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kittyl

Flystrike in an elderly hen

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Bonny is a 10 y/o brahma who has health issues. I was expecting her to leave us sometime this year as she's slowing down, goes to bed early, gets up late. But I refused to allow her demise to be by maggots! I found her infested yesterday morning, remembering something I'd read I soaked her in warm salt water for an hour whilst spooning out hundreds of maggots that floated up. We thought we 'd got them all but found lots of them wriggling up her body under her feathers trying to escape, then clumps of them hiding under her wings🤢  We sprayed her wounds with purple septi cleanse, which killed most of the remaining maggots. I phoned the emergency vet who advised ivermectin spot on, which I gave her.  She was in shock so stayed in a pet carrier with a heat pad.  Today she has gradually perked up, started eating and drinking and standing. No sign of maggots, but her wounds are quite large (shallow but large in area) & looked scabbed. I'm not sure what to do now, I think I should keep her indoors for a few days to start with but not sure if I should put something on her wounds or leave them alone to scab up. I have a seperate run she could go into but I'm afraid the flies might get her again.  I bought some Johnsons flystrike protector but am unsure if I can put this on her wounded area?  The obvious thought would be take her to my vet but he isnt very knowledgabe about chickens & I'd rather not stress her any further at the moment.  Does anyone here have experience of flystrike? particuarly about the healing process?

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This is a horrible situation and without actually seeing how bad she is it’s difficult to judge, but I’m afraid I’m inclined to agree with Cattails.

However if you are going to keep her going, I would definitely keep her indoors until her wounds are really getting well healed, otherwise I would imagine she will end up in the same situation again.

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Flystrike attacks skin in poor condition, particularly below a dirty vent. Our case was also an old hen and we syringed salt water under the skin to flush out all the maggots which were then picked off with tweezers; a long process. The wound did scab over quite quickly, but the skin didn't grow back very much so a repeat was always a risk. We kept her in for a few days and then let her out, checking her daily. We didn't put anything on the skin or wounds for fear of causing damage to something already fragile. The risk to her will be when soil bathing, so make sure there are no stones or hard soil around to knock the scabs off. Our hen did live for another 6 months or so before she became very lethargic, stopped eating and died in her sleep.

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thank you all for the replies. I'm in a delema about it. Bonny does have underlying health issues, her breathing has is bubbly & clicky for a long time & she's gradually slowed down, sleeps in till late morning & goes to bed late afternoon. At over 10 years old she's been "winding down" but still enjoying life, dustbathing, lying in the sun, bossing the ex batts about. She has only one eye, hence her name (after Anne Bonny the pirate) & she's the end of an era for me. I dont want her to suffer in what is probably her last summer anyway, I was hoping she'd just drift off like your old girl Beantree. But the more i think about it, how much healing she's got to do, with her already slowly deteriorating from something else (old age). The risk of the flies getting her again, maybe when I'm not around.  I think sadly I've come to a decision I dont like.😔

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I think you have made absolutely the right decision @kittyl. Bubbly and clicky breathing is a sign of something growing in her throat and obstructing her airway, which may well be canker. Is is time to let her go with no further suffering.

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 Yes I think Bonny does have canker in her throat, she has alot of mucus in her mouth sometimes, that's not a nice way to go either is it. I feel confident about this now, (but very sad) her appointment is made for this afternoon. Thankyou all for helping me make the right decision.

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