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! : )