Wheezing Goose! Please HELP!


8 Years
Apr 9, 2011
East Tennessee
Hello all my goose loving friends...here's the deal.. Let me start by saying I've already PM'd Pete55 but don't know when he'll be online again so I wanted to post here to see what advice I could get. I have a gorgeous big Dewlap Toulouse Gander named Gonzo. As I was putting everyone to bed last night, I noticed Gonzo was making a wheezing or sort of like a "heeerrrr" sound. This seemed to come literally out of nowhere as I check on the birds several times a day and he wasn't doing it earlier. I put them to bed, hoping and praying he'd be ok by this morning and he's not. He seems worse. He's making that sound, his breathing seems labored, he's shaking his head some, and I'm beyond worried sick. Although I love ALL my critters, if you know me, you know that my geese are my BABIES! I live in East Tn and I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but we've been hit with a sort of sudden and severe drop in temps the last few days and on top of that, it's been wet and nasty as well. Their coop is dry and pretty darn near draft free. The geese do spend the night with a few chickens and right now, because I have so many, a few ducks too. One thing I mentioned to Pete in the PM...We use Purina Flock Raiser as our base for their feed. We also give grains, some corn, and greens and fruit as well as a few pieces of bread as a treat...I know I know, I shouldn't give them bread..but it's JUST as an occasional treat. We normally buy pellets in the Flock Raiser, but they were out this past time so we got crumbles. I've fed them crumbles in the past but this bag seemed REALLY crumbly..almost powdery in texture. I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not, I just want to give as much info as I can. Whatever's wrong with Gonzo, certainly hasn't affected his appetite. This goose would rather eat than swim!!! I'm going out now to check and see if maybe he has a nasal obstruction of some kind. Glenn, my other gander had this happen once and exhibited some of the same symptoms but I don't remember him wheezing like this. Once the little bit of grain came out of Glenn's nostril, he cleared right up and was fine. So, what do you guys think... I've been searching online, probably the WORST thing a worried momma can do! It seems everyone has a different opinion and apparently, Gonzo could have Gape worms, tapeworms, a cold, a disease that will kill him and everyone around him...I'm just beside myself! The vet is closed and on top of that, we're BROKE and there's no vets here with any real waterfowl knowledge (that I know of at least). Here's what I have on hand at the house:

Tetracycline Hydrochloride Soluble Powder...(the yellow pack)
Sulmet (sulfamethazine sodium) Drinking Water Solution, 12.5% It's an antibacterial used for cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys
I have another antibiotic here but can't find it just yet. It's an injectable liquid and comes in a fat little brown bottle.
I also have a vitamin supplement that I'm still looking for. I think it's VetRx but not positive on that.

The feed stores are open all weekend and I can run there anytime if someone will help me figure out WHAT exactly to get and how much to administer. Also wondering, should I treat only him or go ahead and treat them all? I would think I'd need to give individual doses because the birds have SEVERAL different watering holes, so to speak. Should I go ahead and worm too? If so, what wormer do I buy? When responding, please consider I'm out in the country and our feed stores don't have everything that some do. We have a TSC, a Mizes, and a local feed mill though, so surely one of them will have at least one of the antibiotics that you experienced geese people will suggest. I just want to be sure that whatever you suggest, you know for sure that it's safe for geese.

Thanks ahead of time for your help!
he needs to see a Vet. You need to figure out if he has something stuck in his throat, or nares or if this is respiratory in nature in which case you need good antibiotics to treat him with and not typically what is available at a feed store. Baytril is not something you will pick up local and truly is what is most often used.
Any chance he might have swallowed something foreign? Can you feel his crop? Maybe massage it a little if he will let you, and keep him on fluids only for a day. You should isolate him anyway just in case.

BTW- I had to get Flockraiser from TSC the other day because the co-op was closed for inventory. It was total dust
Thanks Happy. Although I raised him and his sister in my big garden tub until they were quite large..(lol, good times), once I put them with my other pair, they both grew sort of distant. Never-the-less, once my hubby gets more "awake" as he put it, I'm going to have him help me carry this huge cage in from outside and I'll be putting him in the house for a while. He seems his normal self other than the weird noise he's making but it will certainly stress him out when I take him from the group, which also concerns me. I just spent about an hour out there observing him and I'm really leaning toward's an obstruction in one of his nostrils or nares. He is really doing a lot of blowing in the pool and shaking his head, as well as opening his mouth like he has something lodged in there. He's eating, picking at grass, he doesn't seem lethargic at all, and he took a bath and got so into it that he got really excited and ran around the yard like a crazy goose does. As far as him swallowing something goes, he is VERY inquisitive and if anything blows into the yard, like a plastic bag, the cat, or anything unusual, he is the first to check it out and want to play with it so that is a concern too! I hope and pray that he'll be okay through the weekend. We are so tight with money right now and I don't know how in the world we're going to do it, but I have no choice but to get him to the vet Monday. My husband isn't going to like it but I just don't care...I can't lose this goose..I'll likely have a nervous breakdown and I'm being completely serious. BTW, my husband's not mean or heartless or anything like that, he's just going to worry about how were going to pay for it. The only vet I know of that may have any sort of a clue about birds in general is Dr. Lisa Web in Jonesboro. She takes care of the local "zoo" and has studied up on exotic species like Giraffes and Zebra's so I'm hoping she'll know a thing or two about geese as well! I'm sorry to hear I'm not the only one who got a bag of dusty feed from TSC. I'm going to have to start buying my feed on pre-order I think...that way I'll be certain to get what I want! Thanks for responding and for your advice. I pray he'll be okay!
Hi Lisa

A quick reply to get you started.

It sounds like either

1- Chest Infection / Pneumonia OR
2 - Gapeworm (though I wouldnt have expected the rapid deterioration)

Tetracycline just wont do the job really. My advice is a Vet and to start him on Baytril, There's different strengths and initially he'll need an injection but then could go onto oral solution. You can also worm with standard Panacur Paste for puppies asnd kittens and this can be given at the same time though if you've wormed them recently I doubt its parasite related.

The only other thing could be Aspergillosis but this is usually caught in stagnant indoor conditions and is a fungalin lung infection, no effective treatment but easily avoided in airy indoor quarters with good ventilation.

Im afraid with my best guess of an infection its important to start treatment asap

Best wishes for him

The tetracycline I have on hand but can buy something else if it'll be safe for him to get him through the weekend and get him started on something to at least keep an infection from spreading or getting worse. As I said before, the vet's office is closed and there's no way for us to go to an ER vet...it's just not possible. I just worry because you always hear that if a bird starts showing signs of illness, they're near dead...as I stated above, he is completely normal other than the sound he's making and the occasional shake of the head. I spent a lot of time out there with him and it sounds to me like the sound is coming from his bill not his chest, if that makes any sense? Thanks for the advice.
Possibly a sinus infection but I wouldnt expect overall physical deterioration. Over the weekend keep him rested and confortable. If his behaviour indicates he's lethargic and sitting about then consider a heat lamp. Warmth is vital for poorly birds - even cold loving geese!
Seen as how you are bringing him in the house, maybe you can have your husband help- wrap the gander in a towel so he can't move, and pry open his bill and have a good look with a flashlight. I can see them getting a piece of hay or something caught in there just the right way... that would surely make him want to shake his head a lot. Or maybe he got caught on something and has torn tissue bothering him.

I know how it is with the vet- emergencies always seem to put up when we are dead broke.
Hoping for a quick recovery, whatever it may be.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom