Another Grace Update

Yet another update on Grace’s situation.

She has continued to walk around, though wobbly with it. There have still been no signs of much eating – the odd nibble here and there, but we’re still syringing Critical Care formula down her every morning and evening.

We also noticed that her poops were starting to turn green – we thought that was a good thing as perhaps she’d started to take in grass or clover, but we were wrong. Yesterday she also seemed a bit more listless than before, and a bit more wobbly. We called the vets as we had run out of our 7-day Baytril treatment and the critical care formula. Popping to them they gave us another three days worth of Baytril, saying they liked to continue with an antibiotic until the problem had cleared up. We also bought some probiotic powder to help replenish the gut flora. She had her first dose of this yesterday. We also gave her the second dose of Panacur by syringe.

Today we followed the by-now normal morning routine – except the Metronidazole had run out. So 0.9ml of Baytril syringed into her mouth, followed by a syringe of liquid consisting of 3 heaped teaspoons of critical care formula, a very small amount (a pinch) of probiotic powder and water to form a syringable paste. We then mixed her soup – 400ml water, 3 heaped dessert spoons of Oxbow Critical Care for Herbivores, a handful of wheat grain, two teaspoons of probiotic and 3 heaped teaspoons of critical care formula.

Then I had a little panic. It had been almost two weeks of illness, 11 days of treatment, and she still wasn’t eating and drinking as normal, but she was walking around. It didn’t seem right. A thought ocurred – maybe she had Hardware Disease? All the symptoms seemed to be right for it. So I called our vets again, mentioned it, and they suggested I needed a poultry specialist. Is there one near us? Sure – head over to:

23 minutes away, but a free advice service!

I spoke to a lovely chap, Mike Clark, whose advice is below (I wish I had recorded the conversation):

Stop all antibiotic treatment. Typically, in an average sized fowl it you should expect to see an improvement after 3 days. Turkeys, the largest they treat, it’s a 5-day window. 10 days means that anything in our Grace that could have caused her harm is long gone. The Metronidazole is great at attacking gut infections, and is very strong. Baytril is a bit of a sledgehammer and attacks pretty much everything. So anything bad will have gone, as will anything good! So feeding her probiotics at the same time as Baytril is inneffective. The green poop we were seeing was actually stomach bile, not passed food, meaning nothing had been eaten. The clearer diahrrea is a better sign. Leave 24 hours after the last does of Baytril before administering probiotics, as then they will be effective. Only one dose of probiotic is enough – they multiply like crazy in the gut. Continue syringing the critical care formula.

The effect of the above will allow the gut to re-establish its flora and to allow her to recover from the heavy doses of antibiotics she’s been on. She should, in theory, feel better from the lack of antibiotics, and should start to eat again properly, with her stomach feeling more normal.

We need to allow about three days to see the difference. If she has made no improvement by Monday then we need to call the vet. If the symptoms still persist it may be that the initial Heat Stress has caused damage to either the liver or kidney. This will mean a blood test to look at her biochemical levels – a vet, if they have their own equipment, can recalibrate it for geese, or they can send the blood samples to an external outfit such as IDEXX who will have a normal goose reading on their records to compare the blood sample with.

So fingers crossed for the next three days – they seem to be the most crucial! He did say that if she has managed to pull through for 10 days then in his mind she stands a good chance of recovery – typically an illness would have taken her before now.

Regarding the wormer – he did say that there were two possibilities with regards worms. She either had a minimal or no level of worms, in which case the medication would have been yet another medication for her to cope with. Or she had a high level of worms and they were yet to be killed off. He preferred Flubenvet to Panacur – I  can’t remember the reasoning, but did agree that Panacur was the easiest to administer to a goose, being a liquid. However, I will attempt to cover some wheat grain in a bit of olive oil so that Flubenvet will stick to it, and give it to the two remaining geese that way. You can usually rely on them eating wheat grain! He said you might notice any larger worms in the faeces, but we have seen nothing so suspect she’s okay in that respect. Our stocking density is very low – three geese on a quarter acre of grass, so worms wasn’t our major suspect, but you can never be too careful I guess.

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