Persistent gapeworm

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Jacqs_chooks
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Persistent gapeworm

Post by Jacqs_chooks » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:14 am

Hi all, forum newbie here
I am certain one of my girls has gapeworm. Back in the summer she started making a squeaking/sneezy type of noise when she was eating and drinking. Initially I put this down to her eating too fast, but the problem got worse until she was making the noise all the time, gaping and breathing raspingly. After a bit of research, I treated them all with flubenvet as I had only used a herbal gut conditioner up till then. Her symptoms got much better but within a week it was getting worse again. After 2 weeks I repeated the 7 day course in case it hadn't cleared it completely or she had re-infected herself. After this she was symptom free, which is why I think it was gapeworm, rather than a respiratory infection.
About 4 weeks on the symptoms are returning and I have a dilemma. Should I repeat the dosage again? I am concerned that this might be too much for her and the other chickens and don't want to make them I'll ( one of them is under-weight and I am trying to give her extra protein currently) but I have no way to separate her and treat only her. I have only had chickens for just over a year, so really need some advice on repeating the treatment so soon, is gapeworm normally this resistant? Other than the symptoms she seems generally healthy and is eating and drinking well and behaving normally, but no eggs.
Thanks for any help you can provide
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chrismahon
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Re: Persistent gapeworm

Post by chrismahon » Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:43 am

Hello Jaccqs_chooks and welcome to the forum. Gapeworm is very rare -I've only ever heard of two confirmed cases on the forums (very common in pheasants though). It appears as small red 'lines' on the lining of the throat and is combined with mucus which can be a resulting throat infection. If she has it so would all the others as it is highly infectious. I suspect her problem may be Mycoplasma, which becomes evident in birds with lower natural immunity. Worming improves their general health and hence their natural immunity anyway. If she develops a runny nose and bubbles in the eyes that would confirm Mycoplasma. Laying soft shelled eggs can be a by-product of Myco, so could she be laying and the eggs are being eaten? Mycoplasma comes from wild birds and many domestic flocks in the UK have it (read 50%). Tylan in the drinking water I have heard is the usual vet treatment.

I don't know what effect worming again will have as it is normally only repeated only once after three weeks in very bad cases and then every 4-6 months?
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Marigold
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Re: Persistent gapeworm

Post by Marigold » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:06 am

Hi Jacqs and welcome from me, too.
If you go to the Poultrykeeper main website (see link at the bottom of this page) and put Gapeworm in the Search box, you'll get a good article on gapeworm. You don't mention whether your bird is stretching her neck and trying to cough. This is characteristic of gapeworm and there's a picture in the article of a bird trying to do this. The article also gives info on transmission of gapeworm, often via pheasants as Chris says, but also through intermediate hosts such as worms slugs and snails, which carry the eggs excreted by infected birds.
If you are sure that your flock all had a full 7-day course of Flubenvet, and that you confined them to their run for the whole time with no treats or extras apart from treated pellets, they will have had a sufficient dose to kill any worms. They must only eat treated pellets during this week, or they will fill up on other things and not get the proper dose for their individual bodyweights. You were correct to treat them again as they hadn't been done with Flubenvet previously. Herbal tonics don't kill worms so a fairly heavy infestation was likely, and the second dose should have clears up any residue. However, different types of worms take different times to hatch in the gut, so it's possible (I'm hazarding a guess) that gapeworm may take longer than 2 weeks to hatch and become a problem again. In which case a further treatment would probably be OK if you could just give it to the affected bird, and if you were sure it was actually gapeworm. If you do this, you could try the treats method. One bird will need half a scoop of powder over a week. Make up a nice tasty mix 7 eggcup fulls of hulled sunflower seeds, some porridge oats, and some mixed corn. Add a little vegetable oil to just lightly coat the mix. Mix in the Flubenvet carefully. Every day, separate the hen from the others and feed her one eggcupful of the mix.
But of course as Chris says, you may be dealing with a respiratory infection, or she may be affected by a dust allergy from bedding in the coop. What sort of bedding do you use in your coop, and in the run (if any?) and how much ventilation is there in the coop overnight? If the run is safe from predators its best to give maximum ventilation at all times of the year, ie leave the pophole open and also any vents. The 50% mycoplasma in domestic flocks Chris quotes is largely due to stuffy conditions and condensation overnight - the birds breathe each other's germs like in a doctor's waiting room.
KittyKat
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Re: Persistent gapeworm

Post by KittyKat » Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:42 pm

I don't have much to add to the discussion other than my latest packet of Flubenvet advises to treat once per month so you should be fine to do another treatment course. I personally would do what Marigold recommends as I think it's better to not treat the whole flock again.
Kat
Jacqs_chooks
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Re: Persistent gapeworm

Post by Jacqs_chooks » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:49 pm

Thank you all for the advice. I need to do some reading up on mycoplasma as I had not heard of this. She has had this squeaking (shakes head as she makes the sound as if trying to clear something) since the summer, it got bad and then disappeared when I used the flubenvet. Even when it was bad though she had no discharge from her nose and no bubbles in her eyes at all, they were both clear. When I gave them the flubenvet I gave them the full 7 days and no treats, but did not confine them to their run attached to coop, they went out in their extended run. As I did not realise they should be kept in.

I had drawn the conclusion of gapeworm as the symptoms matched, I did not realise that it was very rare, or that it was highly infectious. The other two birds are certainly not affected. As for the point about soft shelled eggs, I haven't had any eggs from any of them for 2 months as they have been going through moult.

Bedding wise, I use wood shavings type bedding with some straw in their nesting box, I don't think it is an allergy to that as I have always used it. The coop has ventilation, although I do not leave the pop hole open. I am having problems with water getting into the coop (which I am trying to remedy urgently) so I wondered if this could have effected her (but that said it was a very dry summer and it started then)

Either way I dont think I can risk giving them all another dose of,flubenvet so soon, my other chicken Dottie seemed to have runny poo for a long time afterwards and she is already too light.
I guess what I need to do is swab the back of her throat. I read that it is the way to confirm gapeworm. Although I confess that I am nervous about doing this, and if it is gapeworm give her another dose of flubenvet by the treats method you describe below.
If you have any further thoughts following this extra info, I would be very grateful
Many thanks
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chrismahon
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Re: Persistent gapeworm

Post by chrismahon » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:50 am

Depends how much extra food they can get in their extended run Jaques_chooks. Usually it's just a bit of grass and the occasional insect based on 15m2 each bird and I wouldn't expect that to affect the effectiveness of the Flubenvet. However you do get the odd bird that won't eat the dust coated pellets and fill up on just grass, which is why the Marriages Flubenvet Premix is great. Ours preferred that to their Smallholder pellets.

Myco is highly infectious as well, but will only affect birds with a naturally weaker immune system. Our neighbour's new hens have it, but only one is showing symptoms. She is coughing/ sneezing and has a nasal discharge. Before the fox took the flock he had two with continuous symptoms. The only solution is perhaps antibiotics, which does seem to work, or just to cull.

It could be black mould spores in damp bedding that is setting a respiratory irritation off. That can clear itself or develop into a respiratory infection. It can also be simply dusty bedding, which is most likely in very dry weather. We had a hen coughing Sunday evening and that turned out to be an empty feeder -she had inhaled the dust residue at the bottom and that had set her off. She's fine now.

I'm concerned about Dottie. Runny poo before worming is a sign of possible worms. Slimy poo after the first dose of Flubenvet will confirm it was worms. But after that she should improve. After some illness during a heavy moult we are treating some of ours with Avipro Avian, which is a probiotic. You can also give a good probiotic yoghurt, but the results are less certain. Takes about two weeks to establish the gut flora but may be what's needed for both. Improved digestion will improve their health, so something else to think about.
Jacqs_chooks
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Re: Persistent gapeworm

Post by Jacqs_chooks » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:43 pm

I have been worried about Dottie too. During the summer I spend a lot of time around them, but not so much recently so when I was painting their coop a few weeks ago, I observed that she was sitting huddled looking thoroughly dejected and not eating or doing much. I picked her up and was horrified how light she was (difficult to tell by looking as they are sussex and very fluffy). I discovered that we still had some red mite, so I think it was combination of red mite and moulting on top of the worming treatment, poor thing.
I dealt with the red mite and gave them some natural yoghurt and have been giving them some extra protein each day (meal worms) to help while they are moulting. Plus cider vinegar in their water. She looks much better and seems to have gained some weight. Her wattle is much redder and she is running around scratching and being busy with the other two now and eating well, so hopefully has turned a corner. Her poo also looks much better formed.
Thanks for the tip about avipro avian, I am going to buy some of that.
Thanks for your feedback, it is great to have someone knowledgable to talk to. Our local vet has proved themselves to be useless with chickens!
Thanks again
Shitzu
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Re: Persistent gapeworm

Post by Shitzu » Thu May 16, 2019 11:38 pm

Gapeworm symptoms in chickens include gasping and coughing…However, this does not always mean that your bird is infected.Your chickens might also be making funny rasping noises, gasping for breath, and shaking their head.Gapeworm is very common in pheasants but also turkey, chickens, and guinea fowl. Gapeworms can cause huge damage to both turkeys and pheasants.As earlier stated, Gaping “Gasping for breath” still remains the biggest sign of gape worm. Neck stretching and shaking of head are also common signs.To confirm, hold your birds gurgling can be heard which is “tracheal rattle”. Most times, gasping for breath is often mistaken for respiratory problem.  If a heavy infestation occurs, death by suffocation will occur.Gapeworm infestation can occur indirectly by intermediate hosts such as snails or earthworms, or directly eating eggs that have been coughed up or swallowed by infested birds.

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FOR MORE: https://ecopetlife.com/gapeworm-symptoms-in-chickens/
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tiny_tam
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Re: Persistent gapeworm

Post by tiny_tam » Mon May 20, 2019 10:35 am

Very helpful thread. Thank you!
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