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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:42 pm 
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This is an appendix to another post about the illness and death of our beautiful Polish - Gracie. If you are squeamish - do not read on. We did this autopsy in an attempt to find any clues to the cause of her illness. I felt quite sick when watching my hubby do this, but the first part was the worst. After her body was removed and wrapped up and we were just looking at organs it was simply a matter of trying to solve a puzzle. Even if we can't work out what happened to Gracie, perhaps this pictures will help someone else understand how chicken insides work.

Her illness extended over four weeks. Her symptoms were

lethargy/sleepiness, head droopiness
Shaking head jerkily on occasion
We found some round worms
Some right side and right leg paralysis increasing toward the end
Some respiratory mucas at end

1. Evidence of vomitting at end.
Image

2. Method of entry through chest wall
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3. Chest opened
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4. Heart in centre - liver we think
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5. Pink lung being detached from chest wall
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6. Redder lung being detached
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7. Heart and lungs removed. We think one lung looks darker in colour
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8. Heart sliced in half - we think it looks normal?
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9. Lung with slice - it oozed bubbly froth - possible infection. Actually both lungs were very wet, this one was the worst.
Image
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10. Crop
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11. Bile duct?? staining surrounding it
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12. Pancreas?
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13. Kidneys?
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14. Intestine
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15. Gizzard opened
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16. Underside of liver??
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Our conclusion was that she died of pnuemonia, but that something else sickened her to begin with. We still don't know what that was. The head shake and the paralysis may indicate some central nervous system involvement. I would be interested in ideas from others.

Hope this was educational to someone and that I never have to do it again.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:23 pm 
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Flock Master
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To me the liver looked a bit paler than normal... did you cut the liver open to see what was inside it ? A Marek's diseased live is very red and swollen, the dark coloring is not evident

the kidneys have a problem, don't look normal at all

The ... lungs were ok... but a little congested, think this happened right at the end to be honest..

heart looked like she has a heart attack at end and this is what ended up killing her, which caused the lungs to bleed

Intestine looked good

Did you open the crop up.. I would like to see inside it .. the crop color looked ok to me

What did her vent area up look like please.. inside her .. where the eggs form that section.. very important

Also at the back of the mouth area... what did it look like.. trachea and sinus area

I would be expecting to see growths of some sort if it was Marek's

She looked like she has a Vitamin K deficiency..

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:46 pm 
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Well done! I know it is traumatic but I think it is a really useful exercise!

I'm impressed with hubby's butchering skills...and your photos are very clear. Thank you Cathy, and I don't mind if you blame me for at least nudging you to do this...If it isn't too late, I would also like to see those areas mentioned by Sandy...


(I found a lot of fat in some of my Australorps - always have a really good examination of the organs whenever I kill a chook.)


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 Post subject: Last few
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:21 pm 
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View upwards to the top part of the trachea:
Image

View down mouth - can't see any abnormalities:
Image

Slices of liver:
Image
Image

Opened crop:
Image

Ceca
Image
Image
Opened (smell was putrid):
Image

Tubes going to vent:
Image
Opened:
Image

Kidney shots:
I'm not sure what chook kidneys are supposed to look like but these were very lumpy.
Uncut kidneys:
Image
Slice of kidney:
Image

I don't think I can really get any more photos that are of any use. It sounds like she didn't have Mareks if what you say about the liver is true Sandy.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:40 pm 
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Kidney disease? Agree with Sandy that they don't look good :(

Do you normally save the giblets to cook when you butcher for the table - if so you'd have a fair idea of what healthy gizzard and kidneys would normally look like?

I know very little about kidney problems but will be doing so research - thank you. Now you will put her to rest with a dignified closure. RIP Gracie.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:43 pm 
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Very interesting photos. Thankyou for doing it and posting.

NellyG

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 Post subject: Re: fat
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:59 pm 
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Eggsalive wrote:
Not much fat on this little girl Cackles.


Sandy, if she did have a Vitamin K deficiency, do you think my other Polish might have that too. One of them is slightly quieter than the others - but not sick. How do they get that deficiency?


Extremely bad infection in the reproductive area.. ovaries totally spent... nothing like what ovaries look like......... this is what killed her

There was absolutely nothing you could have done to prevent this from happening ... and no medication could have reversed it

Kidneys ... Infectious Synovitis... same as Mycoplasma but a different strain... I would have also said a strain of Salmonella

I'm taking a wild swing at this

Pullorum
is an acute infectious disease which once ran rampant. It affects young chicks and can result in 100% mortality. It is caused by a strain of salmonella. Strangely, it seems to affect heavy breed fowls more than light breeds.

Pullorum is spread in a wide variety of ways. Feather dander, flies, cohabitation with infected chicks, on clothing and shoes and even infection passed through the ovary and into the egg, where the chick is infected before birth. This makes the disease very serious, particularly on commercial poultry farms.

Infected chicks often die without any prior warning, but some may have white, pasty droppings which stick to the vent and which the chicks strain to pass. Others may gasp as if suffocating. Chicks which survive fail to thrive and are not generally useful. Another strain affects older birds which causes eggs to be infected in the ovaries.

Such birds are useless as breeders. The disease can be treated by the use of certain antibiotics given in the feed. In Australia, this disease is notifiable, but does not have the same impact on poultry as it once did, due to vigorous testing and veterinary intervention.

I have a thread on the information site on this .. have a read... remember all the symptoms from pm's are not necessarily the same for every bird, they say enlarged this and that... her organs didn't seem that enlarge to be honest.. but the infection was severe.. and spreading .. poisoning her little body as it went I think..

Any way's .. have a read of this link
http://fowlfacts.proboards.com/index.cg ... 1121940446



Plus Vitamin K deficiency due to the secondary and medication she was given during her illness..

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:12 pm 
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I have been to Sydney today for a medical appointment so have missed much of the threads.

Cathy good on you for doing an autopsy - they do help when they tell us what the problem was and in this case its straight forward. Yes its a genital system infection - no doubts.

The other changes you have noted in the liver, lungs and the thickening of the heart walls are mostly related to her death and acute illness. The darkening of the lungs will have almost certainly be the way Gracie has been lying in both illness and death.

The infection was not going to respond to the Oxyb Antibiotics and probably by the time she presented as being sick the infection would have shut down blood supply to the ovaries and even the bigger guns would have been wasted.

Even if she had lived she never would have laid any eggs.

How can she become infected - just one of those things. Useless fact but do you know that the numerical incidence of cervical cancer amongst nuns in the vactican city is exactly the same as that of the general population of women.

Mike

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:26 pm 
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It may have been a puss sack she expelled... it may not .. it may have been the reproductive organs decaying and detaching themselves.. but it did look like some sort of puss didn't it

Why did she get it ... I have no idea
Is it common... well yes and no.... I have seen varying degrees of this sort of infection in birds over the years ... maybe around 20 of them, but if you think about how a hen is put together and what she does over her life time

I'm actually amazed that this sort of thing doesn't happen to them a lot more, to have it happen to a bird that hasn't started to lay is extremely sad.

Like I said.. its was a wild guessing game with Pullorum.. even vets don't know why this sort of thing happens to the birds or what brings it on, some how they get a mild infection in the ovaries... then this turns septic .. sometimes the ovaries detach and the hens expel them and the hens live

In this case she had two areas that were just puss sacks... so her system was being poisoned.. nothing you could have done to change the outcome, but you did give her the most wonderful few weeks of her life .. pottering around being with you and your family and keeping her safe and loving her

Big Hugs

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:46 am 
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Thank you for overcoming your squeamishness and taking - and then posting! - the photos. They are very clear, excellently detailed, and very informative. The fact you knew to spread things out and take slices speaks of a scientific mind in there somewhere.

I'm sorry your sweet chook had to die for these photos to occur, but I hope that knowing you did everything possible to make the last days comfortable in an inevitable death helps. (It helped me when the vet did an autopsy on my Isa Browns and told me it was cancer and that there was nothing I could have done, beyond what I did to make them comfortable and happy in their last days).

I also hope it helps to know that your work will really help others. You've inspired me - should another of my chooks die (heaven forbid), I'll try to do the same. Education is always valuable.

Also thank you to the informed people who can say "this was healthy and that wasn't"! :)


Last edited by infoaddict on Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:17 pm 
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You have to remember her ovaries were immature so they don't reflect what you see at most PM's

She had no cluster of small ova happening at all from the pictures..

Click to see larger pictures

A normal Reproductive Tract
Image

Oviduct of an inactive layer
Image


Reproductive diagram
Image

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:22 pm 
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Human heart

Image

Bird heart, healthy

Image

Liver.. Marek's diseased liver.. normal livers in chickens look just like normal liver you buy from the butchers, deep in color and texture

Image

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:40 pm 
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I'm going to add this link into the Medical files for the site... I think its turning into an excellent reference for anybody who would contemplate doing their own PM

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:34 pm 
You've done an amazing photographic job. Well done! And thanks for sharing this. I know I'm coming in late and I'm not an expert at all. But I wanted to chip in because I could see a couple of things you might like to know for future use.
My impressions are that what you've marked as 'ovaries' are the ceca. They would most certainly stink when punctured. The tan coloured stuff in them looks like normal cecal waste.
However I'm not sure the pinkish blotchy things are kidneys, or if they are, they're grotesquely malformed (enough to be a cause of death). Kidneys are neat, whitish or cream, jelly bean shaped organs that sit very high against the bird's loins. They're hard to get at, so is it possible they were missed? (Then again, you did get the lungs out intact... bravo.)
Anyway, what you've noted as the kidneys might actually be follicular material, i.e. part of the reproductive tract. I hope somebody else might correct me if I'm wrong here.
But if I'm right, this might put a different slant on the diagnosis.
It's a very brave thing, to do an autopsy in this way. I'm sure we can all learn from it.
Best wishes,
Jennie


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 Post subject: ovaries
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Thanks Sandy for the pics
Yes Chooken, I can see what you are saying. I've gone through my photos here and can't see the ovaries. It's hard to tell. If the ovaries were so small we couldn't spot them then they are unlikely to have been the problem.

Image

We can't remember seeing anything else. Perhaps it was very small and not developed so it was lumped in with the digestive tract.

I think I've found a picture of the kidneys in situ before they were removed. They look a bit better here, maybe they got damaged. Although we did find that when removing organs from the rib cage they have the shape of the lumpy rib cage on the back of them.

Image


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