Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gout in Poultry

Gout in Poultry

When you hear the word Gout
I bet your pet chicken isn't the first
thing that pops into your mind.
Well, guess what...
Chickens can get gout and it kills.

So what is gout?
Gout is a chronic and progressive disease.
It is caused by too much uric acid in the body.
The excessive uric acid leads to the 
formation of tiny crystals of urate that
lodge in the tissues and joints.
When these crystals lodge in the joints 
they cause lots of pain and joint destruction.
They can also lodge in the kidney, 
reducing kidney function and in poultry,
 it can lead to rapid death.

How does gout happen and affect my birds?
Birds excrete nitrogenous waste 
as urate bound with mucus in their urine.
Renal disease decreases the amount of uric acid removed from 
the blood causing an acute or chronic increase in uric acid in the body.
Most cases of gout in poultry are a result of dehydration,
eating laying feed before laying age (>3% calcium content),
renal infection by renal damaging strains of 
infectious bronchitis or infection by a 
avian nephritis (causes inflammation of the kidney) virus.
Chronic disease is less common,
but is seen in cases with chickens with hereditary defects in
uric acid metabolism or that are fed excessive protein.

Gout and Kidney Stones.
The same excess urate acid crystals that cause
gout can also build up in the kidney and create 
kidney stones
Kidney stones are common in older laying chickens.
Most cases are due to feeding 
high-calcium laying feed to hens not in egg production,
infection with infectious bronchitis virus, or
severe Vitamin A deficiency.
If the kidney stones cause a complete blockage
in both ureters the birds will die . 
If the blockage is incomplete or
only affects one ureter the birds will survive,
but in a compensated state, 
suffering with renal failure and chronic
urate deposits in the joint spaces.

How do I know if my chicken has Gout?
The symptoms of gout are pretty 
vague and could be similar to many other diseases.
Most birds are depressed and lose weight.
I have been told by some breeders that
their birds would crouch or sit and
their combs and wattles would be pale.
These birds usually died within hours of the 
onset of these symptoms.
The only way to know that your bird
has gout is to have them tested after they die
with a necropsy.
Some birds will develop malformed toes 
and feet from the buildup of urate crystals in the
joints of the feet.

To prevent gout in your flock
wait to feed your birds laying feed until after they
have started laying. 
Don't start your birds on layer feed 
before they begin laying,
 it's not necessary, it wont make them 
start laying any sooner and is 
potentially very dangerous.
If possible, don't give your roosters laying feed.
Don't give your birds extra protein.
Feeding things like canned cat food or
game bird feed, both of which are very high
in protein, can be very dangerous for your birds.
Try to keep your birds secure and always
quarantine any new birds.
You don't want to introduce any virus or disease,
some of which are damaging to the kidneys.
Make sure your birds always have access to 
clean, fresh water. 
Dehydration, especially during these
hot summer months can be very damaging to the 
kidneys and result in sudden losses or 
chronic kidney disease.

I hope this post has been helpful,
if you have any questions or comments 
please email me!

Enjoy your feathered friends!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Deworming Your Goats

The health of your goat will depend a lot on how they are managed. Herd management is a practice you really need to become familiar with. You know the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is very true any time you are raising animals. You can help to avoid unnecessary loses and unexpected expense just by managing your herd appropriately.  This blog post is all about deworming your goat herd. I am also going to include everything in this post under the Medicine Cabinet page so you can come back to it quickly for reference. Below I have listed a few of the dewormers you can use on your goats. Many are not labeled for goats, but that doesn't mean you can't use them, it just means you should talk to your veterinarian before you use them. There are not a lot of dewormers on the market for goats, mostly because there isn't a huge interest in goats on a large scale, like there are for cattle and swine. When you have producers with thousands of heads of animals the big drug companies are more apt to produce medications geared toward them. Most of the parasites are very similar from one species to another so the medications will still work on your goats, they just didn't have the funding or perhaps the interest in testing their product on goats because they didn't feel that the cost for that study would be worth what they will get back from labeling that drug for goats.... Do you see where I'm going with this. These drugs are used in goats all the time, they just don't say it on the drug label, so talk to your vet before you use them.

It's a good idea to just get to know your vet anyway, you want to find someone that knows a little about goats, at least the basics, and will be able to help you should you need professional advice. I can tell you from experience and working in the field, if you need a veterinarian at 11pm at night, that doctor is more likely to help you out if you already have a working relationship with him or her, if the first time your calling this veterinarian is at 11pm on a rainy night, good luck.  Another tip, take in fecal samples of your herd to your veterinarian, they won't cost you that much and it will help establish a relationship with the veterinarian, which you will be happy you have on that cold, rainy night at 11pm when your doe is having trouble delivering that 3rd kid. I promise. Plus, fecal samples are a great tool to know where your herd is in terms of parasite load. There is no reason to be deworming your herd if they don't need it, it cost you money you could put to better use and it can contribute to resistance to the drug in those parasites. And because goats are so prone to getting parasites and drugs aren't generally geared toward goats the less resistance there is the better for us as goat owners. 

So I have listed a few dewormers that may or may not be labeled for use in goats. I have tried to list any withdrawal times for both milk and meat, this is the time after the medication is given before you should eat or drink the meat or milk. I have also tried to include any contraindications, the route to give the medication and what worms the drug covers. Following the drugs and their doses are some tips on managing your goat herd and your pasture in relation to parasites. There is also an article that will delve deeper into the subject of parasites.


Fenbendazole, Panacur®, Safeguard®
- labeled for goats at 5 mg/kg but 10 mg/kg correct dose for strongyles
- use by veterinary prescription.
- approved for dairy cows with zero milk withdrawal
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles, lungworms, tapeworms
Dose - higher than sheep and cattle; at least 7.5 mg/kg; commonly use 10 mg/kg, 15mg/kg for tapeworms
Route - oral
Withdrawal - milk recommendation 96 hours at 10 mg/kg based on goat studies; meat atleast 8 days based on label for cattle.

Albendazole, Valbazen®
- not approved for goats, is labeled for sheep at 7.5 mg/kg
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles, flukes, tapeworms, lungworms
Dose -15 mg/kg
Route - oral
Withdrawal - meat 7 days (sheep label), not to be used in dairy animals

Morantel, Rumatel®
- approved and labeled for lactating dairy goats
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles; not absorbed.
Dose - added to feed, same dose per pound as for cattle (0.44 grams per 100lbs)
Route - oral
Withdrawal - milk zero; meat 14 days

Levamisole, Levasole®, Prohibit®
- not approved for goats, is labeled for sheep
- reputation for causing abortion
- causes frothing, muscle quivering in some goats even at normal dose.
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles, large lungworms
Dose - 8 to12 mg/kg . DO NOT overdose - toxicity common.
Route - oral (some use cattle injectable but greater risk of toxicity)
Withdrawal - milk not known, not approved for dairy cows;
meat at least 3 days based on sheep oral label, at least 7 days based on cattle injectable

Ivermectin, Ivomec® 
- not approved for goats, is labeled for sheep and cattle
- use with veterinary prescription
- injectable product stings and should not be used, to avoid selecting for resistant worms.
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles, lungworms, biting lice (not tapeworms,
flukes or biting lice).
Dose - routinely double that for cattle, sheep, horses; total resistance common in goats in Texas.
Route - oral (sheep drench, horse paste); pour-on (cattle product) not evaluated for efficacy in goats and would select for resistant worms.
 Ivermectin contaminates the goat's milk.
  Oral 0.2-0.4 mg/kg - 14 days meat, 9 days milk
  SC 0.2 mg/kg - 35 days meat, 40 days milk

Moxidectin, Cydectin®
- not approved for goats.
- by veterinarian’s prescription
- should not be used if any other dewormer is still effective on the farm
- withdrawal recommendations for goats are
  Oral 0.2 mg/kg - 14 days meat
  Oral 0.5 mg/kg - 23 days meat
- do not use SC
- do not use in dairy goats

Special Considerations:
Resistance is common and goats are very susceptible to parasites so be mindful when deworming your herd. Follow these simple guidelines to help prevent increased resistance.
- Consult your veterinarian for fecal exams and control programs. 
- Avoid small grassy exercise lots.
- Avoid deworming in the first month of pregnancy, when drugs might cause birth
- Minimize treatments to slow development of resistance.
- Consider treating two days in a row to increase efficacy.
- Consider fasting overnight before treating to increase efficacy.
- Avoid milk residues in dairy goats; deworm while dry if possible or use morantel.
- Observe meat withdrawals in meat goats and culls.
-Avoid frequent rotation of dewormers - ideally, stay with one drug for an entire year.
-Do not use injectable or pour-on anthelmintics, as these select for resistant parasites.
-During the grazing season, monitor for clinical signs (anemia, diarrhea, bottle jaw) and treat the affected animals but leave goats that are in balance with their parasite load untreated.  This slows the development of resistant parasites by leaving unselected worms in the population.  Record the identity of animals requiring frequent treatment and cull them and their offspring to increase genetic resistance of the goats to parasites.
-Do not use moxidectin (Cydectin®) unless no other drug works on your farm.  This is the last resort drug and its efficacy must be preserved as long as possible.
-Weigh or use a weigh tape on all animals to determine proper dose.

Strategic use of dewormers – these are times to consider using dewormers on
susceptible, infected animals
- monitor fecal shedding during the summer and treat and move as needed.
- pre-breeding (fall) to decrease over wintering of arrested larvae and to improve body condition, reproduction, and kid birth weights.
- late gestation or during early lactation to treat peripanurient rise and to decrease parasite load being introduced on to pasture.
- treat and move to safe pastures which have not been grazed before or for at least 3 months.  Treating before moving does; select for parasite resistance.
- monitor fecal shedding during the summer and treat and move as needed.

Good pasture management - avoid over stocking, rotate before eaten to the ground, manage areas around feeders and watering areas, co-mingle grazing species.  Strip grazing areas must be large enough to avoid severe buildup; small strips must be changed more frequently.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scaly Leg Mites

Scaly Leg Mites

Scaly leg mites are a sarcoptic mite of poultry (Knemidocoptes mutans).  They like to live under the scales of the chicken's legs. They burrow into the tissue beneath the scales causing the scales to become loose from the tissue. Infected birds usually have thickened, crusty legs and feet. Some birds may become lame due to the pain or discomfort associated with infestation. When scales are lost the legs may be tender. There can be redness and inflammation seen in some infected individuals. It is more often seen in older birds, perhaps because their scales are not as tight to the leg as those of younger birds making it easier for the mites to get beneath them.  The mites do sometimes attack the combs and wattles of severely infected birds.  The entire life cycle of the mite is carried out in the skin beneath the scales. The mites are transmitted through contact with infected birds.  Affected birds should be quarantined from the rest of the flock to prevent further infection.  The area should be cleaned and sprayed with a product effective at treating mites, such as malathion or a pyrethroid compound, Seven dust has also been proven effective. Individual birds should be treated with oral or topicalivermectin.  You can wash the legs with warm soap and water and using a toothbrush scrub away any exudate that has formed on the scales. Do not try to pick the scales off as that is damaging to the bird. You should allow the scales to fall off and regrow on their own. This will usually occur during the next molt, it can be up to a year before the legs look normal again. You can also apply Vaseline to the legs, getting up under and inbetween the scales as best as possible. This is supposed to help smother the mites.
There are some remedies talked about that recommend the use of Creosote or Diesel. These chemicals are not safe for your birds and I do not recommend their use.

Just a little tidbit of information:
Sarcoptic mites of dogs cause sarcoptic mange also known as Scabies to many people, the mite of the dog and that of the chicken are not the same mite though, so you don’t have to worry about you or your dog catching them from your chickens or vice versa.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013



Coccidia are protozoans that infect poultry and other animal’s GI tract. Each species is host specific, meaning that the coccidia that affect your birds are not the same as the ones that can affect your dog or cat or even yourself.  They are very common and can usually be found in most any person’s backyard flock.  Although they are very common and most birds have them, they usually don’t cause a problem unless found in high numbers or in birds that are immune-compromised.  Chicks are very susceptible and can die, even with treatment. Some birds are able to develop immunity to the parasite after long or repeated exposures.

Signs and Symptoms
Some birds may come down with diarrhea, experience weight loss and decreased egg production.  You may notice a decrease in food and water intake and general sick appearance.  Chicks may develop “pasty butt”, which is when the fecal material builds up on and around the chicks vent and surrounding feathers. This is usually a sign of diarrhea in the chick. There are other things that can cause this in your chicks, such as stress from shipping or incorrect temperatures in the brooder. If you notice this in your chicks you should clean the fecal materials away as soon as possible, just use some warm water and a paper towel, being gentle as to not tear the chick’s delicate skin.  Another symptom often seen in chicks infected by coccidian is bloody diarrhea. Droppings may also appear to have mucus like texture.  Some birds appear droopy and will have un-kept feathers. There is a high chance for mortality in young birds infected with coccidia. Your veterinarian can tell you if your birds are experiencing an infection with coccidia with a fecal sample, however, many birds will have coccidia in their feces even when they are not showing symptoms so a thorough exam and history of the symptoms should be obtained to ensure the birds are not misdiagnosed. 

It is nearly impossible to completely prevent your birds from being infected with this parasite.  Birds can be kept in wire floored cages to help reduce the risk of infection but even those birds kept in this manner have been found to contract the parasite. The reason is that it is so common in the environment and is very easily transmitted and lives for a long time in the environment, up to a year if the environment is favorable. It is also resistant to many disinfectants commonly used around poultry. The coccidia can survive on clothing, feeders, waterers, in the dirt and litter or bedding.  The infection process only takes between 4-7 days.  Keeping the environment as clean as possible will help. Your brooder should be cleaned out between each new chick arrival. Use a material that is easy to clean and non-porous. New bedding should be used each time and the feeder and waterer should be thoroughly disinfected.  Coccidia is an opportunistic pathogen so it is most commonly seen in cases of poor nutrition, poor sanitation, overcrowding or after stress, such as changes in feed or severe weather. So keeping your birds healthy and in a clean environment with the proper feed is very important. You can put your birds on an anticoccidial medication to help prevent infection.  Many are available that can be mixed into the feed, most drugs are used for both prevention and treatment.  Lower doses are used when attempting to prevent coccidia because they are given on a continuous basis.  The downside of these drugs is that they can slow or even prevent the naturally occurring immunity process from taking place. Meaning, that birds that are given anticoccidials in their feed all the time may never develop a natural immunity against coccidia.  This is ok in birds that are intended for slaughter and won’t be around very long, but if you have a small flock of birds that you intend to keep for years it may not be in their best interest to use the feeds with these medications already in them.

There are many drugs available on the market to prevent and treat coccidia. You use a higher dose when trying to treat coccidia than you do when trying to prevent it.  The other difference is that when using these medications for treatment you will want to put them in the birds water rather than in the feed.  It is also recommended to increase the amount of Vitamin A and K that the birds receive to help boost their immunity.  It is important to rotate the drug used to prevent and treat coccidia in your flock so you don’t end up with a strain that becomes resistant to one particular drug.  Treating with the full dose for the appropriate amount of days will also help prevent resistance from occurring.  The most common drug used in treating poultry in the back yard setting is Amprolium, also known as Corid. It can be mixed in the water and is used for 3-5 days for effective treatment.  It works by mimicking an important amino acid called thiamine that the coccidia need to survive. The coccidia attempts to use the amprolium instead of thiamine and dies.  Amprolium is very safe, up to 8 times the recommended dose has been given without significant affects.

The dose is as follows:
Amprolium (Corid) liquid form (9.6% solution) 2ml/gallon of water for 5 days.
Corid 20% Soluble Powder 4 oz/50 gal water (treatment) 4 oz/100 gal water (prevention) or 1.5 tablespoons per gallon for treatment and 1 tablespoon per gallon for prevention.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fowl Pox


The real chicken pox!
Fowlpox Lesions
What is fowlpox?
Fowlpox is a virus that affects chickens and turkeys. It causes lesions on areas of the body that are not feathered. Generally those lesions are found on the face, comb and wattles. They can also show up on the legs and feet of some birds. There are two types of fowlpox, a dry form and a wet form. If your bird has the dry form only area's outside of the body are affected by lesions, but if your bird gets the wet form they will also develop lesions inside their body, like in the mouth and down the upper GI tract and respiratory tract.

Is is contagious to people or other animals? 
Fowlpox is only contagious to birds. It generally only affects chickens and turkeys but there are other pox viruses that can affect other birds like pigeons, quail and even canaries and parrots. The virus has also been found in many wild birds species. You can not get chicken pox from your birds.

How did my chicken get this virus?
There are several ways your birds can get fowlpox, many of which are very difficult to prevent which is why vaccination is highly recommended in areas endemic to the virus. These are some of the main ways your birds can get the virus.
  • From an insect or other blood sucking bug. Many times it is mosquitoes that transmit the virus. Mites and lice can also spread it from bird to bird. The virus is passed along from one bird to another because when the mosquito or other parasite drinks the blood of an infected bird they also suck up the virus, then when they go to a healthy bird and begin drinking it's blood they pass the virus on to the healthy bird.  Most cases are seen in the summer months when mosquitoes are out in the highest numbers. So a recent influx of rain or standing water may trigger an outbreak in your flock just due to the shear explosion of mosquito populations. It has been found that mosquitoes have the ability to transmit the virus as much as three weeks after taking a blood meal from an infected bird!
  • Through contaminated water supply.  If you have one bird that has become infected and it is drinking from the water supply and happens to backwash any liquid back into the water there is a chance of the virus contaminating the water supply and then all of the birds that drink from that waterer may become infected. Another example is if an infected bird defecates in the water supply and the other birds drink that water they can become infected. This is one way your birds could be kept in a secure coop and become infected by a wild bird. Or if you have birds in individual pens but the droppings of other birds are able to fall into the water supply of those below or around them. 
  • Through cuts or wounds on the skin. The pox virus is found in the scabs and dander of infected birds and can live there for as many as several years. If you have a bird that has an open wound and the dander of an infected bird comes in contact with that wound, which can happen very easily in nest boxes or on perches, the healthy bird can become infected with the virus. The birds can also inhale or eat or drink the dander or scabs of infected birds and become infected. 
As you can see it is very easy for your birds to become infected with the virus. It is very difficult to prevent the spread of infection once you have one bird that has become infected.

How Can I prevent my birds from getting fowlpox?
The best way to prevent your birds from becoming infected is to vaccinate them against the virus. The vaccine is fairly inexpensive and you can give it yourself.  
You can also keep your bird's area clean and free of parasites. Any of the bloodsucking parasites like mites and lice have the potential of transmitting the virus, so keep your birds clean and free of these nasty little bugs. Not only do they spread disease but they suck blood and can weaken your birds immune system, making your birds more likely to contract diseases.  Prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, not only do they have the potential to spread LOTS of  different diseases, they are very annoying and their bites are painful. So keep standing water to a minimum. 
Change the water in your waterers frequently to prevent a breeding ground for not only mosquitoes but other nasty bacteria. Your birds can also get the virus from water contaminated with the feces or backwash or other infected birds so changing this water out frequently may also help prevent the spread of disease. 
Keep the bedding and nest boxes clean and changed out frequently. The dander of infected birds can harbor the virus for up to a year. So clean out the nest boxes and replace their bedding often and even disinfect the area as needed.
Abide by strict biosecurity protocols by not allowing strangers onto your property that also have birds. You don't want them to bring any diseases on to your property on their shoes or other clothing. 
Quarantine any new birds that you purchase for a minimum of 3 weeks. Not just for fowlpox, but for many other diseases and infections. It is never a good idea to bring in new birds if you can help it. Buy from a reputable breeder. Only buy birds that appear healthy. Never bring a bird into your flock that shows any signs of illness. There are many diseases that your birds can get that they will become carriers of always have the potential to spread that disease to new birds that you acquire, along with contaminating your property. 

Can I quarantine my sick birds from those not showing signs?
There are different opinions on this stance. Some people say to let the birds all go ahead and be infected because they will then have immunity and won't become infected in the future. Like a child with chicken pox. Others suggest quarantining the sick birds from the healthy to prevent the spread of the disease. There are pros and cons to both. If you go ahead and let all of your birds get the virus they will typically all develop immunity to it and won't catch it again in the future. However, some birds do become carriers and have the potential to infect any new birds you get or can even come down with it again if they are under a lot of stress.   Another con is that some birds do die from the disease. It is especially dangerous if they get the wet form or if they are very young or old or already immune compromised from some other illness or a lack in their diet or a parasite infestation. The other con is that the virus takes a long time to move through the flock, it could be a few months from the time the first bird shows symptoms till the last bird is no longer contagious. You also see a drop in egg production and growth in your flock. If you are considering quarantining the infected birds you need to remove them as soon as you see any symptoms. You may already be too late though, that is the hard part. Other birds could have already contracted the virus and just are not showing signs yet. But if you do decide to quarantine you need to remove the birds from the rest of the flock. They need to be in a place where they have no contact with the clean flock. You need to disinfect the area as best as possible, cleaning all feeders and waterers and bedding and nest box areas. When you handle your birds always handle the healthy birds first if possible. Then work with the sick birds, as the dander of the birds can be transferred and you risk exposure. Wash your hands often and between handling the birds. Make sure to get rid of any external parasites that could transmit the virus and keep your mosquito populations down. A con to quarantining is it can make it difficult to care for your birds and even with good practices you may still have birds come up with the virus due to mosquitoes or whatever originally happened to infect your flock, like a wild bird that was infected... It can be a long time before you can put your birds back together, as much as a few months. Even after your birds appear to be healthy again if one is a carrier and you reintroduce them back to the original flock they could still spread the virus.  The healthy birds will still be at risk of contracting the virus unless you vaccinate them. When my birds came down with the virus I did both things sort of. My buff orpingtons are the ones that showed the first signs of the virus, so I placed all of my buff orpingtons in their coop and kept them there. My serama are in a different coop area so I kept them in their area. So I essentially exposed all of the buff orpingtons to the virus but quarantined all of the serama and other fowl. I then kept an eye out to make sure the serama had not already been exposed. I never saw any lesions on any of them. My entire flock of buffs eventually contracted the virus and have recovered. I am now going to vaccinate all the birds so that the serama and other birds that were not exposed to the virus will get their immunity without having to go through the ordeal of catching the virus. 

How long are my birds contagious to others?
As long as the birds have the lesions they are contagious and up to 3 weeks after the lesions have completely dried up and cleared they are contagious. But you have to remember that the dander of sick birds can harbor the virus for up to a year! Mosquitoes can carry the virus for 3 weeks.

How do I clean my birds area to prevent the spread of fowlpox?
You want to clean and disinfect the feeders and waterers. I use bleach once weekly to disinfect mine. You can also spray a 10% Bleach/water solution in the coop area to help kill the virus. Remove as much of the bedding from the coop and nest boxes and replace with clean, fresh bedding as often as needed. 

Is there anything I can do to help my birds that are sick?
You can be sure that your birds are free of any parasites that would make their recovery more difficult. I would deworm the birds and check them for fleas, mites and lice and treat if necessary. You can add apple cider vinegar to their water, some believe that if will make them drink more and if they are having any trouble with coughing or sneezing due to mucus buildup it will help cut down on the mucus and make breathing a little more easily, this is especially helpful if they catch the wet form of the virus. You can apply iodine to the pox lesions to try to dry them up faster, I did this on some of my birds and it did seem to help. Use a Q-tip and just dab it on the affected areas. Be sure to keep the iodine out of the birds eyes. You can fortify their diet with added electrolytes and vitamins because many birds will go off their feed some. Especially if they have the wet form you can add liquid vitamins to their water so they can drink their nutrition. If they are not getting what they need nutritionally it will be harder for them to fight off the virus.  Some people suggest offering things like yogurt to the diet, because it is easy for the birds to eat and can help maintain normal flora in the gut. For some birds it may be beneficial to add antibiotics to the water to keep them from coming down with a secondary infection. You should talk with your veterinarian about this if you believe your birds are at risk.
Fowlpox Lesions

Should I attempt to treat the lesions?
You don't have to treat the lesions. They will clear up on their own eventually. Some may leave a scar. You can treat them if you choose. I treated my birds lesions with iodine. It will help dry up the lesion and is said to reduce the time they are there as compared to those not treated. I have also seen some suggest using lemon or lime juice to treat the lesions. I think it is just preference. I don't think you are going to hurt anything by attempting to treat the lesions, it may help. The iodine seemed to help my birds clear up faster.

Do my birds need an antibiotic?
Maybe. That is going to depend on your opinion of using antibiotics in your flock and how bad off your birds are. Some people are very against using antibiotics in their flocks, I personally am not one of those people, but I also understand their views. Some birds would benefit from antibiotics if they are having a very difficult time with the virus and the potential of them contracting a secondary infection is high. If your birds health has gone way down hill it may be easier for bacteria, that would normally be easy for them to fight off, to cause a serious infection.  

Will the lesions go away, will they leave a scar?
The lesions will eventually clear up on their own. Some birds will have scars develop as a result, especially if they suffered from multiple, deep lesions.

Will my birds die if they get fowlpox?
Most birds that were very healthy prior to infection, that only catch the dry form and are adults will not die. The wet form has more potential to be fatal. Young birds or very old birds and birds that are not healthy or already immune compromised are more likely to succumb. Generally the virus itself doesn't kill the birds. They may lose a lot of weight from not eating due to sores in the mouth and trachea and esophagus, they may already have a parasite load making them more at risk for secondary infections. Young birds are not able to fight off the virus as easily and have less natural immunity than their older counterparts and may also develop secondary infections. 

Can I vaccinate my birds?
Yes, you can vaccinate your birds. There are two vaccines available, one is for very young birds and one is for adults. You should not attempt to vaccinate any birds that are showing signs of the virus or that you know are infected. 

*I will add more to this blog post concerning vaccination in the future, including photos of the vaccination of my own birds.  

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dealing with Feral Cat Populations

As some of y'all know, I am a veterinary technician. What you may not know is that I have worked in day practice, emergency practice and now work in a spay and neuter practice. I love what I do, with every ounce of my being, I love my job. I have always had an open heart toward animals. I brought home every critter imaginable as a child and that trait has never faded, even after all these years. 
Something I wanted to blog about today was feral cats. In the day practice I worked in we saw a good many feral cats and now in my current practice we see them every day that we do surgery. The feral cat population is huge in this area. I'm not sure if its just because here in the south we don't have really cold winters so there is usually an abundance of things for the kitties to eat or if the pet owners in our area are just that irresponsible, I think it's a combination.  
I just wanted to give y'all some information in case you have a feral cat problem in your area. There is an organization dedicated to helping people control the feral cat populations in their area and also there to help the cats. This organization is called Alley Cat Allies. They can help you if you are having problems with cats in your area. There have been numerous studies on the best ways to control or eliminate feral cat populations. 
The best way to help control the population is by spaying and neutering all of the animals in the colony. There are a few rescue groups in our area dedicated just to trapping, spaying or neutering and releasing these feral cats back into their population. Some people feel that trapping and euthanizing these cats is the best option, but if you take the time to read these brochures you will see that is has been proven that this method just doesn't work. Trapping and relocating also doesn't work. From the Alley Cat Allies site:
"Grounded in science, TNR stops the breeding cycle of cats and therefore improves their lives while preventing reproduction. It is a fact that the removal and killing of outdoor cats that animal control has been pursuing for decades is never ending and futile. Since feral cats are not adoptable, they are killed in pounds and shelters. With a successful program like Trap-Neuter-Return to turn to, it’s hard to believe that animal control agencies continue to kill cats, even though that approach has shown zero results."

Why doesn't relocating work? Because there is some food source in the area keeping the cats sustained, if there wasn't a food source the cats would move on. So if you just remove the cats more cats will take their places. 

Once all of the cats in the colony have been spayed or neutered the population will begin to decline because #1 you will no longer be adding cats to the colony by way of breeding and #2 once the cats are fixed they will no longer welcome new cats to the colony, they have no reason to.  Cats only allow new comers in to the colony for breeding reasons, if they no longer have the desire to breed they will protect their area from intruders. 

Some people are concerned with the effect that feral cats have on the wildlife population. The truth is many studies are not showing the real truth. Studies are conducted asking owners if their cats bring home birds, but there is no way of knowing if the cat actually killed the bird. Cats are opportunistic feeders, they will scavenge. Many studies have shown that only 35-56% of cats hunt.  And it is has also been studied and determined that cats prefer the taste of dry or canned cat food over birds or mice. So if you want to help protect the wild birds in your area your best bet is to feed the feral cats! It is important to note that cats and their prey species have coexisted for hundreds if not thousands of years. Feral cats have not just come into existence in the past few decades, what has changed is the human population and mans impact on this earth, with deforestation and pollution. We are more likely to blame for the decline in wildlife species than feral cats!

I hope this blog has been informative and I hope it gets you thinking about spaying and neutering your own pets. Spaying and neutering is the most humane, logical choice.  So next time you see a feral cat I hope you have a more positive opinion about them than you may have had before reading this blog. 

Enjoy your furry and feathered friends!

Hatching Eggs!

I will be offering serama hatching eggs all spring as long as the girls keep laying. 
Eggs will be available on a first come first serve basis. 
Hatching Egg prices are as follows and include shipping w/ tracking.
$2/egg plus $15 shipping.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Great Article on Vaccinating Goats

This is a great, brief article on vaccinating your goats. I thought it would be a good compliment to the blog post I wrote earlier today.

Cream Cheese Danishes

Cream Cheese Danishes

I love cream cheese danishes!
We have a local bakery that makes them
and they are divine, but they are 
a pretty little penny too!
This weekend I stumbled upon a blog
after my own heart!
I love to cook,
I love to make homemade stuff for my family.
I'm a Georgia girl born and raised
and I like honey or butter on my biscuits!
So when I found this blog that has so many
yummy southern inspired dishes
I was so excited!
So while browsing all the great recipes
on her blog I found an easy recipe for
cream cheese danishes. 
I've never had the courage to make them
because, unlike my sister, I am more of
a cooker than a baker... if you know what I mean.
But the recipe looked so simple so I tried it,
and they turned out super yummy.
So I am going to share Brandie's recipe
with you here.

For the danishes:
2 tubes Crescent Rolls
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (softened)
¼ cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. butter (melted)
8 tbsp. light brown sugar

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)

In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese with white sugar and vanilla extract.
Mixture should be creamy and smooth when finished (like cheesecake batter)

Separate dough into eight rectangles. Seal perforations.

Using a brush or spoon, spread melted butter all over crescent rolls. Sprinkle each rectangle with about 1 tbsp. of brown sugar.

Roll up from long side; pinch edges to seal. 

Holding one end, loosely coil each.

Now you want to get in there with your fingers and spread out the dough some to make room for the filling. 
Just pull and stretch and make a nice dent in the middle.
Place on cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Top each coil with about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese filling.

Bake at 350(F) for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the glaze, in a bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Stir until smooth and drizzle over each warm danish.
Cook's Note: If you don't need so many danishes, just use one tube of crescent rolls and save the leftover cream cheese filling for another time. Just put it in a container with an airtight lid and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Makes 8 danishes

*When I made my danishes,
I only made 4 danishes but I used the whole recipe
of the cheese filling.
I also did not put the glaze on mine.
Here are some pics I took of the process.
Brandie also has pictures on her blog.

Crescent Rolls Unwrapped

Cheese Filling Mixed

Pastry Buttered

Adding the Brown Sugar

Prepare the Pastry for Filling

Add the Good Stuff

Pinch the Corners Up to Hold it in.