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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:55 pm 
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Location: Stawell, Vic
Age: 12 weeks old
Breed: Dorking
Sex: Female

Your Location- country, state (different areas/climates have different problems)
ANSWER: Stawell, Vic

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? - As much detail as possible please.
ANSWER: She is having trouble breathing. It's noisy, laboured and she's gasping.. holding up her head as she does.

Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.
ANSWER: Havn't seen her droppings since this started.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling
ANSWER: Breathing sounds raspy, laboured.

Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying
ANSWER: Empty crop, she hasn't eaten or drank since..

Condition Changes?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering
ANSWER: N/A

Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness
ANSWER: She's got her eyes closed, in DH's arms right now.

Agility Changes? - eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels
ANSWER: As above.

Describe your usual worming routine and products. [If none, say so and skip the next 3 worming questions.] Do you have a cycle that you use eg. every 3 months, or every six months?
ANSWER: None.

Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc
ANSWER: None

Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather
ANSWER: She had some of the adult mash and some scraps when this happened. Not her usual diet, it was a treat. The scraps were pear peelings.


Ok, so we fed her and the other Dorkings some mash as a treat.. as well as letting them out of their area for a leg-stretch.. she was eating with the others when she stopped, started "coughing" (sounded like sneezing at first) and stopped eating. She seemed to have trouble, but I thought she'd be ok once the food she'd guzzled had gone down.. after a couple of hours, she didn't look any better, so we picked her up and noticed she wasn't breathing well.

We've taken some advice to give her water, but sadly it hasn't worked. We're worried something may be caught in her wind pipe, but we can't see anything. At the moment she sounds like an old man breathing, with her eyes closed, reaching up into the air when breathing.

We've tried massaging her, turning her upside-down, all kinds of things. I hope someone her can offer some suggestions too?

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:27 pm 
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If you have checked carefully in the throat for any obstruction and there's nothing there, it's sounding more like a respiratory infection. They can come on suddenly especially if there's been some stress such as a cage change or some exertion or shock.

I would not try to give the bird water right now. I would just have it available. I would leave the bird the right way up and put it somewhere that is quiet and let it relax. It's obviously in some distress. Bright lights and handling may distress her further right now. Sometimes respiratory distress can be eased by a vaporiser. You do the same thing that you would do with a small child with croup. Put the bird in a box in a small room such as the laundry with a vaporiser on (no eucalyptus though). It humidifies the air and seems to ease the breathing in some birds.

You may also find that she stresses less if you put a buddy bird with her. See how things progress. Sometimes they improve quite a bit over a number of hours.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:31 pm 
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Just an after thought and it's probably unlikely. When you looked down her throat, did you notice that it was clean and clear. They can have worms called gape-worms in the throat. They are small and red. Has she been wormed?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Location: Stawell, Vic
Thanks for the help!

We saw no worms or anything odd in the throat, just a bit of food around the inside of the mouth. (It was wet mash, kinda sticky)

I wouldn't imagine there has been any shock to them lately. They've been in that spot for over a week now, and this afternoon we opened one end and placed the treat food down on the door (which was on the floor), and that's as far as she stepped before this all started! The others are all fine.

She coughs every now and then. Just now she coughed and shook her head around, as if trying to dislodge something. She can't breathe without stretching her neck out.. so she's quite tired. She's going to have a long night, I imagine. :(

I've never taken care of children or know what croup is.. sorry. We don't have a vaporiser or a good way of steaming up a room either.. :( For now, I've put her in a cage in the laundry, but she doesn't look as comfortable as she was sitting near asleep (as she could be, considering) on my lap. :) Oh well, she couldn't have stayed there all night anyway. lol

So, it's a wait and see thing, I suppose. Poor girl.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:11 pm 
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It's good that there's no worms there.

How long have you had these birds? Have you introduced any new birds lately?

It's quite normal for birds with a resp infection to both cough and shake their heads. Sometimes those with a lot of mucous will even fling it out of their mouth or nostrils by doing this. Have you had a look in the choana? That is a slit in the roof of the mouth. Sometimes food can get caught there.

Sorry about the croup thing. I forget that some people haven't had to deal with it. Croup is a condition that young children can get as a result of a viral infection of the upper airway. The throat and the larynx can become inflamed and they get a cough, wheezing and/or hoarse and laboured noisy breathing. It usually happens at night. The usual first aid is to get the child into moist air. Those without a vaporiser go to the bathroom with the child, close all doors and windows and run the shower on hot until the room steams up. Sometimes the breathing eases very quickly. I've found it can also work in some cases for asthmatics as dry cold air can be a problem for them. If it doesn't work then you get them to hospital for medications, but I've found the bathroom steamup very useful over the years.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:30 pm 
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Chicken07 wrote:
It's good that there's no worms there.

How long have you had these birds? Have you introduced any new birds lately?
We've had these birds since they were about 10 days old. We've introduced two chooks 3 weeks ago, and 2 weeks ago, these Dorkings (at 11 weeks old) were introduced to the entire flock (including the two new birds). The Dorkings are in a temporary pen inside the main pen, to get them use to each other before we join them together. One thing I can tell you, the main flock has had a cold on and off since the weather changed at the end of the heat/humidity. Most of the girls are fine now, but one isn't 100% yet. There's another who still sneezes on occasion too. I probably should have waited until everyone was 100% before putting the Dorkings into the same yard, but we did it because they're getting so big, and the temporary grower pen was just getting far too small for them. (Now I feel guilty!!)

Chicken07 wrote:
It's quite normal for birds with a resp infection to both cough and shake their heads. Sometimes those with a lot of mucous will even fling it out of their mouth or nostrils by doing this. Have you had a look in the choana? That is a slit in the roof of the mouth. Sometimes food can get caught there.
I don't think we've seen the choana.. We will take a look, but I didn't see any food inside her mouth at all, except the bits around the beak.

Chicken07 wrote:
Sorry about the croup thing. I forget that some people haven't had to deal with it. Croup is a condition that young children can get as a result of a viral infection of the upper airway. The throat can swell and they get a cough, wheezing and/or hoarse and laboured noisy breathing. It usually happens at night. The usual first aid is to get the child into moist air. Those without a vaporiser go to the bathroom with the child, close all doors and windows and run the shower on hot until the room steams up. Sometimes the breathing eases very quickly. I've found it can also work in some cases for asthmatics as dry cold air can be a problem for them. If it doesn't work then you get them to hospital for medications, but I've found the bathroom steamup very useful over the years.
Ah, no worries! Perhaps a long shower is in order.. (for me!!) and chooky can come into the bathroom with us. It's not exactly air-tight, though.. if it helps her, we'll do our best. :)

So, if it is a resp. infection or disease.. is there anything else we can do for her? Would it help if I had a short video of her symptoms?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Now that you explain, it does make sense. So they were probably exposed to an infection a week ago and now you're seeing some symptoms. These lingering 'colds' can be a nuisance.

I would make sure your 12 week old birds are on a diet that is mostly grower crumble. I'm not sure how you planned to mix them with an adult flock, but young birds don't do very well with older birds. Their food quality is really important while they're growing, but in a mixed aged flock they often don't get good access to the food and water sources. You won't get the best results or the healthiest birds by feeding your 12 week old birds the same food as an adult layer flock. You've probably already thought about that - just mentioning it in case.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:47 pm 
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Quote:
Would it help if I had a short video of her symptoms?

If you wish to show us a video, just upload it to youtube and post the link here. The more information we get, the better.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:57 pm 
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Thanks again! We've been feeding them mostly grower crumbs (they're medicated too) and they havn't had much in the way of treats at all. Today was an exception because they were being allowed out into the main pen while the main flock were out free-ranging.

I was planning on keeping them separated for a few more weeks yet, but havn't thought about what to do about feeding yet. It's tricky. As I said to DH today, next time we do this, we'll make a proper grower pen. This temporary stuff was fine while they were chicks, but they really are getting big fast now.

Anyway, here is a small video. She's coughing occasionally too.. but we didn't get that on video. (You know what they say about children and animals..)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8dOIs3MAuY

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:07 pm 
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Thanks for that. Yes, I would say definitely a respiratory infection. Have you lost any other birds in the flock?

Respiratory infections can be caused by virual, bacterial or other. A healthy adult chicken will have a strong immune system and will usually fight off a mild infection. Chicks, or young growers are not as strong. They can struggle and it's possible to lose them to these infections. How has it affected the rest of your flock? If you have had deaths, I would consider taking her to the vet for antibiotics. Normally, I would wait a bit and see how she copes and if there's any evidence of secondary bacterial infection. In this case though, I would consider medicating more quickly due to her age and vulnerability. Perhaps as you watch her tonight and tomorrow you will get an idea of how she's doing. It's just something to think about. We do have those on here who do not believe in giving antibiotics to help chickens fight off infection, so it depends how you feel about these things. Also, antibiotics do not always fix the problem. The chicken still has to have the strength and health to fight it off.

Let us know how she goes. My fingers are crossed for a big improvement overnight.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:36 pm 
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We havn't lost any birds, no.. The only ones effected by any colds are the main flock. The 6 12 week old Dorkings (minus the one in the bathroom now), the 3 Wyandottes (who are in the main flock now), and broody with her 7 week old chicks are all fine. Of the other girls, a few got the sneezes, and one of my older Dorkings is acting more aloof than usual, but not terribly so.. she's just going to bed a bit earlier than normal, and is sleeping in the nest box instead of roosting.

I'll keep a close eye on her. She's in the bathroom at the moment, breathing in steam from the shower. She's still sneezing and wheezing, so hopefully she doesn't get worse tomorrow. :(

If I were to consider antibiotics, does that involve a vet visit, or is there a broad spectrum one I could try from a supplies store?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:47 pm 
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If everything else has been fine, that's good. Hopefully this one will be fine without any medication as well.

If you do ever need antibiotics suitable for a resiratory infection, the vet is the best place to get them. The prescription-only products work better and the vet can pick the most likely one to be effective. You can also buy some tetracycline products from the produce store or the pet shops. These are generally less effective, but sometimes they can be better than nothing in a sticky spot.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:36 am 
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Thanks Chicken07 for your help. I really appreciate it.

Sadly the pullet died last night before 10:30pm. DH checked on her during one add break, and by the next add break I checked her and she'd died. It was all so quick! From first symptoms to death in just over 8 hours. I'm considering asking the local vet if they do autopsy.. because I really don't know what I'd be looking for.

I'll keep an eye open on the rest of the young ones. I've never lost a chook to disease before. It's a bit of a shock to the system.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:07 am 
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I'm sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, that's what I was afraid of. Sometimes infections hit hard and fast, especially in young birds. I don't think there was anything that you could have done to prevent that once she was in that state.

If you haven't mixed the other young ones with the flock I would postpone that until they are older and the infection has cleared up.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:24 am 
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Oh how sad! I have been following this thread, unable to offer any advice but just hoping for the best outcome. It really is very sad to read that she passed away after all your efforts. :( Sending hugs over the water for you and the rest of your girls.

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