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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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About 2 weeks ago my approx. 4 month old Egyptian goose

Customer Question

About 2 weeks ago my approx. 4 month old Egyptian goose stopped eating (I had it on chicken crumble then pellets) and now its voice sounds hoarse. Its poops are very watery and rarely solid (as it had been before it stopped eating). I keep it in my back yard with my chickens. I have tried feeding it lettuce, green beans, hay, alfalfa and even cut grass, but it doesn't seem interested in any of that. I have even changed brands of chicken feed (says its for ducks and geese too) to see if that makes a difference, and no difference. What should I feed it, and should I be concerned about the hoarse voice?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

​Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds exclusively for many years.​

You are correct to be worried about diet.The goose is at the right age where nutritional issues can start showing up. And one of them is reduced immune system. There are dozens of possible bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections that could be affecting him.

mazuri.com is a good place to start on age/flock/species special diets.

Ideally, he would be on age-appropriate, goose-specific pellets with greens and pasture. At minimum he should be on waterfowl crumbles or the mixed flock diet you have. In a flock situation it is difficult, both because he takes his cues from the chickens and because he has personal preference for the other diet. It is a difficult problem and you may have to separate him for a month just to work on his diet.

The voice is very concerning. The "voice box" in birds is deep in the chest, and any change in vocalizations indicate pneumonia, airway blockage or inflammation in the deep airways and/or lungs. There are dozens of possible bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections possible.

What is your geographic location and local weather?

Can you tell me more about the bird?​

How long has this been going on?

How long have you had him?

Where is he from?

Any accidents or trauma?

Interactions with other birds/pets/children/guests?

What is the usual diet? has it changed recently?

What is the water source(s)?

Has the bird gotten into anything?

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 the bird 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.

The challenge is to find out exactly what is going on, since treatment will depend on careful and accurate diagnosis.

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 an aquarium, 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.

The bird, bowls and unit must be kept very clean.

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.
She needs to see an avian/poultry-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check
https://aav.site-ym.com/?page=basiccare click on "find a vet"

http://aav.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=1803

for members of AAV in your area.

The expense for this is going to be a lot less than inefficient, ineffective, dangerous treatments, guesswork, and loss of the flock; not to mention possible implications to human consumption of tainted eggs. Many states/governments have poultry diagnostic labs that charge very reasonable fees to test for common diseases.

Because you have others and presumably use the eggs, it is important to have a solid diagnosis and treatment safe for egg consumption. You can check with local County Extension offices, the closest Ag university with a poultry department, or with the closest vet school for a local referral.

If this were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, stained with Sedi-stain and unstained for multiple parasites, fungi, spirals; direct smear stained with Sedi-stain and unstained of the oral cavity; 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. There are MANY DNA/RNA tests for bird diseases. Ultrasound is often more informative than radiographs and does not require anesthesia (ask your vet about this option). Generally I start them out on medications as indicated by the tests.

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.

Check for fly and mosquito access, as they can carry certain diseases, 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 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** name is "Chance" (as I gave him a 2nd chance at life). I don't know if it is a he or she yet, but I have always called it a "he". I found Chance drowning in a friends pond on April 19, 2015. I assume he was only days old, if that. His wild parents had abandoned him as he was having seizures and flipping over backwards every time he looked up. This lasted about 2 weeks, and he outgrew it. Has not done it since. I am in Texas and temps have been close to 100F lately. I noticed a change in Chance's eating about 2 weeks ago (I also at that time gave away my 2 ducks- but the ducks and Chance did not get along so I don't think he is "mourning" their absence). He lives outside during the day in my backyard with my chickens and dogs, and I bring him inside the house at night. He sleeps in a large dog kennel with newspaper and towels and food and water bowl. Recently with the hot weather, most of my grass has died. He is friends with one dog and he seems to want to "groom" her occasionally. I know that the dogs do have fleas. (On going issue with trying to control that, as our yard backs up to open field where deer live and both neighbors have outside dogs as well). No accidents or trauma that I know of. He doesn't like the chickens too much, and chases them away when they get too close. I have not changed his diet up until recently switching brands after I noticed him not eating. He has a kiddy pool to wade in as his water supply and we change that water at least once a week. But the other animals drink from it as well.The only other thing I can mention is that my chickens did get a weird black crusty stuff on their comb and wattles around this time period as well. But that is now gone from all chickens (it went away by itself - I did not medicate them).Chance acts normal other than the hoarse voice and not eating the food I supply. He does have access to chickens feed during the day, but I don't know if or how much he is consuming. But by the looks of his poop, not much. I am very concerned for him, but am not in the position to spend a ton of money on him. Are there any "generic" antibiotics that "couldn't hurt" to give to him to rule out bacterial? Should I worm him just in case? I live in a small town and there are no vets that work on birds in my town. Closest vet is about 60 miles in San Antonio. Thank you again, Susan
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, a friend who has chickens, suggested possibly giving him Tylan 50. Is that something I can give to a goose? Thanks.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

Chance sounds like a very lucky and loved bird.

Geese often make friends with dogs, dogs not always 100% on board with the attention. Just be aware that Chance may guard "his" dog from you and everyone else. Dog fleas do not like poultry, but weather and environmental conditions that favor dog fleas can also favor geese external parasites.

There are NO safe and effective OTC antibiotics. That's why they are available OTC.

The problem may not be bacterial at all and antibiotics could make it worse.

Tylan has a very narrow spectrum of effectivity and can be toxic AND most pathogens are resistant. AND this may not be bacterial issue.

Don't worm him, for all the same reasons as above. Plus many parasites are not the type killed by OTC treatments, and geese are generally free of worm infections.

Kiddy pool needs to be dumped and fresh water daily.

Texas has a very good poultry lab, and tests are $7-$10 each. Definitely worth it.

Black crusty stuff on chickens was probably fly-origin; flies can carry many pathogens, and geese and chickens respond differently.

Call around, you may find a reasonable-priced vet and/or one who will run a poop sample without an exam; that would at least be a start.

There are several good bird vets in San Antonio, and also in Austin.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks again! I'll look into vets in my area.
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.
Good luck. Please let me know what happens.