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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 41490
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Hi, I have one chicken that is very pale. Recently I notice

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Hi, I have one chicken that is very pale. Recently I notice she is lying down a lot and has a stiff jerky movement when walking. Can you tell me what might be wrong with her and if i can help her? thank you, Debbie.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Paleness indicates profound anemia but not the etiology of that anemia. While both external (fleas, mites, lice) and internal (roundworms, coccidia, e.g.) parasites are often incriminated, we also have to consider the chicken anemia virus, other viruses such as Marek's and lymphoid leukosis, and any chronic disease process - nutritional, infectious, or malignant.

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 anemia. Veterinarians can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests, including X-rays, to distinguish between the different etiologies. You can also see here:

Approach the diagnostic process with a clear sense of your hen's financial value to your operation. Although some services might be available free of charge through a 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.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Dr. Michael Salkin and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a few days for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your reply. I'm afraid the chook is not precious enough to me to spend a lot at the vets, but I was wondering if it would be worth trying anything that might cure or perhaps it is too late to treat the worms. The fact that she is currently the only one in the flock to be displaying symptoms makes me think it is not simply worms or paracites. Would it be worth treating with anything without taking to a vet?

kind regards


I agree with you. I would have expected others in the flock to become symptomatic if parasites were responsible. If she's still appetent, you can see what this antibiotic does for her:

Please keep me posted.
May I have an update, please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Dr Salkin,

Thanks for your recommendation of the antibiotic. I haven't bought any yet as haven't found distributor in uk, but will order from abroad I guess. Do you know where I might get some from in uk? Also, wondering if antibiotic will do anything if it is a virus or anaemia, but of course willing to give it a go.

The hen is still coming out first thing in morning to eat with all the others so she is not deteriorating too fast at the moment.

Regards Debbie

You're welcome, Debbie. You should be able to find the same antibiotic in a feed store near you. Are they called feed stores in the UK?

You're correct, an antibiotic won't address a virus but could conceivably address an anemia due to a bacterial infection. It's good to hear that she's still interested in eating.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Agricultural merchant is kind of usual term. So I'm guessing you are in USA or Canada then. No accent clues by email

Is that antibiotic known by any other name?

Thanks again Debbie

Thank you! ***** split my time between the big island of Hawaii and Rancho San Diego, California. The generic name of the antibiotic is tetracycline hydrochloride. It seems to be out of stock on but I would expect an agricultural merchant to stock it.