swollen abdomen on chicken

kniffin50August 18, 2008

Hi,need your help again.Our rhode island red of 5yrs of age has developed what seems to be a enlarged stomach.

She always followed us around the yard but now it's getting difficult for her to walk, she waddles.Good appetite and she drinks alot of water,but I notice she can't poop to good.She does it but it dosen't seem like a healthy one.Any ideas?


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worms? egg block? mine have had both

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 7:58PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I had two hens fall ill with this same weird ailment a few months back--distended abdomens (which felt like fluid, not solid tissue, to the touch), runny poops and dirty vent feathers, drinking lots of water. I took them to my vet and it kinda mystified him, as well. He finally gave me some Lasix (a diuretic) and Baytril (antibiotic) to give them, he also gave them a Lasix & Baytril injection as well. They pooped water like mad as the Lasix worked to reduce the fluid build up. They SLOWLY improved and while the large abdomen did not fully go away, they were perking around and eating normally. Both were older hens.

I had another hen who developed the same symptoms about three weeks after the first two, so we took her to the vet and got the same treatment for her. She started to improve greatly, and then suddenly died. :( She was only 2 years old and had been as healthy as a horse.

All three hens had been robustly healthy beforehand. The only thing out of the ordinary that had happened just before they got ill, was a strange outbreak of tiny black & orange caterpillars in one of our trees, which the chickens refused to eat--except I think that these same three hens had each tasted or swallowed one. When chickens won't eat a bug, it MUST be something awful.

Poison caterpillars? Best I could narrow them down to was Gypsy Moth caterpillars, but it was not an exact match.

The vet still seems to think it was some kind of bacterial infection. If it was, it was a resistant strain, because it was VERY tough to kill! The fluid build up and excessive thirst pointed to liver/kidney failure, which is very often fatal. My vet didn't think the first tow hens would live.

None of my other birds have been ill at all. Strange thing! Hope this helps in some way...

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 3:56AM
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Thanks for the replys.Even though we live in a farming town,there are no vets that will look at chickens.Will propably take April down to UCONN to see whats up. We did just have a gypsy moth infestation,I wonder.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 5:04AM
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If one dies send it in to your state's avian lab and have a vet there give you a diagnosis. You should be able to locate it through your extension service. We had cornish cross just failing to thrive and their legs bending. Sent two to the lab and they had rickets. The calcium/phosphorus ration on the feed was way off. We got full restitution from the mill. Tom

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 12:23PM
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Have had one bird with a swllen abdomen and slightly panting. I was advised to keep her warm and try the warm water bath in case of egg bound. Nothing helped, she finally was unable to walk w/o falling over. Today we sadly dispatched her and in the interests of science, we opened her up and she was full of dark brown fluid and enlarged organs. Obviously, we had done the best thing. She was eating and drinking and pecking at the others, but must have felt terrible, so I'm glad we were brave enough to put her out of her misery.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 3:24PM
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