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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 26903
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My chicken is not eating or drinking. There is a lot of

Customer Question

My chicken is not eating or drinking. There is a lot of gurgling. All she wants to do is sleep, sometimes she whimpers.
This might in reaction to a couple of drugs prescribed by another vet, given due to a swollen thigh, likely due to a jumping injury (nothing broken). An anti-inflammatory - metacam (1.5mg in suspension); and an antibiotic - clavamox (250mg). She has only had two doses of each.
She's young, having just laid her first egg the day she went to the vet about 4 days ago. She is in worse condition than when she went to the vet. Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. Please stop administering both of those drugs and alert Minnie's vet that you've done so. Both drugs can cause gastrointestinal distress and it's possible that the two given concomitantly synergized to cause that distress. Can you tell me, please, if Minnie's leg was X-rayed in order to rule out a fracture? From where are you hearing the "gurgling"? If from her coelom (abdomen + chest), it would represent the sound of fluid and gas passing through her irritated hypermotile gastrointestinal tract. Hopefully, simply stopping administration of the drugs will suffice. If she continued to fail, however, her diagnosis needs to be revisited. A swollen thigh can also represent nerve tumors seen in Marek's disease in a young hen - a relatively uncommon presentation of Marek's but a consideration, nonetheless. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The drugs have been ceased. She was given an x-ray and there was no sign of a fracture. The leg is getting better. The gurgling appears to be coming from her chest and abdomen. She shows interest in eating but she doesn't eat.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would giving her yoghurt help her?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The gurgling seems to be intense, the meds were ceased about 4 days ago. What can we do for her? Thanks.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. Yes, live culture yogurt might be helpful in returning healthy bacteria to her gastrointestinal tract which were removed by the Clavamox. I'd also like you to begin force feeding her a convalescent food such as this: or you can grind up her pellets and make a gruel which then can be eyedroppered into her. Tube feeding is best if you're experienced and comfortable doing so. The hypermotility of her GI tract should abate as normal bacteria recolonize it. I don't recommend administering antimotility drugs which might actually worsen these patients by trapping infectious agents in the GI tract. Please consider having her droppings analyzed for parasites and worm her if parasites are found. This shouldn't be necessary if you've had her on a regular worming program, however. Here's a general manner in which a sick chicken can be approached. You'll see that hydration is more important than calories at this time but she hasn't eaten in too long and so I do want you to feed her manually...

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi Robert Del Valle,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Minnie. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We took Minnie to another vet yesterday. Upon x-ray, she discovered two large tumors on her lymph nodes, another surrounding her kidney and spine, plus issues with her lungs (Minnie had been having difficulty breathing). She felt fairly certain that these were likely attributable to Marek's (although she couldn't confirm without a necropsy). We made the difficult decision to Minnie to sleep.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for letting me know. My condolences for your loss of Minnie.

You may receive an inappropriate follow up sent by the site ostensibly sent by me. It wasn't and I apologize in advance should you receive it.

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