets to know about poultry.

    In the interest of helping these future vets feel more confident when treating pet poultry, I figured I would ask you guys what you would like a vet to know when it comes to you chickens. Feel free to throw out some ideas or your personal experience!
     
  2. kbarrett

    kbarrett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I certainly think you're on the right track as far as bring to the attention of veterinarian community that backyard poultry is most definitely on the rise. I am in a very rural area, there is not a vet that I know of that would even treat a sick chicken. I have been very fortunate to not encounter many issues with my chickens. I am an avid reader of this site since before becoming a poultry keeper as there is a wealth of knowledge here. A question I would have is on deworming. There's lots of different opinions here as there is no specific schedule for chickens as there are for other animals. I have seen varying opinions on how long to not use eggs afterwards an much of what people recommend product wise is not intended for chickens...
     
  3. Dueling Rooster

    Dueling Rooster Out Of The Brooder

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    I teach Poultry Judging for 4-Hers. Many of the questions I get from parents concerning their birds include what is normal for poop?, and how can you tell what is wrong with a hen by the shell?
     
  4. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everything! LOL!
     
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  5. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Good suggestions so far! Anything else you guys wish a veterinarian might know about poultry?
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Peaches,

    Unfortunately, the vets that do know everything about poultry don't work in private practice! I WISH I could have a chicken only exclusive practice, but I probably would become poor very quick!
     
  7. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would love to work in a chicken only practice! They would be so easy compared to dogs and cats....[​IMG]

    What about drugs? I've read that chickens cannot have drugs containing "caine" ingredients (like marcaine or novacaine etc.) And so for anesthetic is Iso okay?
     
  8. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    I believe for a lot of the bird procedures we use Isopropanol in gas form, but I'll have to check on that to be sure.
     
  9. MarcoPollo

    MarcoPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The most common things would be:
    how to deworm
    how to treat bumble foot
    how to deal with an egg bound hen that is really trying to lay an egg but that is wasting away at the same time
    how to detect cause of feather loss and treat
    how to treat a bird without the use of antibiotics (this is a tough one due to the food-source value of chickens)

    Another thing I would like vets to consider is how to deal with over-the-phone advice. Many people cannot take a chicken to the vet. Or they fear that it will stress the bird. Would vets be ok with giving basic advice over the phone? For example, can they maybe just suggest a laboratory poop check without the owner having to bring in the chicken?
    I was helped by a vet once who actually called me back and spoke to me directly about deworming. It was very nice to have confirmation that what I planned to give was the appropriate treatment.


    I think that if more chickens were seen at a vet clinic, vets would know more about chickens. But will owners bring their chickens to the vet? What a dilemma that can be. A while ago I considered taking a sick hen to the vet for an xray but decided at the last minute not to. I feared the stress would be too much and I also feared that euthanasia would be something I'd have to consider and (yes, I actually thought) that the staff would make fun of me for feeling emotionally devastated over a chicken. The hen passed away during the night so she didn't suffer long.
    I guess if a chicken does end up at the clinic, it is most likely due to serious illness/injury and the owner might be in that 'do we treat or do we euthanize' situation. Please be kind. Yes, we could end their life at home, but the simple fact that the chicken was not "done away with" yet signifies that the chicken has a special bond with the owner and the owner doesn't want the chicken suffering unnecessarily. But at the same time, the owner is willing to try maybe just one more thing for one more day to see if the chicken has a chance still.
     
  10. Corydg

    Corydg Out Of The Brooder

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    Great thread. I'm a doctor of veterinary medicine "veterinarian" who has been in the field 23 years yet is 5 weeks into my first chicken experience (not including vet school, I now have 16 one to 6 week olds.
    I have so much to learn and am studying/reading all I can. I'm obsessed and if I could make a living off of being a vet for chickens in addition to dogs, and cats I may someday do it. Just like your human doctor can not diagnose or treat over the phone, neither can we but someday I hope to contribute to the well being of chickens (besides my own of coarse.) , they are so rewarding. Unfortunately and fortunately, most of us vets can not offer free advice for numerous reasons including legal, needing to examine in person for a history, diagnosis, and treatment plan, and just like anyone else, make a living and most importantly a, balance work and life/stress.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015

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