Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

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elmdene
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Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by elmdene »

One of my pekin girl's ears are constantly blocked lately with a smelly creamy coloured wax/pus gunge. A few weeks ago I noticed her gaping and shaking her head a lot so I immediately wormed them all, suspecting gapeworm, but she was still doing it after this. On close inspection (she is the one who hates being handled) I realised her ears were completely blocked with this stuff and she was obviously trying to clear her passages by gaping and shaking. I've cleaned them out 3 times now using warm water on cotton buds, being very careful not to push it further in, (aided by her shaking it all over me - very smelly) but it seems to come back on a daily basis. She has always had an underlying respiratory problem so it could be something to do with this. I have also just treated our cockerel Basil with a few sprays of Frontline for possible northern fowl mite and gave the girls a wipe on a cotton bud around their head and ears at the same time. She dustbathes in a bath containing diatom daily and otherwise seems full of health and is laying well. Can anyone advise whether this could be nfm still (no other signs as far as I can see), ear mite or a constant respiratory infection - and what I can do to help her?
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BabyBantam
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by BabyBantam »

I'd try the ivermectin again, but if shes sneezing or gasping & wheezing when she breaths (listen to her back with your ear against her) then probably respiratory. As with all chicken ailments, its a process of elimination of all home treatable suspects first and as you've already got a (nearly) proved mite issue with Basil, thats where I'd start.
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chrismahon
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by chrismahon »

I'd rule out both NFM and respiratory infection as the reason for the blocked ears Elmdene -could be wrong about the RI though? I would suspect a co-incidental ear mite infestation which has led to infection and which will need antibiotics from the vet. I'd get her there anyway for a thorough check over. NFM is usually first seen around the vent and hackles.
elmdene
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by elmdene »

Well I had to go to the vet today anyway for our cat's annual jab and she has given me Surolan drops (a snip at £21) for Fluffybum, one drop a day for 5 days. I looked them up as soon as I got back, as they are for cats and dogs and not licensed for poultry and found one very good report of them on another poultry forum and also this: http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/sites/bva-awf ... seases.pdf , which is probably what the vet looked at! Anyway, it is indeed a cheesy substance in the ear canal so I'll give it a go. Has anyone else had any experience with it?
elmdene
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by elmdene »

Just to say that making sure you get only one drop of something into a chickens ear canal while she is wriggling around is exceedingly difficult. I have had to resort to the paintbrush method which I am more comfortable with as the dose for cats and dogs is 2 drops and she is just a tiny little pekin. I'm still not sure how much is actually staying inside as she then shakes her head madly. It appears to be getting better though - not quite so smelly and cheesy. I got quite hard plugs of gunge and wax out of both ears yesterday and she seems not to be gaping as much.
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Marigold
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by Marigold »

The things we do for our girls! I hope she continues to make progress.
elmdene
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by elmdene »

Unfortunately the Surolan drops don't seem to have worked. I gave them for 5 days as instructed and it may have got a little better but certainly not cleared up. So I gave it a rest for a week then started again. So far she has had 9 days treatment and I'm getting a bit better at it so hopefully more is going in, but her ears are still bunged up. Its not so smelly and cheesey as before, but I get plugs of white and waxy stuff out every day. She isn't wheezing and in all other respects seem fine - laying well too. She does gape sometimes though, presumably to unblock her ears. (I also wonder if this is why she has never roosted. I have given up moving her out of the nesting box every night as she just goes back there and now I wonder if she has a balance problem?!) I phoned the vet and he said that as she wasn't responding to the Surolan and I should bring her in for an antibiotic injection, but with all the talk of whether antibiotics can be avoided and the stress of taking her in the car, I'm not sure what is the best thing to do for her.
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chrismahon
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by chrismahon »

Smelly and cheesy says infection to me Elmdene and I can't see it getting better on its own. She will be in some discomfort and the condition may worsen suddenly. Can't see you have any choice but go to the vet, but not so sure about the injection. I can understand the difficulty here though -an antibiotic may result in the loss of all her eggs for a period of 28 days to permanently so needs to be discussed. Not sure what I would do in your position? Car travel might be fine, difficulty is keeping her dark and yet ventilated, so perhaps a late appointment is best.
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Marigold
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by Marigold »

I suppose this comes down to whether she is a dearly loved pet, with a reasonable life expectancy ahead of her (ie, if she's younger than 3 years, let's say) or whether she's a hen you mainly value for her eggs. If the former, you may be prepared to pay yet more money to the vet for further treatment, even if it may not work, and you won't be able to eat her eggs. I can quite understand this.
But if she is an older bird, with apparently a resistant health problem that will cost more than you are happy to pay, with no definite recovery in sight, then maybe, sadly, her time has come?
elmdene
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Re: Ears blocked with gunge - mite or respiratory?

Post by elmdene »

She's definitely a pet rather than just an egg producer so I would do anything to make her better. I hate the stress I'm already putting her through so want to avoid any more by taking her to the vet if possible. As I say, she seems fine in every other respect and lays eggs almost 10g heavier than her sister, so I would feel terrible if the stress killed her. Her ears did seem slightly clearer today - I'm trying to get more drops in as the vet said she couldn't really o/d on them, so maybe I'll give it another few days and reassess the situation.
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