Three days into antibiotics and Sugar was really no better. She wasn't worse, but I wasn't willing to go the whole weekend watching her wheeze and struggle to breath. So off to vet we went.
I LOVE my vet. I love the entire staff at West Valley Pet Clinic in San Jose. I've never really had a pet before. Not one I had to take to the vet so this has been a whole new experience for me. The staff treat me as though my pet chicken is their favorite pet in the whole wide world. But I know for a fact they treat lots of chickens, so that just can't be the case. But it sure makes me feel special when I'm there.
So after some xrays and a culture, it was determined that Sugar does indeed have a nasty respiratory infection. She also had an abdomen full of fluid. Which is not good. It's unclear if that is a side effect of the respiratory infection or if she has something wrong with her reproductive system. So the doctor drained her abdomen, gave her some medicine to help make her more comfortable, and lubed up her vent as she had one HUGE egg ready to pass and she just wanted to make that as easy as possible for her.
My hens are so big and fluffy that seeing an xray of them is really quite fascinating. You can so clearly see all their bones, their lungs, their digestive track and the egg that is ready to pass in addition to the next egg that is already starting to form. How they get a chicken to lay still for an xray is beyond me.
But back to Sugar, the Vet sent me home with a big bottle of antibiotics and five different syringes. One for each hen and each marked with the exact dosage that hen must receive twice daily. I'm desperately trying to simplify my life and this is NOT helping.
I successfully got them to eat it mixed up in some wet feed. Tonight, I mixed it in with some egg and they gobbled that down. So I think I have this figured out. I do have to let the hens out one at a time to give this to them. Otherwise, it's a mass feeding frenzy and I can't control who's getting what. Not to mention, Sugar gets an additional does of anti-imflamatory meds to help ease her wheezing.
And I must say, I noticed an improvement right way. She was no longer open mouth breathing 24 hours later. Here we are three days later and her wheezing is MUCH improved. I can still hear it if I pick her up and hold her up to my ear. But she's so much better.
What amazes me is that she's continued to lay eggs through this whole experience.