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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18334
Experience:  As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.
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I HAVE HAD 3 HENS DIE OVER SEVERAL MONTHS. THEY BECOME VERY

Customer Question

i HAVE HAD 3 HENS DIE OVER SEVERAL MONTHS. THEY BECOME VERY THIN, LETHARGIC, SLOW OR NOT JOINING WHEN FOLLOWING THE FLOCK. FEATHERS ARE LAID BACK AND APPEAR LESS FLUFFY THAN THE REST OF THE FLOCK. THERE IS WHITE WITH A TINT OF YELLOW COLLECTING AND MATTING AROUND RECTAL AREA. LAST STAGES ARE WEAKNESS AND DIFFICULTY WALKING. THEY MAY REMAIN ON THE GROUND RATHER THAN ROOST.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me: Have you seen any diarrhea from these birds?Do they show appetite loss or breathing changes?When were they last wormed? What did you use?Any history of vaccination?What are they fed?Any access to toxins, bird unfriendly plants, chemicals, etc?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
STOOL IS LOOSER THAN OTHER CHICKENS. THERE SEEMS TO BE NO RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS.I RAISED THE CHICKENS FROM NEWBORN CHICKS I PURCHASED AT A HATCHERY ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO. THEY HAVE NOT HAD SHOTS NOR WORMED. THE FLOCK APPEARS HEALTHY. HAVE BOTH PELLETS AND CRUMBLES FROM PURINA AND ARE FREE RANGE DURING THE DAY BUT HAVE ACCESS TO THEIR CHICKEN FOOD. SOMETIMES TREATS OF DRIED MILL WORMS, VEGETABLE PEELINGS. THEY HAVE A "CHICKEN BLOCK" WHICH THEY PECK ON. I HAVE FOUND MOUSE DROPPINGS IN THE CHICKEN HOUSE BESIDE THE BLOCK AND NEAR THEIR FOOD AREA. LAYING PRODUCTION IS GOOD BUT I CANNOT TELL IF THE ILL CHICKEN IS LAYING. THEY ARE NOT EXPOSED TO CHEMICALS BUT DO EAT SOME OF MY FLOWERS. THE FLOCK STAYS TOGETHER FEEDING WITHIN THE SAME AREA. I HAVE CONSIDERED PLANT TOXINS BUT FEEL THE OTHERS WOULD ALSO BECOME ILL. THERE WAS SOME STALE /DIRTY WATER WHICH HAD ONE TIME BEEN IN THE CHICKEN HOUSE. HOWEVER IT WAS NOT THERE WHEN THE OTHERS BECAME ILL. I HAVE RULED OUT EVERYTHING BUT PERHAPS THE MOUSE DROPPING BECAUSE THEY ALL STAY TOGETHER, OTHERS HEALTHY AND I HAVE HAD THEM FOR A LONG TIME. OR TOXIC PLANT THE OTHERS STAY AWAY FROM.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you,First, I am sorry to hear that you are facing an outbreak in your flock.Now with a number of birds affected, we can assume that we are facing either an infectious agent (bacterial, viral, protozoal, parasitic, fungal, etc) or a shared exposure (toxins, plants, mold contamination, etc). I would note that both would remain concerns even if the others are well since not all birds would be inclined to eat odd items despite others doing so. Otherwise, mouse feces isn’t likely an issue unless the mice have been carrying one of our bacterial concerns or the birds affected ate the mice (especially if they had been poisoned). Now if you have reviewed the environment and their diet, we’d hope to rule out those concerns of common exposures here. In that case, we can focus on the infectious agents that could trigger this in your flock. Specifically, our concerns here would be an insidious bacterial infection (ie salmonellosis, pasteurella , erysipelas, TB, clostridia, colibacillosis, spirochetosis etc), protozoal disease (ie coccidia, toxoplasma, trichomoniasis, etc), fungi (ie Aspergillosis) or viral disease (ie. adenovirus, herpes, infectious hepatitis, etc). Now in regards ***** ***** these down to pinpoint which is to blame, it will depend on your current birds. If there are any affected, we should be isolating them from the others and considering sending a fecal sample to your local vet lab. You can give this to your vet or they can advise you on how to send it directly to the lab. To keep costs down, you can pool stool samples from multiple birds (if more than one has signs) to be tested as one since we'd plan to treat them all based on the results. Testing of this sample can shed light on which of the above is lurking and needs to be addressed. This way we can treat effectively and economically and reduce the risk of further deaths. Otherwise, if you have had a bird just die, I would strongly advise speaking to your local vet about an autopsy. Your vet will either be able to do this for you or advise you if there is a local or state lab, a veterinary school or pathology lab that can offer this service. It will be the most straightforward means of seeing what has arisen to cause this outbreak and mortalities. Just to note, if they cannot find an obvious cause of death on gross exam, they can collect samples to submit to the lab for the pathologists to evaluate. The pathologists will be able to examine the tissues under the microscope and determine the causative agent that lead to her death. As well, with infectious causes suspected, these can be cultured to determine what is present and what treatments will effectively clear them. Though just to note in case you have some poorly birds at the moment, further to isolation we need to initiate supportive care. To start, if there is any lapse in their drinking or they appear dehydrated from those loose stools; we’ll want to make sure we are offering fluids. Ideally, we’d want to use water with electrolytes instead of plain water. There are readily available electrolyte solutions available on the market (ie. Vi-tal) or you can use Pedialyte or diluted Gatorade (diluted 50/50 with water). These will help replace the electrolytes that are being lost in her diarrhea. You can offer these in a bowl or if they won’t drink then we can administer fluids (and hand feeding) via towel restraining and a syringe or dropper. Wrap each bird one at a time “burrito style” and hold securely upright in lap. You can drip water on top of the beak, as reflex will cause them to catch the droplets with their tongue. (some will even drink from the syringe directly). While doing this, do make sure not to get water into the nares. Feeding wise, we do need to address this as well. I f you haven’t already, do try them with favorite foods. You can also get Nutrical paste to supplement their diet (either mixed in food, water, or via syringe) which will provide extra calories or nutrition. Offer fresh foods, high in nutrition and water content like cucumbers, Romaine, grapes, melon, oranges, etc. Hard boiled eggs mashed shell and all are extremely nutritious and delicious to birds. Cooked brown rice and cous cous are good for them too.If you are comfortable hand feeding your birds, you can make a handfeeding paste with handfeeding powder (ie zupreem Hand Feeding Formula) and your electrolyte solution. Ideally, if you haven’t hand fed a chicken before, you should have your vet show you how to do this safely (as aspiration is a serious risk that is best avoided). As well, do monitor the crop by gently palpating to make sure its emptying into the gut, (normally 2-3 hours post eating). If it feels more like a hard tennis ball, that is an indication of dehydration and crop impaction or stasis. Give fluids and massage crop.Finally, if their stools are runny, we can start them on an avian probiotic (ie Avipro Plus) to try and restore balance of the good bacteria in their gut. As well, if they are very loose, we can in addition to the probiotic use a small dose of OTC Kaolin/Kaopectate. These will help slow losses and alongside supportive care help them avoid dehydration (which is often the cause for weakness) and support the immune system as we work to narrow down those infections causes for this.Overall, with the pattern of infection this sounds most suspicious of an infectious process moving through the flock. Therefore, to get to the bottom of this mystery, we'd want to review their exposures, isolate and nurse those affected, and have a fecal sample checked. As well, if there is a recently deceased bird, an autopsy should be performed as it is the most straightforward way to pinpoint which of the above is plaguing your flock. Since once you know which is to blame you can address it to protect the rest of your birds.Just in case you do need an avian vet and do not have one already (though any vet can send a stool sample or body to the lab for testing), you can check where you can find one at near you at AAV (http://www.aav.org/search/), Avian web(http://www.beautyofbirds.com/recommendedvets.htm) or Birdsnway(http://www.birdsnways.com/birds/vets.htm).Please take care,Dr. B. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Please rate my service afterwards, as this is the only way I am credited for helping you today. Thank you! : )
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. B.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **I hope all is well for your flock. If possible, I would be grateful if you can rate my recent answer to your question, as this is the only way I am credited for helping you (this is at no extra cost to what you have paid already). This can be done by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page. If you have any lingering questions, please reply to me. I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Thank you. :)

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