Lola, Adelaide, and the vets – an update

August 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Adelaide, Stewart and Lola in the kitchen, 28 July 2013Blimey, it’s been a packed few weeks. Ok, update time.

On Wednesday 24th I took Adelaide back to see Aunty Susan at the vets’. I was pretty happy with her (she’d been back outside since Saturday morning, and all seemed well), but Susan said she could still hear a bit of noise in her lungs, so it was another ten days’-worth of baytril for the girl. Oh well. At least she’s easy to medicate, and the tablets are quite small.

The following morning I brought both Adelaide and Lola inside. Lola’s wheezing wasn’t improving, despite having been on nearly a week’s worth of Baytril. So we decided that it would be sensible to have them both inside, in a warmer environment, able to be monitored more closely. Lola was still not willing to take his tablets the usual way (wrapped in a small outer coating of mince, both as a disguise and to make for a more pleasant bolus to swallow). Strangely, he just doesn’t seem to like mince, even super-fresh. So there was a twice-daily wrestling session required – Stewart is good at holding heads still, so between the two of us we managed to get things done with a fair amount of economy.

On Friday morning we decided that Lola needed to be seen by a vet. The wheezing was still there, and the harsh whistling sound to his breathing (think Sarah Ulmer after winning gold in the 3000m at the Athens Olympics) (failing that, think asthma attack) was there quite a lot of the time. So I managed to squeeze him in to the cat cage, and took him in to see Aunty Pauline.

Lola en route to the vets, 26 July 2013After admiring him, listening to his lungs and examining him from both ends, Pauline says that whatever else is going on, he had a (visible) partial obstruction of his throat. She thought it could be gape worm, especially given the rain over the last month and a bit. (And just after she said that, he did a beautiful gape.) We wormed them all with Ivomec back in April, which should have dealt with them. But that was three months ago, and apparently the worms can build up resistance to it. So I went home with a bottle of Panacur to dose the two patients – once a day for three days – finish the course of antibiotics that he was already on, and phone back on Monday with a progress report.

He really did behave impeccably. Stood up tall and calm on the table, looking around the room with a mild curiosity. Nothing seemed to faze him at all, which is in stark contrast to most of our chooks, who get quite unhappy about the whole situation. Mind you, when I say he behaved himself impeccably … when Pauline left the room to check on Ivomec vs Panacur for gape worm, I took the opportunity to grab a paper towel and clean the poo out of the cage. I threw it in the bin, and discovered that he’d just had another poo on the exam table. Cleaned it up, binned it, and lo, yet another. Without any exaggeration at all, this happened five times. Each time he waited until I walked to the bin before pooing again. The final time I just kept the wadded up paper beside me. And he still managed one more. Sigh!

chipsOk, time to cut a long story short. By Monday (29th July) he had improved a bit, but there was still the harsh wheezing after he exerted himself. So we began him on a course of Synermox – great antibiotic, but an absolutely huge tablet. And he gets a whole one, night and morning. Oh joy. But we’ve discovered he will eat them if we tuck them into a chip. (Yes, as in fried potato from the local Fish and Chip shop). He seemed to be getting much better, and by Wednesday and Thursday the harsh wheezing was pretty much gone. Hooray!

Then Friday morning rolled around, and he was worse. Way worse. The wheezing was almost constant, and you could hear him breathing from across the room.
Back to the vets.

We still don’t know what is going on with him. Pauline listened to his lungs, his throat and his chest, and the sound seems to be in his throat and/or head rather than his lungs. With the (admiring) assistance of one of the nurses, Pauline gave him a spray of local anaesthetic and took a swab from his throat. Apparently there is something filamentous in there, but it doesn’t look like aspergillosis (although we’re waiting for the pathologist to have a look and confirm). There’s also some inflammation to the trachea, and things were’t quite opening properly.

The weird thing? While Pauline was out of the room, looking at the swab under a microscope, Lola’s breathing improved. Not totally – if you put your head near him, you could still hear him take each breath. But you hardly had to even be in the same room before that. And the effect lasted for quite a few hours. So is it fungal, or just down to inflammation? (In other words, does rooster-boy have a case of larangytis?!) Neither? Both? That, and more?!

Lola, 28 July 2013He is continuing his antibiotic (Synermox), but with the addition of an antifungal (Sporanox – which I have to divvy up into five doses from each capsule – I look like I’m cutting cocaine) and some anti-inflammatory (Metacam). And he really is very good about it all – will try to eat the tablets even if they fall out of the chip, as long as there is some potato smeared around it. He definitely seems to understand what we want and need him to do. And other than producing a phenomenal amount of poo, is a very easy patient. Having Adelaide (who seems better now) with him helps, I’m sure. We give a progress update to Pauline again on Monday, and will try to work out where to go from there. He’s better than he was on Friday, which is good. But there’s still something not right – he gurgles a bit sometimes (usually if I’ve picked him up though, so it could just be pressure related), and the harsh wheezing is back after he has a bit flap (but not – currently – after a session of crowing, which is good).

Poor boy. Not a lot of fun, for any of us.

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