Wheezing/Gasping Wyandotte - What to do?


9 Years
Dec 8, 2010
West Denver Burbs
I've read up on some of the threads and am still not sure how to treat my Wyandotte.

Age - about 16 months old
Weighs about 5 lbs
Symptoms: Several days ago she started making a whimpering noise with her breathing, now is having very labored breathing with a rasping/gasping sound
Treatment - Administered Durvet vitamins and electrolytes according to instructions, applied vaporub to beak by nostrils and throat
Rest of flock - no symptoms
Sick bird is quarantined from others in separate coop with straw for bedding.
Intend to treat bird myself
Unaware of anything that caused this
Poop look yellowish around vent

I've just gone and gotten some tetracycline and put it in her water with the electrolyte/vitamin solution.

Any help appreciated,

Could this be gapeworm?

I haven't ever seen it, but the noisy, labored breathing makes me wonder.

If so, you will need to worm ASAP!
I, personally like a diagnosis before giving any medications, so I would go about figuring it out thus way:

First, examine the coop and run for anything that could have been ingested that is harmful. Is there poison or anything like it around? Mold growing?
Next, check the poop chart and compare.
Examine the bird. How is she acting? Does she have a physical problem as well? Injury? Wound of any kind?
Gape test (indicated for gasping and weezing).

Have someone hold the bird with its neck outstretched and hold the mouth open. A second person inserts a q tip into the throat to take a swab. I think the exact motion in down and to the side. Examine the q tip. Are thee red y shaped worms on it? Yes, positive, treat for gape. No, negative, back to the drawing board.

How is the crop? Hard soft full empty squishy? Does she have bad breath? Are there curds in her throat? (symptom of canker I think.)

Lastly: speckledhen posted a very informative thread on fungal respiratory infections with article links. I can't remember the title but pleas look for it.

I hope that helps.
Sorry we couldn't help in time. I spend downtime on my days off cruising the net for signs, symptoms, diseases and cures. I like being prepared in case something comes along. Wish I would have read this the first time I came across it, sorry about your bird.
999 times out of 1000 it will be negative, Only in extremly extreme cases are Gapeworms in the upper part of the trachea. Realize how long a chickens neck is? Most times the only way to tell is by necropsy.
999 times out of 1000 it will be negative, Only in extremly extreme cases are Gapeworms in the upper part of the trachea. Realize how long a chickens neck is? Most times the only way to tell is by necropsy.

Thank you, I did not know that. How deep would you have to go to get a posative result?
So sorry!
I must agree with the previous post above regarding testing for gapeworms by swabbing with a Q-tip. It doesn't show up until the very last end stage when the birds beak remains open as it struggles to breathe in and out. And still I couldn't see them or swab them out to see.

Early signs, that I noticed with the 2 birds we just lost this past weekend, started with a sneeze/cough/head shake. Then progressed to an odd "bark" (shriek) as it would inhale and then go on about breathing normally with the exception of the sneeze/cough/head shake. This progressed to very stressed labored breathing and very agressive head shakes/sneezing, knocking them off their feet.

I tried to push the Q tip down in the throat to "dislodge" anything, but did not work. I had already addressed the possibility of a full crop situation with the olive oil and massage, prior to finally sending a post.
I was instructed by the group and had already read everything I could read on Gape worm from BYC archives and learned that Fenbendazole was the appropriate wormer.

Once this thing "blows up", the chickens usually don't last more than a day or 2. Our birds actually started passing them through their stool which made it real easy to confirm, but too late for the wormer to work.

To be safe, bleach the areas where she was kept, and follow up with Ammonia to address another worm, Cocci, I think, to prevent further contamination. (Dawg53 can give you this info)
So sorry, this is one of those things I'd rather not read about either. But, I've learned 2 things with this experience.
1. Isolate new birds prior to introducing them to you flock, and if you suspect their are sick.
2. "Study Up" on Emergencies/Diseases/Injuries/Cures site. (The diseases thing is the one I've basically left alone until now. And I'm a nurse, shame on me.)

Take real good care of yourself and hang in there! Verna

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