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JakeC415
JakeC415,
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My chicken is lethargic, has a pale comb dirty vent and her

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My chicken is lethargic, has a pale comb dirty vent and her tail is down. She has been like this for about 2 weeks. We have tried breathers Breatheasy as she also has her mouth open often
JA: I'll do all I can to help. How has the chicken's appetite been? Any changes in her stool?
Customer: She is eating and drinking still. Her stools are more runny than usual
JA: Could she have eaten something unusual?
Customer: I don't think so
JA: And what's the chicken's name and age?
Customer: Coco she is 1 Yr 4 months
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: She is 1 of 3 we have. The other two seem fine

Hi there, you are through to Dr. Jake. Im a UK based vet. Im sorry to hear of your concern with your chicken, Coco.

The signs sound quite concerning, particularly the length of duration - 2 weeks is a long time for a chicken to be sick.

There could be a few things going on. with her having a dirty vent this could be that she has gastrointestinal disease such as a bacterial infection or parasites are also common in chicken which causes them to be lethargic, watery or loose droppings.

the open mouth breathing could be a sign of a respiratory infection or something affecting the respiratory system:

We do see primary respiratory infections in chickens though this often comes with nasal and ocular discharge, coughing or sneezing.

if she isnt laying eggs at the moment there is a possibility she has an egg yolk peritonitis.- this is where the eggs dont go down the reproductive tract and end up in the abdomen setting off and infection which leads to fluid build up. the fluid pushes on the chickens lungs making it difficult for them to breath and presents as lethargy, open mouth breathing, pale wattle and comb

I would recommend making an appointment with a local vet who is happy to see chickens. They will provide a full clinical exam and listen to the lungs and air sacs to check for a respiratory infection, they will also feel the abdomen to check no fluid has built up. They may provide antibiotics and anti inflammatories for this. I would also recommend collecting a faecal sample for them to look at under the microscope to make sure there isnt any signs of parasites. They may also recommend sending a sample off to the laboratory for culture to check for bacterial infections

i hope all this information helps

kind regards

Dr. Jake

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Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you. I have washed her vent as was so dirty and she lay there and let me. I have checked and she definitely has mites near the skin when you part her feathers. Could this be the cause of her lethargy/open beak etc?

hi there, thank you for your reply. this could be related in terms of general debilitation and lethargy- mites usually cause feather loss scratching, poor coat quality and if severe anaemia but i suspect there is also something else going on underlying causing the lethargy and open mouth breathing which should be investigated at the vets.

Kind regards

Dr. Jake