Jump to content
auntielizzie

How much should I keep spending on vets?

Recommended Posts

I have spent over £120 on Mrs Beaky so far. She is on her third course of antibiotics and also has had one anti-inflammatory injection. She has had some sort of upper respiratory illness. I think she might just be getting over it, although I am not sure and she is certainly not totally better yet (still the odd sneeze and little rattle in the chest - more so at bedtime). Tomorrow is her last dose of the last course of antibiotics.

 

My question here is really how long should I carry on if she turns out still not to be better? I keep telling myself that she is a pet and just like any other pet, if they are unwell then I would take them to the vet to get treatment. However, a little voice keeps telling me that she is "only a chicken" and that at some point I should stop spending the money and call it a day.

 

I am in turmoil over this. Does anyone else have a financial limit with illness in hens, or do you all keep going on "money no object". My OH is making disapproving noises, which isn't helping. I am sure this will prove to be a contraversial question, but I just need some good advice please.

 

PS Mrs Beaky is one of my quite newbies and I think probably had this when I bought her :( Luckily, so far only one of the other girls has had the same thing - Betty - she had one course of antibiotics costing £45 with vets consultation fees, and luckily she responded very well and has recovered fully.

 

Thank you in advance for any input.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I would call it a day

 

In my experience hens that have had serious respiratory problems nearly always get them again at some point, I dont tend to hang on to hens like that as it can drag the flock down

 

Sorry to have to say that, I hope I dont sound too harsh. I've had a few that have had the sniffles but anything major is a no-no in my book

 

I have a cap of one vets visit (usually about £25) for a much loved bird and zero for others though I do have my own antibiotics here

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree I'm afraid. £120 would have bought around 10 new hens, and is a heck of a lot to spend on an animal that has an expected lifespan of around 3 years. I also agree that once a hen has a respiratory problem, it will lurk and eventually resurface, possibly spreading to the rest of the flock.

 

Also, the hen is probably not enjoying a particularly happy life whilst constantly under the weather.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you can quite equate the cost of getting 'a new one' to what you'd spend on medicine for 'an old one'. I've certainly spent far more at the vets on the odd hamster in the past, than what it would cost to get a new one. The same for pet rabbits as pets are sort of friends. I've also paid large vet bills for dogs I've rescued for nothing.

 

I think that what you really need to consider is the quality of that animal's life. Trips back and forth to the vet are probably quite stressful for your hen. :think: It must also be stressful for her when you give her the antibiotics (assuming you are doing this by pippet). Lastly you do need to consider the health of the rest of your flock. You may of course have her separated from the others and be giving her the antibiotics in her water. However in this case she will have the stress of being on her own. Have you tried baytril? If you have and that has not worked, I'd call it a day. :(

 

(Just a thought, :think: and I'm sure your vet or you have checked this, but are you abolutely sure she does not have a bit of sawdust of blade or grass in her nostril - that sounds dense, and obvious, I know, but I did have this with one chicken)

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a horrible decision. Following spending a small fortune (not even that small) on vets for Viv then we have had this discussion a few times. We don't have a financial limit per se but have decided that one expensive/invasive procedure is our limit - I'm not sure what we would do for ongoing meds. Sounds harsh to put a limit on and who knows what we would do when tested!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry that she's not getting much better - the trouble is, the more you have already spent, the harder it is to draw a line under it.

 

I'm a bit like Redwing - I would spend £20-30 for antibiotics, but over and above that I would take the view that it was probably not doing the hen any good, and not worth the expenditure for a creature that has a limited lifespan and which is not robust. Sorry if it sounds a bit blunt - all life is precious - but we can't cure every ill, and in a farming situation these hens would just be culled. You have done your best for her.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally agree with Redwing.

 

One of our beautiful Orpington Bantams, Molly, was in very poor health recently and she had no quality of life :( so my OH plucked up the courage and put her out of her misery...it wouldn't have been right to keep her hanging on. It's tough but it sounds like you know which direction you need to go in *hug*

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's so difficult to know what to do, but I have lost 2 hens since I began to keep chickens just over a year ago. The first hen had an impacted crop and the vet attempted to flush out her crop, but it was unsucessful and the vet advised me to have her PTS very sad as she had been a gift. But the decision was cut and dried after discussion with the vet.

 

The second hen just never thrived and despite trips to the vets and antibiotics she slowly went downhill and popped off in her sleep. :(:( Looking back she just wasn't strong and sometimes for whatever reason a chicken is just not robust and despite all our efforts will die.

 

I hope you have a happy outcome. please let us know what happens and best wishes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is very difficult and you have my sympathy because you are trying to do your best.

 

Hettie had roughly three vet trips in four months so it was frequency of trips and quality of life, rather than cost. Because of age/egg problems in the end, the decision made itself when she stopped feeding/walking. I felt another set of antibiotics/injection to help any eggs out/other treatment was unfair at that point though the vet was willing but I knew in a few weeks, we'd be back and I didn't want her to be in pain.

 

It's more complicated with the other two we have left. Lottie has had two sets of vet help since beginning of April. She has occasional balance problems, can't jump and has a rattle sound just below her beak that occurs every 8 weeks but can't ever be diagnosed. She stopped laying in May about four weeks after arriving. Despite the list I have no doubt that she is a very happy hen, very visually alert and has a lot of cheerful life in her. Leia is 4, mad and active as a bag of frogs and going through her first ever moult (!!!) and it is a pretty complete moult, so I am watching and listening to her breathing quite closely in this cold weather.

 

We have BHWT hens and only ever have a maximum of three or four, so they are pets and we have a really reasonably priced vet (rural type farming practice). You have my sympathy and I hope things improve for both of you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am another chicken keeper who is happy to have a stab at treatment, but if the problem appears to be ongoing then it's time to call it a day. In my (albeit fairly limited) experience of poorly hens, if a first treatment doesn't work or at least cause a rapid improvement, then the hen just isn't going to get better. They are sadly not terribly robust creatures and I think that the stress of long term treatment is not always kind to them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a very poorly minature silkie at the moment, she is on her first day of anitibiotics . I feel that if there is no sign of improvement by Mon/Tues then I will have to have her PTS. Its all about quality of life really. Meanwhile fingers crossed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is one more thing that you could try - this worked for one of mine.

 

Little Houdini (chicken of fate) developed an upper respitory issue (gasping, couldn't move except slowly etc) and spent a month on antibiotics which didn't cure the issue but stopped it getting worse. The vet diagnosed that the infection was cured but the upper respitory tract looked swollen likely caused by spores or similar.

 

We'd previously used B&Q bark chippings for a couple of years but they're frequently wet/covered in spores so we tried as a last ditch to change to hemcore - within two weeks Houdini improved massively. The other girls were unaffected by spores, but Houdini is a bantam so I guess she's a fair bit closer to any nasties in the bark chippings than the others.

 

I'm not sure what you use in your run, but if you're not using hemcore or aubiose, it may be worth a try.

 

Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a horrible decision to have to make. For me, It's not about "only a chicken"

it would be about quality of life, and it really sounds like this poor girl has an underlying problem.

 

If you do decide enough's enough, don't feel guilty.

 

I agree exactly with what WitchHazel says here.

 

I spend a lot of money on my Barred Rock - including having her cremated, which some people I know have already 'laughed' about, but my chickens are my pets. However, when quality of life comes into question, I don't want the animal to suffer and if I have tried a few things and my pet wasn't improving, then I would definitely have the chicken pts, please don't feel bad (easy to say, I know) you are doing the right thing.

 

Maybe have a chat with your vet too?

 

x

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having just come back from the vets with Poppy £45 lighter, I think I fall into the 'mad chicken lady' category! :lol:

For this fee she had a full examination, 2 injections (antibiotics and a digestive system thing), and antibiotic tablets to give at home, I was in with the vet for about 25 mins.

 

But my girls are my much loved pets and if I can help them I think it's my duty to do so as they rely on me to care for them, but never at the expense of prolonging their life if its going to be half lived. I can't see an animal suffer but I do understand that money is a factor and spending this amount isn't possible for everyone.

It was definitely worth it as she is much better and happily playing in the garden with her friends again! :clap:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick update - so far, so good (fingers and toes crossed, touch wood etc :!: ). Mrs Beaky seems finally to be much much better; no gurgling or sneezing for quite a few days now :dance: However, I still approach the coop with some trepidation every morning and evening, not quite knowing what to expect. I can't quite yet relax about it, but she is looking good - very alert and bright eyed, eating well, carrying herself very well and doing the normal chickeny stuff.

 

I'm hoping very much that we have finally turned the corner now and that we can put these recent problems behind us and normal service can resume in the egg department too :!: (On Tuesday I had four eggs :!: from five chickens - very impressive considering Bessie never lays anyway and Betty has been moulting). Looking forward to eating Mrs Beaky's eggs in another 25 days' time :!:

 

By the way, I use beechwood chips on the run floor and aubioise in the coop, so I shouldn't have a problem with spores (although it is very muddy and damp in the chicken area in general with all this rain we have had - even the tarp doesn't keep all the rain out).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently had to take one of mine to the vet as she ha a huge lump on her under side that came out of nowhere. Unfortunately there was nothing that could be done for her and she now in the big coupe in the sky.

However my vet did say to me rather randomly, that if a chock is in pain and a lot of distress that it is perfectly ok to, Errrrm how can o put this, well you know, end her suffering myself if I felt upto it. I though it a bit odd at the time, but looking back I can see why she said it.

Dave, the chuck with the lump, started with this huge lump on Saturday morning and there were no vets open unt monday.

I think with any animal its upto you how much you are comfortable with spending to get them better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...