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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question

Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 24379
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My chicken was found lying on her side - almost like she is

Customer Question

My chicken was found lying on her side - almost like she is paralysed. Can you advise what this might be. She is in the middle of a moult.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Your hen's presentation isn't pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. Unfortunately, the symptom of a "downer" chicken as you've mentioned can indicate any number of illnesses or health issues. In veterinary medicine, there's rarely one cause of a condition, so we usually begin with a list of differential diagnoses and use lab tests and physical exams to differentiate. With this in mind, your best course of action is to reach out to your county-extension poultry personnel or veterinarian for help in differentiating the various causes of what you're seeing. Veterinarians can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests, including X-rays, to distinguish between the various etiologies.

It's best to approach the diagnostic process with a clear sense of the bird's financial value to your operation. Although some services might be available free of charge through a county agency or land-grant extension office, the expense of some diagnostic tests and treatments can add up quickly. While it’s always worth your time and money to identify a bacterial or viral infection that could potentially impact more than one member of the flock, this might not be the case with a condition that only affects one hen.

I'm sorry that I can't be more specific for you from here. You did deserve the courtesy of a response, however. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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