following information was submitted thanks to Arlene having the nerve and curiosity
to do this necropsy. Lyn and I both encouraged her to take pictures and
document. As of now, she is waiting for professional opinions from two
well known veterinarians in this field.
Description of hen: abdominal area swollen like a
water balloon so bad that she couldn't nestle down with her feet/legs under
her. This hen was heavy in weight but breast area emaciated so I
couldn't account for the weight except for whatever was in the abdomen.
Fecal material attached to rear feathers,
white/green/gray and not well formed.
Treatment before Euthanasia: I wormed with
Fenbendazole (for capillaria); later Sulmet (antibiotic) and then Piperzine
(round/cecal worms). Earlier I'd tried a molasses flush.
This was over a period of about two weeks or so. I
didn't really have the nerve to put her down and called the vet who would not
give me a syringe to do it. He would charge $12 to put her down. Today for the
first time she didn't leave the hen house. I knew this had to be done so I did
I put engine starter fluid on some paper
towels in a five gallon bucket and placed her in it with a lid and heavy brick
on top. I did hear some movement after a few minutes--not at first and Chuck
said it could be "after death" flopping as they do when you cut
the head off. At any rate I did it and left her for about 30 minutes so I
didn't have to anguish over how long it took.
I went back with a large exacto blade, surgical
gloves, newspaper, plastic and plastic bags, plus my digital camera. Lyn's
words were ringing in my ears to get pictures.
As soon as I inserted the exacto blade near the
breast bone a flood of yellowish, clear fluid gushed out. That was the weight
factor. I cut down to the vent and could tell immediately that she was NOT an
internal egg layer but was full of cysts or tumors. The pictures are very
Necropsy 1 shows the
initial picture of the largest cysts (I will refer to them as cysts unless I
learn differently) and the entrails on the left. On the far upper right and
partly obscured by feathers is something blocking the vent...not sure what
that is or if it's supposed to be there or a tumor. Lower right I believe is
where the waste is passed out the vent if the passage is unobstructed.
(click on thumbnails to
Necropsy 2 is
another view showing many more cysts ranging in size from marble to golf ball
size. I don't know if you can see but these cysts are floating around in
the fluid that filled her cavity--and this was after I'd drained most of it
Large Cysts: I
removed the foremost cysts and you can see the size next to my gloved finger.
These were about golf ball size.
In this picture you can see the clusters of many smaller
cysts and see the pooling of the fluid.
Vent Tumor: I'm
not sure that this picture is correctly labeled but I don't know what other
internal organ this would be. We may need to correct this if we get corrected
information. There is some type of appenditure attached that seems to be
connect up towards the other entrails near the breast bone. It appeared to me
that it was blocking the excretion of waste matter,
I'm not certain.
Conclusions: The only conclusion that I have drawn
is that this hen was filled with tumors or cysts and I would like to know the
possible causes and prognosis and if it has any treatment. How common is it?
Is it more prevalent in certain breeds? Do these symptoms (swelling with
fluid) present themselves in any other condition or disease? So you see,
in stead of conclusions I have questions that I hope to find answers to. I
also know that putting this hen down was the right thing to do and I should
have done it sooner.
Because of the difficulty of viewing photos alone,
the person I contacted declined to make a formal diagnosis or state a
definitive conclusion.. He was very helpful and I appreciate his time. Based
on information that I gathered, the following are my conclusions.
The fluid filled sacs were cysts and NOT
tumors, nor were they eggs.
The cause or causes remain undetermined and there probably
is no treatment.
The fluid most likely resulted as a physiological response
to the many cysts in the abdominal cavity.
I'm sorry that I couldn't find out more but I just
couldn't see the expense of sending the hen to a lab. Perhaps if something
like this happens in the future I may reconsider.