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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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I have a 2 year old embden goose which has stopped grazing

Resolved Question:

I have a 2 year old embden goose which has stopped grazing and just picks at the grass. When called for feeding she comes as if hungry but then just mouths the food. She drinks a lot and sleeps a lot but keeps up with the other two. When walking she is a bit wobbly.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 5 years ago.
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.

Either the antibiotics were ineffective (OTC medications do not work, can cause calcium deficiency, and are immune suppressive) or you are dealing with something that is not a bacterial infection. With several deaths you have to be worried about viral infections, parasites, toxins (ingestion of things such as lead shot, slug bait, insecticide, poisonous plants). This time of year you have to consider emergence of toxic weeds as they avidly graze any new growth. Inadequate feed can complicate matters; if you are feed ing chicken feed, it is inadequate for gees and they should be on goose-specific crumbles as well as free grazing.

The problem you have here is to find out what exactly is the cause. There is nothing specific in what you describe, quite literally 100 different diseases can have the same presentation. Luckily there are labs that work with small producers and an start diagnostics for a very reasonable fee.

She is in very serious trouble, and needs local veterinary attention. These signs are of a very sick bird, and not specific to any one disease. And that means it is not fair to you or her to guess, there are so many possibilities.You are going to need local help on this, and a scientific and solid diagnosis to find safe and effective treatment.

You can examine the bird thoroughly again, including opening the mouth and having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. You can take the temperature gently with a rectal thermometer. Anything above 105F/40C is significant. Palpate the tummy for an egg, fluid, lumps or anything else. Check all the joints for swelling, pain, and mobility.

Move the bird indoors to a pen, box or carrier with soft towels or hay in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that can be reached easily. Keep her partially covered, warm and quiet.

Do not try to force food or water. You can offer warm cooked rice, pancakes, cornbread, grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food.

I know it is expensive, but you may not have many home options, because the first thing you need a vet for is to find out what is going on. Treatment is only as good as the diagnosis. If you call around, you may find a vet to work within your means. We certainly try to do our best in my clinic.

She needs to see an avian/poultry-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check

The expense for this is going to be a lot less than inefficient, ineffective, dangerous treatments, guesswork, and loss of the flock. Many states/governments have poultry diagnostic labs that charge very reasonable fees to test for common diseases. In the UK, check:

If this were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, for multiple parasites; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. I would very likely order a number of DNA tests for poultry viruses as well. If they have been exposed to metallic objects a radiograph may be helpful to confirm ingestion of things such as lead shot. Generally I start them out on calcium injections, tube feeding, sc fluids, basic antitoxicants, antibiotics as indicated by the tests (I use antibiotics that are injectable).

Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them.

The flock should be on a high quality pelleted diet with extra greens/pasturage. Of late, I have been recommending TOP pet bird pellets (TOP ) as they are more appropriate for the pet goose. Overcrowding, cleanliness, proper water, environmental temperature, humidity, ventilation, photoperiod, and toxic exposures should be addressed.

You need to check for fly and mosquito access, as they can carry certain diseases (eg several newly emerged diseases in the UK), and check for external parasites. Mites, lice and fleas (in some areas, ticks) can contribute to over-all health issues, anemia, and disease transmission.

She may need injectable antibiotics, calcium and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thankyou for your reply.

I have just feed the geese and my sick one took a few pieces of lettice leaf. I watched her closely and it seems swallowing is the problem, some did go down.

I will house her tonight with water and food and in the morning check her tongue and throat then speak to the local vet.

Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 5 years ago.
Good luck.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your advise.

I have contacted my local vet and we have discussed your answer. She has given me some medication and food suppliments for the goose and we are in regular contact over progress. At worst if the goose dies she will organise a PM to establish a possible cause so we can try and protect the rest of the flock.

At present the goose is isolated in a clean pen with fresh water and has taken a few chick crums.

Many Thanks Stephen.

Expert:  replied 5 years ago.
good luck
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