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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 23779
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I have a hen who was attacked by a fox a week ago, other than

Customer Question

I have a hen who was attacked by a fox a week ago, other than a bit of schock she seemed to be overcoming the ordeal. I could not see any open wounds, just a few feathers missing around her neck. Today however she is not looking good; she has not moved from her nest box all day, she is puffed up, wheezing (opening her beak to breathe) and there is yellow pus coming out under the feathers around her neck. Also her one eye is closed up all the time. What can I give her and should I take her to a vet?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.
Roselyn, it appears that she was bitten and has developed a bite wound abscess that will need to be surgically addressed. An avian vet (please see here: will need to open up the wound further, thoroughly flush it out with an antimicrobial solution such as chlorhexidine, debride away devitalized and necrotic tissue, and likely leave the wound open to continue draining. A systemic antibiotic will be injected and you'll be asked to dose her orally with an antibiotic over the following 10-14 days. Your hen will need to be kept inside your home until the wound closes lest she is fly struck. This hen appears to be life-threateningly septic at this time (puffed up, wheezing, gaping) and so time is of the essence. Her prognosis is very guarded to poor. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you. Having a had a closer look, there is a dry yellow crust around her nasal cavity too, would this be related to the abcess or a type of influenza?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.
While spread of infection from her neck to her respiratory system is possible, one of the more common respiratory infections in chickens is more likely to have come out of its carrier state and become clinically apparent in a compromised bird. Chicken coryza (Haemophilus paragallinarum) and avian mycoplasmosis are most common. A mildly pathogenic avian influenza is a consideration. You're quite welcome. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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