Help! Gasping for air/Swollen eyes?

Posted by: MotherhenXOXO

Help! Gasping for air/Swollen eyes? - 03/16/16 03:17 AM

I have a Japanese hen whom has been sick since the beginning of January. First, shortly before she got sick our eldest hen died from what I think is the same thing. Her only symptom was gasping for air during bed time. Other then that she played and ate fine.We had a vet see her and they gave her Baytril, but after the second dose she passed away. Now I have another hen who is doing the same thing.... gasping for air at bed time and also while being held. At first, she played and ate fine as well but eventually she became weak, lethargic and not eating well.She now has also developed swollen eyes. She has seen 4 vets and has been on Baytril twice and Clavamox once. Now she is on SMZ-TMP. After her third vet visit I discovered she and our other babies had bugs. I treated that and as far as I know that problem is gone. Her last vet visit I was told she is probably severely anemic from the bugs which I had been already trying to treat her for, but I don't think this is what is wrong with her.I've done everything I can think of and don't want to give up on her.No one knows what is wrong with her.Please help if possible.I also wanted to add that just recently I noticed that 3 of my hens(they are sitting on eggs) faces look like they are turning yellow around their eyes and beaks? I started them on scratch grain about a month ago and they have been eating eggs a little more often then usual....could this be why or am I getting more sick hens? Any advice would be great even if it is just an idea! Lilybug and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Posted by: Robbie

Re: Help! Gasping for air/Swollen eyes? - 03/16/16 04:14 AM

There are a number of respiratory diseases that chickens get, none of which are good news. They often have similar symptoms,which can vary bird by bird. The only way to tell for sure is to have samples tested by a lab. These include Mycoplasma; Infectious bronchitis; Infectious laryngotracheitis. the most common is Mycoplasma gallisepticum .
Antibiotics won't kill the infecting organisms but will control secondary bacterial pathogens.
Even if a chicken gets better they usually become carriers, and infect new birds, and symptoms can re appear each time the birds are stressed. The key to management is to reduce stress.

It is very difficult to maintain a flock free of Mycoplasma. It can be done, most practically by starting over with a flock from a Mycoplasma free source. but it's tricky to keep them Mycoplasma free over time, if they are free ranged or housed outdoors.

If it's not disease, it could be that your coop has poor ventilation leading to ammonia build up from manure. Is your bedding dusty or wet? Is there manure build up? Poor ventilation and ammonia lead to respiratory symptoms too. If you can smell ammonia it's way too high and will affect your chickens.
If you are feeding just scratch grain, that does not provide enough nutrients as the sole source of feed. It's thought that chickens eat might start to eat eggs to get more protein. You can buy age appropriate feed from any feed mill that supplies chicken products, that has added vitamins and minerals. Feed should be fresh for optimum nutrition. Scratch is OK as a treat but they should not get too much of it.
Posted by: MotherhenXOXO

Re: Help! Gasping for air/Swollen eyes? - 03/16/16 08:17 AM

Hello Robbie, Thank you for the reply. I was thinking Mycoplasma but she has no discharge or sneezing/coughing. Just the gasping only while held or at bedtime. Plus, wouldn't my other chickens have showed some sign of this by now since it does spread? We clean their bedding on a daily basis and everything was thoroughly cleaned when we found the bugs.We added scratch grain along with their layer crumbles,so they get both.Actually my husband just changed the layer crumbles to chick crumbles because a vet recommended it.They also get lettuce, rolled oats,and mealworms on a daily basis.Sometimes yogurt and eggs.I have been orally giving Lilybug Nutri-Drench vitamins,Nutri-Cal High Calorie Nutritional Supplement,Missing Link Ultimate Poultry Superfood supplement,baby food and yogurt.I've read that Braggs raw apple cider vinegar does wonders, so I started putting that in their plastic water bowls yesterday.All that is not eaten gets thrown away everynight and new stuff is put out for them.
Posted by: Robbie

Re: Help! Gasping for air/Swollen eyes? - 03/16/16 11:50 AM

Hmmmm sounds like you shouldn't be having any problems. Mycoplasma does spread slowly though, and symptoms vary bird by bird but you are right if it's been months and no other chickens have signs of respiratory disease, that's good news. I'm sorry I don't have any other ideas what might be causing the swollen eyes and gasping.
The colour of hen's combs changes depending on where they are in their lay cycle- the rule of thumb is your fattest, best feathered, glossiest reddest combed hens are your lousiest layers wink Perhaps your setting hens aren't actually sick from anything? Are there any other symptoms?
Posted by: MotherhenXOXO

Re: Help! Gasping for air/Swollen eyes? - 03/16/16 01:27 PM

That's all the symptoms for Lilybug and our sitting hens!This is definitely a mystery!Thank you for everything!I'll keep you posted!
Posted by: Robbie

Re: Help! Gasping for air/Swollen eyes? - 03/16/16 05:11 PM

Perhaps someone else might be able to help more and post some suggestions. I hope everything turns out just fine. smile