Respiratory Illness - Chicken

Asked November 12, 2014, 5:10 PM EST

I purchased two young pullets (a Favorelle and a Marans) from different sellers at a poultry show in Vancouver, WA on October 18th. One was infested with lice, the other was not. However, since they were brought home together, they've been in quarantine completely separate from my healthy existing flock. The lice issue has been resolved, but now they are both showing symptoms of a respiratory issue. One is sneezing but is otherwise doing fine. The other is really struggling, and I sincerely thought I was going to lose her this weekend. She sneezes, had watery eyes and rattles when she breathes and was really lethargic. There wasn't any puffiness in her eyes, or her joints. I've had her on Oxytetracycline for four days, and while she is no longer lethargic, the rattling in her breathing has worsened. I have them in a warm room and have been providing apple cider vinegar in their water along with electrolytes. I don't seem to have access to a poultry-aware vet where I live (The Dalles). I'm concerned about making the 90-minute drive each way to Portland to reach one, causing them more stress, to have them looked at and tested. I would like to have them tested for Mycoplasma gallisepticum, but I don't know how to go about doing so. I would much rather find out what they are infected with than to just simply cull them, or eventually integrate them into my existing flock should they ever become symptom-free. Any assistance or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Wasco County Oregon

1 Response

Usually, because of the low economic value of a chicken, diagnosis is done during necropsy. Live birds can be tested for M.g. by swabbing their choanal cleft and culturing the swabs. It is best to cull these birds as even if M.g. is identified and successfully treated, many birds become carriers for life and will redevelop symptoms in the future. For diagnosis, the Vet Diagnostic Lab at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine can perform the proper tests (541-737-3261.