What Med's can you use on ducks? Also what wormers and how often?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by chickenzoo, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    If one of my call ducks ever get sick, what would be safe to use on them? Also how often do you need to worm ducks and with what? -Thanks:idunno
  2. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    I wouldn't worm a duck until you see worms in their poo.
    As far as other meds, that is impossible to say unless you have a situation that calls for meds.
    Overall, any meds for any ducks can be used, in the proper amounts, depending on the need.
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    It's worthing taking a fecal sample to the vet and then using a perscribed dewormer at the correct dosage. It's very easy to poison waterfowl.

    But, they're also very resistant to parasites and worms, so it wouldn't be the first thing I'd think of for a sick duck.
  4. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I didn't know if I should be concerned or not about worms when they get older. I just was trying to be prepared ahead of time.I didn't know if you could use Tylan,Terrimicyn, etc on them like on chickens etc..[​IMG]
  5. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Here are two articles which may be useful:
    Duck Health Care
    Tirath S. Sandhu, DVM, Ph.D.

    Keeping ducks healthy requires taking the necessary steps to prevent disease outbreaks from occurring in the first place, and in cases where ducks do become infected, administering appropriate treatment to minimize mortality and morbidity. The following guidelines were developed with large flocks of ducks in mind, but they also apply to small flocks.

    Disease Prevention
    Disease prevention in ducks, and in poultry in general, is discussed in more detail in standard textbooks on poultry diseases and in other related publications, some of which are referenced on this site (Duck Publications). Caretakers must be diligent in three main areas to prevent ducks from becoming infected with disease.

    (1) Establish and maintain a biosecurity program that will prevent the introduction of diseases into the premises where ducks are kept. This includes prohibiting the admission of any potential source of infectious agents, such as live ducks, other fowl or animals. In cases where it is necessary to bring live ducks to the farm, the ducks must be from an established disease-free source, and should be quarantined for observation before being placed on the farm premises. Entry of potential carriers of infectious material such as people, trucks, poultry crates and equipment must be denied unless appropriate disinfection measures are taken. Duck caretakers should change clothing and boots and use disinfectant foot baths upon entering the premises or buildings.
    (2) Immunize ducks against known infectious diseases. In many cases a high level of protection against common duck diseases can be induced by the administration of appropriate vaccines or bacterins at the proper time. See Duck Biologics for more information.
    (3) Minimize environmental stresses which may cause ducks to become susceptible to infections. This includes providing proper housing, management, ventilation and nutrition, discussed elsewhere on this site.

    Treatment of Infected Ducks
    This is the stage of disease that duck keepers should strive to avoid, because serious losses may occur before treatment becomes effective. Treatments are discussed below in connection with each of the common duck diseases.

    The major diseases of domestic ducks are described briefly below. For more information, see the publications listed elsewhere on this site.

    Laboratory Common Diseases of Ducks

    Duck Virus hepatitis
    Duck virus hepatitis is a highly fatal contagious disease of young ducklings, 1-28 days of age. Ducklings are most susceptible at the younger ages and gradually become more resistant as they grow older. The disease is rarely seen in ducklings over 4 weeks of age. The onset of the disease is very rapid, it spreads quickly through the flock and may cause up to 90% mortality. Sick ducklings develop spasmodic contractions of their legs and die within an hour in a typical "arched-backward" position. The liver is enlarged and shows hemorrhagic spots. To prevent this disease, keep age groups isolated and vaccinate breeder ducks with an attenuated live virus duck hepatitis vaccine (to produce maternally immune ducklings).

    Duck Plague (Duck Virus Enteritis)
    Duck Virus Enteritis is an acute, contagious, highly fatal disease of waterfowl caused by a herpes virus. This disease is most likely to affect mature ducks, but is also seen in young ducks. Affected birds show sluggishness, ruffled feathers, greenish-yellow diarrhea that is sometime blood-stained. Dead birds often have blood-stained feathers around the vent and blood dripping from the nostrils. Hemorrhages may be found in tissues throughout the body. Eruptive lesions of the mucous lining of the esophagus and intestine are characteristic signs of the disease. Necrotic plaques may be observed in the cloaca. Regular immunization of breeder ducks with an attenuated live duck virus enteritis vaccine provides adequate protection.

    Riemerella Anatipestifer Infection
    This bacterial disease of ducks is also known as Pasteurella Anatipestifer infection, infectious serositis and New Duck disease. Anatipestifer infection causes high mortality, weight loss and condemnation. In the acute form, listlessness, eye discharge and diarrhea are commonly seen. Ducks show incoordination, shaking of the head and twisted neck. Birds are commonly found on their backs, paddling their legs. Typical lesions found in dead birds are infected air sacs, membranes covering the heart and liver, and meningitis. Preventive management and vaccination are effective means of control. Penicillin, enrofloxacin and sulfadimethoxine-ormetoprim (0.04-0.08% in feed) are effective in reducing mortality.

    Avian Cholera
    Avian cholera, also called fowl cholera, caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida is an important disease of domestic ducks, and is an especially troublesome disease of ducks in some parts of Asia. This disease is associated with poor sanitation, and standing water in duck pens. Symptoms include loss of appetite, mucous discharge from the mouth, diarrhea, and in breeder ducks, labored breathing. Lesions found in dead birds include hemorrhages on heart muscle, mesentery and abdominal fat. The liver is enlarged, copper colored and friable (easily crumbled). Pinpoint whitish spots may be seen on the liver. Good sanitation practices go a long way toward preventing this disease. Sulfadimethoxine-ormetoprim (0.02-0.04%) and Chlortetracycline (0.044%). given in feed are effective treatments.

    This common infection of poultry caused by Escherichia coli., causes reduced hatchability, infection of the yolk sac (omphalitis), a septicemia (bacterial invasion of bloodstream) in ducks 2-8 weeks of age and salpingitis and peritonitis in breeder ducks. In market ducks, E. coli. infection produces lesions very similar to those seen in Riemerella anatipestifer infection (see above). Good sanitation and management are important preventive measures. Sulfadimethoxine-ormetoprim (0.04-0.08%) and chlorotetracycline (0.044%) in feed are helpful in controlling this disease.

    This condition occurs when ducks inhale spores produced by the mold (fungi) Aspergillus (Aspergillus fumigatus is the common species) that grows on damp straw or feed. These inhaled spores cause multiple nodules or plaques in the lungs and air sacs. Common signs include gasping, listlessness and dehydration. This disease is not to be confused with aflatoxin poisoning described below. The best solution to prevent aspergillosis is to avoid using moldy straw and preventing feed from getting wet.


    Ducks are particularly susceptible to certain toxins, and in some cases strikingly more than chickens or turkeys. Therefore, duck caretakers must be especially diligent in preventing ducks from consuming or being exposed to these toxins.

    Aflatoxin poisoning
    Molds (fungi) that grow on cereal grains and oilseeds before and after harvest produce a number of toxins that are particularly harmful to ducks. By far the most toxic of these substance is a group of toxins called aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are produced by the molds Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Ducks are highly susceptible to these toxins. Very small amounts will cause high mortality. Wet harvest conditions encourage the growth of this mold.

    Ducks that have access to stagnant ponds or other areas where decaying organic matter (animal carcasses, in particular) is found may consume toxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This happens when temperature and other conditions are right for the growth of this anaerobic spore-forming bacterium. Botulism causes a progressive flaccid (limp) paralysis of the neck (limberneck), legs and wings. Affected ducks usually die in a coma within 24-48 hours.

    Castor bean poisoning
    Incidents of high death losses in wild ducks, due to consuming castor beans (Ricinus communis) have been reported in Texas. Castor beans contain ricin, a toxalbumin known to cause toxicity in humans and domestic animals.

    Rapeseed meal
    Some older varieties of rapeseed meal contain erucic acid and goitrogens at levels high enough to be harmful to poultry. Ducks are much more sensitive to erucic acid than are chickens and turkeys. Genetically improved varieties of rapeseed (Canola) contain much lower levels of these toxins. However even Canola meals should first be tested in ducks before their use in duck feeds on a large scale.

    Insecticides, rodenticides
    Duck keepers should take care not to use insect sprays or rodent poisons, that are known to be harmful to ducks, in areas accessible to ducks. Some insect sprays are highly toxic to ducks, such as parathion and diazinon. Always read the directions on the insecticide container carefully before using around ducks. Rat poisons that contain Warfarin, an anticoagulant, if consumed by ducks, can cause them to bleed to death.

    Symptoms: Labored breathing (which can also be a symptom of pneumonia).
    Cause: Airborne spores from moldy feed or hay, which should be avoided unless replaced at least twice weekly without fail.
    Treatment: Aspergillosis can be treated with fungicides - but these are expensive and unlikely to be successful. Avoid this disease by good management. Aflatoxin poisoning may show similar symptoms. In this case, the molds that grow on cereal grains and oilseeds produce toxins which are very damaging for ducks. Store food in dry, cool conditions. Never use moldy food, never.

    Symptoms: Loss of muscular control of legs, wings and neck, sometimes called limberneck. Birds are unable to swallow.
    Cause: Toxins produced by Clostridia bacteria in decaying animal and vegetable waste. Avoid problems by keeping ducks out of muddy/dirty areas, and stagnant water, especially in hot weather. Bacteria multiply rapidly in warmer temperatures with anaerobic conditions (no oxygen).
    Treatment: Give affected birds fresh drinking water. If necessary, introduce water into the mouth and throat. A crop tube could be used with the advice of a vet. Add Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) to the water. Recommended amounts vary from 1 tablespoon in one cup of water to 1 ounce per 50 fluid oz (2½ pints) of water.

    Symptoms: Red blood in the droppings; birds thin because coccidia attack the lining of the gut and nutrients from food are not absorbed. Birds may be ill for weeks.
    Cause: Ground dirty with droppings of birds which carry coccidia. Coccidia are protozoa and cannot be eliminated with antibiotics. More likely in summer in hot, wet conditions.
    Treatment: Anticoccidial in the drinking water. The coccidiostat added to poultry (hen) grower pellets is not a treatment. Coccidiosis is not a common disease in ducks.

    Symptoms: If birds are listless and suffering from pinkish droppings in hot spells in summer, this is more likely to be a bacterial form of enteritis.
    Cause: Inflammation and bleeding in the gut can be produced by bacteria or duck viral enteritis. DVE is rare, but will kill most affected birds. Prompt treatment with a vaccine (obtainable from Holland, through your vet), is the only known solution (at press time). The bacterial disease is probably transmitted by the wild bird population.

    Treatment: Bacterial enteritis is easily treated by using soluble antibiotic powders such as aureomycin and terramycin in the drinking water. No other water should be available. Move the birds onto clean ground a couple of days after treatment has commenced and treat for eight days.

    Symptoms: Hot leg. Swollen ankle or swollen hock.
    Cause: Bacterial infection.
    Treatment: Antibiotic injections such as Tylan 200 or Baytril. Other treatments may be reccommended, seek a veterinarian's advice.

    Symptoms: Dirty vent. Infestation may not be readily noticed.
    Cause: Birds do not have enough water for keeping themselves clean, particularly at the vent during hot weather in summer. Injured birds may also have fly eggs deposited at the injury.
    Treatment: Pick maggots off affected area. Use ointment, then fly spray. Check the birds each day for several days. Fly eggs already on the bird will still hatch.

    Symptoms: Birds scratch a lot. Northern mite lives on the bird and sucks its blood.
    Cause: Mites may be caught from other birds at shows, and from new birds you have introduced. Infestation is far more likely if the waterfowl are kept on the same premises with chickens. Lice are insects and also live on birds. They live on the feathers and are grey in color instead of red.
    Treatment: Use pesticides such as pyrethrum or Ivermectin, a systemic treatment for pests. Flea spray or powder convenient and an effective way to treat for lice or mites. Part feathers and apply powder to birds, avoiding the eyes. Repeat every 3-4 days if infestation is not cleared. While treating birds, to help prevent reinfestation, a little powder may be dusted on immediate surroundings where mites breed: under nesting material, cracks and crevices.

    Lead poisoning
    Symptoms: Lack of coordination, loss of weight.
    Cause: Lead shot from cartridges of air gun pellet. Lead-based paint ingestion.
    Treatment: Make sure the source of lead cannot be accessed. Provide grit for the birds so that they do not pick up bits of lead for the gizzard.

    Symptoms: Loss of appetite, increased thirst, watery then green droppings. Loss of coordination.
    Cause: Bacteria in the environment.
    Treatment: Prompt treatment with antibiotic may save larger birds. Eliminate carriers, such as rats.

    Symptoms: Males - the penis is dropped externally from the body. Females - the lower part of the oviduct protrudes.
    Cause: This condition is most common in overweight older hens and in early laying birds with low bodyweight. Poor muscle tone is another cause.
    Treatment: Seek advise from a qualified avian veterinarian.

    Respiratory problems
    Symptoms: The birds sits hunched up, and bobs its tail up and down to assist in breathing.
    Cause: Bacterial infection, especially in spells of intensely wet weather. Symptoms of Aspergillosis are similar, but will not respond to antibiotic treatment.
    Treatment: A long course of antibiotic such as Tylan 200, in the case of a bacterial infection. Consult your vet, infection is difficult to resolve.

    Sinus Problems
    Symptoms: Weeping nostrils and puffed up cheeks.
    Cause: Bacteria in the environment infect the sinuses.
    Treatment: Appropriate antibiotic injection such as Baytril or Tylan 200. Treatment should be immediate to be effective. Daily antibiotic flushing of the sinuses by a veterinary surgeon is required until the swelling resolves. If treatment is delayed and the cheeks harden, there is no known cure.

    Slipped Wing / Angel Wing
    Symptoms: The primary feathers of the wings in young birds turn outwards. They may also just drop.
    Cause: The ducklings are fed a diet too high in protein and grow too fast. The blood in the quills is too heavy for the wings to support.
    Treatment: Feed growing birds a lower protein diet while they develop the primary feathers
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2008
  6. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Thank you DL that was very helpful

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