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 Post subject: ill muscovy ducklings
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:19 pm 
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BASIC CHECK LIST FOR THE SICK BIRD
Please answer these brief questions below, so we can help you as soon as possible.

Age: > 1 week
Breed: Muscovy
Sex: assorted

Your Location- Pakenham, Vic

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? - As much detail as possible please.
ANSWER: Listless, weak, floppy head/neck, laying down with lack of coordination in the feet. When I talk to them or touch them and they try to orient themselves to my presence they look like I do when I'm suffering vestibular disorientation... stargazing, repetative and shakey head circling with a tilt. Feet are cool despite lamps etc.

These babies were initially with mum and appeared to be doing well. Late this afternoon I came out and found them looking very chilled and listless, a few of them dead. I brought them in to put them under lamps assuming chilling. They are warm and have come around but are now showing these other signs making me think there is something else going on.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling
ANSWER: No respiratory symptoms, digestive changes are difficult to assess - some grit/dirt in their bills when I dipped their bills into water, droppings have not been produced. They're on chick starter, have been eatting that and anything they could pick off the ground. The pen is clear of any visible toxic plants. Cocci treatment in the drinkers.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:28 pm 
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There has been a number of similar duckling issues lately.

This one has a lot of relevant discussion in it:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7987663&start=0

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:30 am 
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Update on the ducklings:

The weakest has passed away, poor thing.
I took the only vitamin I had - Pregnancy Smart - and gave them quarter of a caplet each. Standard cap contains fish Oil, EPA, DHA Evening Primrose Oil, Equiv GLA, Iodine, Folic Acid B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, Vit E, Vit C, Calc, Magnesium, Iron, Zinch, betacarotene, D3

A short while after this when I peeked back in on them, they had stopped doing the stargazing and head circling so much and are looking more alert and attempting to hold their heads up. When they attempt to walk however, they are doing so in clockwise circles. There is a small smear of poo in there now as well, which contains some liquid but predominantly thick/dryish white urate and nothing else. So dehydration? There was shallow water trays in their sheds and I had seen them drinking though. Filled fresh and from our tap water that we drink, dogs, cats, rest of the birds etc. Food was standard chicken starter crumbles I've raised Aylesbury ducklings on before. :hmmm:

It's been a fun day with both of the kids having a bug going on as well. :aaargh:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:23 am 
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Because the capsule you gave the babies seems high in the B vitamins and it has worked on their star gazing I think the following probably applies (imo):

Polyneuritis -Thiamine (B1) deficiency- may be seen in birds ~3 wk after they are fed a thiamine-deficient diet. As the deficiency progresses to the legs, wings, and neck, birds may sit on flexed legs and draw back their heads in a star-gazing position. Retraction of the head is due to paralysis of the anterior neck muscles. Soon after this stage, chickens lose the ability to stand or sit upright and topple to the floor, where they may lie with heads still retracted. Thiamine deficiency may also lead to a decrease in body temperature and respiratory rate. Testicular degeneration may be noted, and the heart may show slight atrophy. Birds consuming a thiamine-deficient diet soon show severe anorexia. They lose all interest in feed and will not resume eating unless given thiamine. If a severe deficiency has developed, thiamine must be force-fed or injected to induce eating.

A Berocca in the water or supplements can provide a quick vitamin fix if the duckling isn't interested in feed.

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index ... d=thiamine

They do recover from it but it can take them a couple of days before they can stand and walk properly and they are quite weak for a week or two afterward. Good luck with them.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:33 am 
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Around 2am then they shook their heads like they were trying to flick something off and then made movements like they do when trying to nibble a bug or blade of grass they've seen, then more headflicking. It was not a trying to swallow something type motion which is more bobbing but looked distinctly like they were seeing and trying to catch invisible bugs.

When I checked on them an hour later they were lying fairly flat. When I touched them they sat up and looked at me but were a bit wobbly. One appeared to have a seizure? Tremors up and down the body for a few seconds.

When I checked at 5 am they had passed.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:46 pm 
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so sorry about your little babies :grouphug:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:58 pm 
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There certainly is something happening with ducks - vague non specific symptoms and dead ducks.

Its also widely spread across Australia. I dont know what !

Mike

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:04 pm 
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One of my ducks has just had a weird one as well. She went lame one afternoon and the next day couldn't walk at all. Brought her in and kept her in a sink - she liked the sink more than a cage as she had her reflection to chat to. I suspected at first it might have been bumblefoot but couldn't find anything that agreed with me. Kept her in for a week and she's only just a few days ago gone back outside as she started walking around a little bit. She's getting stronger again but I still have to help her into the coup at night as it's raised up off the ground and she can't manage the ramp very well yet.

During that, she kept eating and drinking, we gave her a float around in a shell every morning but she just could not walk. No signs of injury to her feet or legs, she didn't seem to be in any pain and there was no unusual warmth. Her only distress was that she couldn't go with the other ducks.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:09 pm 
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If it is a dietary deficiency it would be interesting to find out what brand of food is being fed to the ducklings.

If its the same brand it would be worth finding out if there has been a change to the way the feed has been manufactured??

Clutching at straws I know...

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:10 pm 
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chookyinoz wrote:
There certainly is something happening with ducks - vague non specific symptoms and dead ducks.

Its also widely spread across Australia. I dont know what !

Mike

Anyone else think it's all a bit worrying?

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:18 pm 
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Yes I do and I think C'07 is probably thinking the same way.

I dont know how to approach it big picture wise but something is going on !!

Somebody with dead ducks needs to get in contact with the district vet and make them take notice. Fiona, Amanda ??

Dont settle for a private practice vet - its not their ball game.

Mike

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:13 pm 
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Ducks are normally very hardy animals. They are certainly tougher than chickens. Usually if ducks are fed and wormed ok they are as healthy as horses. This pattern of illness at the moment is odd, and it would be worth getting to the bottom of it if anyone can afford the tests.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:03 pm 
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The food was bog standard barastock chicken starter crumbles. I have used these same crumbles to raise Aylesbury ducklings and chickens for 2 years without issue.

The parent ducks are big, healthy, well fleshed ducks who get standard barastock pellets, veggie/fruit/bread scraps, wheat and once a week a vitamin/codliveroil/eggs/bit of mince in a mash. In the winter I add a bit of corn to their diet. They are wormed regularly. The non-fertile eggs we've used for cooking appear very vital, bright yolks etc. So it seems to me the eggs would have been quite healthy for the growing ducklings. Certainly they did not appear to come out weak or deficient, took to eatting and drinking well within the first day, were active, alert and content. It seems odd to me, if it were a deficiency, that it should come on so quickly - from no symtoms in the mid-morning (about 10amish) to the whole clutch dead by 5 am?

Last year I lost a 6 year old Chinese gander to mysterious circumstances. He went back on his hocks, developed sudden weakness, disorientation, lack of coordination, failed and died within hours at the vets while being examined including the head stretching back. I was told this was merely agonal behaviour related to the process of dying. He was necropsied by an avian vet with nothing specific found. Not sure if it's related but it shocked us given how tough waterfowl are in general.

I thought I'd try to track down the number to send the ducklings in for necropsy and stuck the last 3 in the fridge but my husband then stuck them in the freezer which I assume renders them useless.

I was so thrilled to have these ducklings, loosing them all has been pretty crappy.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:25 pm 
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Amanda

yes freezing does render them fairly unacceptable for PM and resultant tests. However there is a cluster of events that concern us.

Just sit back and wait - Sydneyside, behind the scenes, has agreed to to review and correlate this and other posts and attempt to bring together a picture that can be presented to an animal disease watchdog.

Mike

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:26 pm 
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Cabrissi wrote:
Certainly they did not appear to come out weak or deficient, took to eatting and drinking well within the first day, were active, alert and content. It seems odd to me, if it were a deficiency, that it should come on so quickly - from no symtoms in the mid-morning (about 10amish) to the whole clutch dead by 5 am?



I would suggest you would have noticed symptoms for many days before death if it was a vitamin B deficency. From the experience and knowlege I gained from Vitamin B deficiency since raising Flipps my deficient duck - She was about a week old and showing severe symptopms for that time before treatment of high doses of Vitamins began.

I cant really give comment on other particular vitamins or minerals needed in the diet, But I would presume that with most there would be some sign or symptom for some time before death would occur due to a deficiency.
As with the topic linked early in this thread by Chicken07 I feel that something toxic is a possibility and I do not have any knowlege of any virus that may have caused it.

It is concerning that similar deaths have occurred in such a widespread area.

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