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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29030
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Our hen hasn't layed in 6 months or longer and today we

Customer Question

Hi! Our hen hasn't layed in 6 months or longer and today we discovered her poofed up, comb drooping, lethargic with a swollen, soft stomach. I don't think she is egg bound because it's been so long since she last layed... plus her stomach is soft like it is filled with water.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the bird. What is the bird's name?
Customer: Dune
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Dune?
Customer: She is eating, has fairly normal poo except is also dripping a yellow/brown liqued from her vent.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

I believe that you're correct. Here's a good synopsis of the causes of fluid collecting in the abdomen:

Her cloacal discharge suggests salpingitis as you'll see as one of the considerations for fluid collection but I can't rule out a diarrhea secondary to enteritis (bacterial, fungal, viral, toxic), intestinal parasites, and liver disease (another cause of the fluid).

Regretttably, these hens are most often culled particularly in production flocks. Please respond with further questions or concerns after reviewing the link if you wish

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your reply. Should we attempt to drain her stomach to see what the contents look like? We are snowed in right now and can't leave the house. I was planning to bring her inside to watch her fluid intake and maybe give her a warm soak? What would you recommend we do to make her comforatble? We've noticed a droopy cone for a while, but I just thought it was because she was getting older. If she is alive when the ice melts, can you recommend a dewormer or antibiotic in the off chance it is a parasite or infection? Can I get these over the counter or do I need to get a veterinarian to write a script?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

You're quite welcome. If you brought her to me, aspirating a small amount of fluid and having my pathologist examine its cellularity and physical characteristics would be my initial diagnostic of choice. The droopy comb indicates profound dehydration and so replacing her fluid and electrolyte deficit would be the best attempt at making her feel better. If you're comfortable tubing a hen, you can do with Pedialyte (or generics) and distend her crop ~ half full. Otherwise, a small syringe and careful oral administration will have to do.

You're necessarily constrained to over the counter Duramycin-10 (tetracycline) added to her drinking water as per the label's instructions or over the counter injectable Tylan-50 (tylosin) which can be injected into her breast muscle daily for 5-7 days at a dose of 5-20 mg/lb. I don't believe that you'll find either an antibiotic or wormer helpful at this late date, however. You'll find over the counter wormers as well in your local feed store. Wazine (piperazine) is a common roundwormer.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your recommendations. Is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening in the future or any other care that needs to be taken to the rest of our flock?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

We need to clarify what the cause is of this happening before we can prognose how we might approach the rest of your flock. A necropsy of this hen is important in that regard. Your vet can arrange such a necropsy or if you're fortunate to have a county animal disease diagnostic laboratory or veterinary teaching hospital near you, you could bring Dune to them.

You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin