What more can I do to help heal this eye?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hotspur, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. hotspur

    hotspur Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2008
    We'd appreciate good advice about how to more-effectively treat a particular eye injury or infection.

    We've been treating a closed & swollen hen's eye with erythromicin (broad spectrum antibiotic) ophthalmic ointment 4x daily for two days now. The purpose of the ointment is to kill primary and secondary infections superficially (i.e. on the surface of the cornea) and give good conditions for healing. However, the ointment does not penetrate the tissues in the orbital complex. The eye is still very swollen and clammed shut. Before we got hold of the ointment we were gently cleaning the outside of the eye with warm water, and then applying sterile clay as a poultice (without a dressing). There is no sign of external injury.

    We'd like to learn of ways to get a systemic antibiotic for her - affordably. Are there, for example, readily available antibiotics that we could put in the hen's drinking water? We cannot afford to go to a vet; but we might be able to get a qualified friend to write a prescription for an affordable generic medication from a pharmacy.

    We don't think the antibiotic ointment is effective at getting to the injury/infection. We pry the lower eye lid downward and gently transfer a little of the ointment from a Q-tip into the gap. However, the gap is tiny, and also the eye is watery beneath the lids (although the eye is not runny when closed) and therefore the ointment does not get very far into the eye socket. Is there a better way to get the ointment into the eye socket. We think there is no way no how for us to pack the ointment under the lid using the Q-tip without damaging the eye and associated tissues.

    By the way, when we pry the lid open we do not see the cornea. Instead we see a white surface - which we're hoping is the nictating membrane, i.e. the "third eyelid"; and we're hoping it is not a clouded cornea.

    This episode started about a week ago when we noticed that the right eye of one of our three hens - all of them are pearl white leghorns, about 18 months old - is clammed shut. We don't know whether the cause is an infection or injury. We let the birds range free during the daylight hours. The two other hens and the rooster are perfectly healthy.
    [At the time we noticed the shut eye, we found that the hen's poop was runny and yellow and smelled strongly like ammonia - but I think that was a coincidence (and possibly something like squash that she ate) because her poop is normal now.]

    Since finding the closed eye, we've kept her sequestered full-time in a small cage on her own - for her protection against predators etc while half of her field-of-view is not working.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
  2. CountryMom

    CountryMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2008
    South Texas
    Sounds like she may have gotten something in the eye or possible punture. I would consult a vet as soon as the holiday is over. They can stain the eye to see if there is any damage and then proceed with some different ointments. If not damage to the eye like a scratch or puncture, then they can give an ointment with a steroid in it that will clear the eye up quickly. If you cannot find a vet that works on chickens per say, just remind them that an eye is an eye no matter the animal.

    Just wanted to add that per a human doc and one of our vets, when in a bind and need something more than the over the counter ointments, try neosporin...and the pain killer added in it will help with pain. I have been caught before on a late Sunday and needed something quick for one of our critters, I have used it with sucess. I once had a horse loose eye sight because I didn't treat fast enough, so I now jump on it with what I have....including neosporin if need be.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
  3. cnj-tx50

    cnj-tx50 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2009
    North of Dallas, TX
    I just went thru the same thing with a RIR. Swollen shut. I put a warm compress on it twice a day and cleaned it very well. Then I applied the neo. I took about 7 days for it to start opening up on it's own and then on day 10 she was great and I had a very big battle to get it doen twice. That has been 4 weeks ago and she's great.
  4. hotspur

    hotspur Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2008
    I just went thru the same thing with a RIR. Swollen shut.

    My hen has been opening the injured eye very briefly now and then.
    [She would like to get out of the small cage I've been keeping her in, and join the other hens and rooster.]

    However, all that is visible when she opens the eye is white.
    Is that how your bird's eye looked when she first started opening it?

    I don't want to let her join the other hens yet, for fear they would peck at the "white" eye, and she would not be able to see such attacks coming. If there's still a chance the eye is going to see, I'd like to wait till then, as she would be quite vulnerable free-ranging out in the open
    with the sight of one eye missing.​
  5. naked_heels

    naked_heels Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 20, 2008
    Des Moines, IA
    I have one broody hen that has her eyes swollen shut, this has been going on for 2days. Yesterday morning I gave her one tablet of Antibiotic, this morning I went to checked on her; She was able to open both of her eyes fine. I gave her one more Antibiotic tablet today, hopefully this will heal her for good. Hope this helps and goodluck on get your chicken heal, Hotspur.

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