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Mystery illness

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:21 am
by n_holzer
Hello, I am in desperate need of some advice regarding my two ducks:

Sadly I lost my little miniature Indian Runner girl Beatrice last month as she was suffering from egg yolk peritonitis, and what the vet suspected as a bacterial infection as my three ducks were presenting flourescent green droppings (Beatrice more so); because she was the first to come down with what I felt was general lethargy (ruffled and quiet) and the fact that she had laid an egg sack (shell had failed to calcify) I took her to a local (exotics) vet (as my usual avian vet was on holiday) where they were going to take x-rays to see for any distocia however once anaesthesized they'd noticed she had laid a perfect egg in her carrier, and decided upon just taking bloods and a faecal smear to send off to IDEXX, and sent me home with metronidazole, panacur paste, and critical care (as she had lost a lot of weight). After failing to give the panacur paste to any of the ducks (as I feel it is a stupidly inappropriate product to administer to birds) I started to use Harkermectin on them all. A week later Beatrice seemed a lot brighter and had been laying normally, however when administering the second dose of wormer/flea treatment on Prunella (other female) I had noticed a weight loss (could feel her breast bone) so kept her in. At this point I had recieved the lab results which merely pointed out that her calcium levels were high (vet suggested due to reproductivity), high levels of triglycerides and muscle/tissue damage (which vet suggested could of been down to stress, and when bloods were taken - which we now know is because of the peritonitis) and the faecal screen came back negative. Fast forward a week later and I got home from work noticing that Beatrice who I had put back outside with my drake had laboured breathing and was losing co-ordination so I rushed her to the OOH vets to be put in an oxygen tank and she then laid another sack. In the morning she was bright as usual, but I decided to take her back to my usual avian vet for examination, and after ultrasound scanning her he diagnosed the egg yolk peritonitis. At first he didnt seem hopeful and kept her in for placing a suprelorin implant to stop egg production, and sent her home with clavaseptin tablets. She seemed to be doing ok, and was putting on weight however a week later started to deteriorate and so I started to crop feed her. A week later I took her back to the vets, and he said she was very pale and he suspected internal bleeding, and that he didnt feel there was much more we could do; the next evening I gave her a feed, but she was so weak I just knew that was it, and after saying my goodbyes to her and putting her back into her bed I went to clean up (gone for 5 mins) came back and found her hidden behind her bed laying on her back, legs stretched upwards dead.

Since then, my other two ducks who were also displaying green faeces had been putting on weight, producing more faeces that were less green (then this dissapeared), and seemed very bright (Prunella has been laying perfectly healthy eggs also). Today however, I have noticed the droppings are greenish again, and that Prunella has lost condition. I am at a loss as the lab results from Beatrice showed no parasites, so I dont know whether to rule that out, and when my vet saw Prunella (when he first saw Beatrice) he said he couldnt find any obvious signs of ill-health and didnt know what was causing the weight loss other than potentially stress. She seems bright and tottles around every day foraging in the garden, and Ive seen them both eating (she adores mealworms), I provide fresh feed and water daily with grit and oyster shell, the only thing I can think of thats possibly been a problem is how quickly algae develops on their pond in the sunny weather but because Ive kept them inside the house whilst monitoring they havent exactly been exposed to this, and I clean the pond weekly and change the water. I have a vet appointment for them tomorrow, but Im just afraid its going to be another dead end, and Im so desperate to get to the bottom of this problem! I was wondering whether it could also be the feed I provide and whether this is poor quality? They have commercial duck and geese pellets from Marriages store, but looking on Amazon Im wondering whether I look for something different perhaps...any suggestions on a good feed? Sorry for the long post, but if anybody has any suggestions I would be so grateful.

Thank you! <3

Re: Mystery illness

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:00 pm
by dorsetduckowner
Hiya, you poor thing. What an awful time you have been having. I would get their bloods tested for zinc and lead as soon as possible. All symptoms sound like it could be that. Also avian TB can cause weight loss and sudden death. I would suggest you have a post mortem if you loose any others.
My heart goes out to you, I went through something very similar 2 summers ago.
They can pick up zinc from the environment and even their feed. I assume no heavy metals showed up on x-ray? Long term exposure won't show anything on x ray. I have two instances, one was a tiny bit of galvanised metal from the chicken wire and one was a chronic zinc overdose from their feed (which the feed company confirmed for me).
Keep us posted, g=feel free to PM me if you need anymore help.

Re: Mystery illness

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:10 pm
by n_holzer
Thats very interesting because the vet did suggest that it could be heavy metal poisoning but said that her having two conditions at the same time was highly unlikely and that he was just clutching at straws, but now that you have said that its sounding more plausable! Did your ducks have green faeces too? Because ive been reading on the health section about pasteurella causing this, so Im trying to gather as much information as possible :-/ They never did x-rays on Beatrice in the end as she had laid the egg, but I think the vet did mention about doing some the day before she died. I kept her in the freezer for 2 weeks debating on a post-mortem but sent her off for cremation last thursday as I felt it would upset me too much (and prunella seemed to be doing ok). Its quite possible she could have picked something up in the garden like that. Thats terrible about the feed, Im so paranoid I feel like I want to change what Im buying! What do you feed them now? Thank you so much for the advice! x

Re: Mystery illness

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:02 pm
by dorsetduckowner
Any news? Is it you that has Albert?

Re: Mystery illness

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:37 pm
by n_holzer
Hello yes Albert is my little boy!
So I took Prunella to my vet again and we did x-rays and blood tests on her...turns out she has got heavy metal poisoning with her zinc levels at 8000 mm when they should be less than 200mm! She has a huge piece of wire sticking out of her gizzard and some other metalic objects in there. At the moment I am injecting her twice daily with sodium calcium EDTA to stabilise her blood levels and get her stronger and then we are going to work out whether she needs it surgically removing (which as you know carries a high risk of death :-( ). I will upload the picture of the x-ray once I get my phone fixed as its curently unusable. Thanks for asking :) x