Wry Neck Not Improving: Am I doing something wrong?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dustbath, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 4 or 5 year old Buff Orpington hen suffering from what I am assuming is “wry neck.” She seems healthy but can’t hold her head up. It flops over until she is looking up at the sky with her head upside-down.

    At first I thought it might be an ear infection and gave her antibiotics but they didn’t help at all. I then read a number of posts here and did some on-line research about wry neck and started treating her for that.

    For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been giving her Vitamin E (400 IU twice a day) and selenium (the equivalent in food of what is recommended). I’ve also been giving her turmeric tea (12 ml twice a day) and buffered aspirin (half an adult tablet twice a day). I’ve been feeding her scrambled eggs with sugar to keep her protein and energy up and also put sugar in the turmeric tea. I make the turmeric tea by boiling ¼ tsp of turmeric in 1 cup of water for 10 mins.

    For the first week, I gave her a ml of Poly-Vi-Sol twice a day also. I stopped when I used up the bottle and it doesn’t seem to have made any difference.

    She can’t drink on her own, so I’ve been tube-feeding her the meds and tea, to make sure she gets liquid. She eats the food with vitamins mixed in herself when I hold her. To keep her still when I tube-feed her the liquids, I wrap her in a cloth.

    I have her separated from the other hens in her own fenced-off area in the coop. At night, I put her gentle sister in with her for warmth and company.

    She has improved somewhat from when I started. Now she can hold her head up if I help her but when I put her down, it flops over and she doesn’t seem able to pick it up herself. She doesn’t seem to eat by herself at all.

    Yesterday, she had pretty wet poop so I skipped the aspirin. In the evening, she seemed worse. But this morning (still no aspirin), she seems a bit better and could actually eat on her own propped in a corner.

    I’ve read contradictory advice about using a brace: some people say it helps and others say it makes it worse. Anyone have any feedback on this? Her neck is so floppy, I think I would have to encase her whole neck and shoulders in something to hold it up. It also seems like I would have to make it so tight, I might strangle her.

    I don’t know if this makes any difference but it has been very cold here, seldom getting higher than 19 deg. F during the day and dropping into single digits or negative numbers at night.

    I don’t have her inside because I think it would stress her. We have two loud dogs and a small space. Also, she isn’t used to a lot of human contact (she spent her first couple of years in a big barn and has never been very tame).

    I’m really starting to give up. Nothing seems to be helping much. Some days she seems slightly better and then she’ll have a bad day. I don’t see a progression to independence. Is this normal or should I see more progress?

    Is there something I’ve missed? Am I doing something wrong?

    Any help or advice would be appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. Twistedfeather

    Twistedfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2014/04/preventing-and-treating-wry-neck-in.html I don't know if you have seen this article before but I hope this helps. As much as it sound like if you don't see any signs of improvement or no one else can give you a good treatment that works than I would suggest putting her out of her misery because you also aren't going to want her to be in pain nor if it is caused by one of the diseases mentioned in the article you're not going to want to spread it to your other flock.
     
  3. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the article. I generally panic about Mareks whenever something weird happens but a vet has told me that it's very unlikely in hens as old as mine. I don't know about aspergillosis. The Merck manual says it results from mold, so hopefully it's not contagious, if that's what it is. Anyway, she's had these symptoms for weeks, so I imagine it's too late.

    I am thinking it might be time to call it a day for her. She certainly can't be enjoying herself much now and I don't want to be prolonging suffering. But then I read accounts of successful treatment after weeks and think I should keep going.

    I am wondering if I should use a brace. Or if using the feeding tube is a bad idea. I don't see how I can get enough liquid into her without it though.
     
  4. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update: today she held her head up a couple of times on her own. It pretty quickly reverted to stargazy though.

    Does this sound to anyone as if she is likely to improve? Can this be permanent? Anyone have any idea what the anatomical description of this condition is? I mean, are certain muscles involved? Or is it a nerve thing?
     
  5. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    I give mine Vitamin B complex too..I had one that I really thought would not make it...after several weeks you would not know it was any different to any of my others...anything is worth a try...

    Hope yours gets back to normal health.
     
  6. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll add Vitamin B too. Thanks!

    Did yours improve gradually from the start or did she get better faster towards the end? I'm willing to keep this up for a long time but I'm concerned that I'm not seeing a lot of improvement.
     
  7. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine took a few weeks until signs of improvement happened..it can be a long process...BUT when they get better it is so very rewarding...and they also develop a special bond with you and that is priceless!
     
  8. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    I recently spoke with a vet who talked about 1 adult asprin in a gallon of water. This was a dose to prevent heart problems in a flock -- but the amount of asprin is very low as you can tell.

    I had been treating a cockerel with a swollen eye with 1/2 a baby asprin in hopes of reducing pain and reducing the eye swelling. After a week with no improvement, I had the cockerel put down. Then a necropsy--- there was an irregularity with the blood - it was very thin and there was some anemia. There is no way to know if there is any parallel with your hen - but in future I will probably not administer asprin to a chicken for the fact that it can thin the blood.

    Hope that you are able to cure your chicken.
     
  9. dustbath

    dustbath Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it took a few weeks for yours to start obviously improving, I'll keep at it. I guess I expected too much too soon.

    I stopped the aspirin a couple of days ago because I thought it might be causing digestive problems. She doesn't seem worse so I won't rush to re-introduce it. The turmeric tea is supposed to be an anti-inflammatory too.

    One interesting development is that the most passive, unaggressive hen in my small flock seems to be taking care of her. She stands right next to her, as if she's protecting her from the others. Previously, they didn't have that much to do with each other; they are different breeds and hung out with their sisters.
     

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