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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 58825
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 48 years of experience.
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I have a rooster that is very poorly and I need to know what

Customer Question

Hi I have a rooster that is very poorly and I need to know what some of his symptoms may mean
JA: Hi there. The Vet will be able to answer your question, plus any follow-ups you may have. What's the rooster's name and age?
Customer: Rooster is Chapolino, and he's about 4
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: He started being very sleepy but till yesterday still got up to drink, today he is not drinking and so weak he can't hold his head up. His head flops back and he is sort of shaking his head side to side. But seems so weak he can't seem to swollow.
Submitted: 6 days ago.
Category: Vet
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
More of an update as I have not heard back. Chapo is leaning his head back all the way, beak in the air...I guess to get some relief in his neck. Since he is not drinking I assume he has pain swallowing. I can not admit the oral meds I have as I can not get him to drink
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Just wondering how much longer I need to wait. As I have no access to email here
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 6 days ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 days ago.

Dr. Michael Salkin is typing. Please be patient.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 days ago.

I'm sorry to hear about this with Chapolina. Regrettably you're describing an agonal (near death) rooster. His head position is termed opisthotonos and and tells us that cranial nerve X1 is involved in his disease process - most often infectious (Marek's disease, paramyxovirus mycoplasmosis, for example) or neoplastic (cancerous). May I have an update on him, please?

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Hi Dr. salkin, as of 5:52 UK time, the rooster is still alive, but appears to be sleeping. His head is tucked in the normal sleeping position. Should I add to the backstory that over a week ago we had a fox attack. He made off with some chickens, but there was no sign of chapo being injured or directly affected. There is one hen that has lost an eye and this is very swollen up with puss, and I was wondering if he could have caught an infection from her. I am just guessing. I have isolated that hen and she is responding to treatments with gradually drainage of the eye and antibiotics, but I wonder if the two are related at all. Sorry it's early in the morning here and I don't know if you are in same time zone... But looking forward to get your reply and possibly some direction. With best regards Simone
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 days ago.

I'm in the Hawaii time zone. I can't attribute the attack for Chapo if he hadn't been injured and the hen's infection isn't contagious.. His being able to sleep in the proper position is a positive prognostic sign, however.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Hi doctor, well thank you for your reply. Today he sat in same spot all day. Head sort of laying on side of his torso. I gave him water with a little syringe, but he just used a tiny bit to keep his tongue moist. As soon as it got too much he wriggled and fought back a bit, seems like he can't swallow perhaps. He is so limp now that I honestly think he is on his way out. Am trying to just keep him comfortable , he is keeping eyes closed and mostly sleeping with occasional moments of trying to raise his head, but then his head tends to flip back and he then goes back to the head on the side position. It's very hot here and I am using a cool cloth to pat down his feathers which seems to give him a bit relief. He calms down and lets me gently stroke feathers with wet cloth. All I seem to be able to do is keep him somewhat hydrated with the drops from syringe. I am coming to grips with his most likely death, but if there is anything I should do to keep him in less misery please do let me know, thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 days ago.

I recommend bringing such birds inside to hospice such as is shown here:

Thank you for the update. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know.

Customer: replied 2 day ago.
Hello Dr. I have set up my own little hospice. As we don't really have such things here.
Little update on chapo, he is now drinking more out of the little syringe. I also was able to get some egg yellow into his beak, not forcing anything, just kind of offering and he responded. After that he actually got up, stood normal, even with head being held up and he managed to drink out of the normal hanging water feeder. I should not get too excited I know, but this was so amazing to see him come out of this total collapse. Not sure how it will carry on. Am just keeping him comfortable and drip fed.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 day ago.

Thank you for the update.  I'll think good thoghts for Chapo.

Customer: replied 1 day ago.
Thank that's kind, and I appreciate your assistance and will not expect further help for that small fee I paid. Bless you and sending love from good ol' England.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 day ago.

It's my pleasure.