Queen Elizabeth (“Queenie”) is a 7-year-old bantam Cochin hen who presented to Dr. Rebecca Gounaris at the Pleasantville Animal Hospital of Fallston for a suspected reproductive issue. The hen had a history of decreased egg laying, laying tiny eggs and progressive reduction in activity level over a course of two months. During that duration, she also gained a significant amount of weight (from 1.03 kg to 1.22 kg).
Dr. Rebecca gave Queenie a physical exam. Queenie’s abdomen was distended (enlarged) with fluid (ascites). The hen was breathing heavily and starting to show signs of cyanosis made evident by the darkened color of her comb. The fluid accumulation inside Queenie’s body was compressing her air sacs, making it harder for her to breath.
Radiographs revealed the presence of multiple spherical masses inside Queenie’s abdomen. Dr. Rebecca performed an exploratory coeliotomy (surgery) to remove the spherical masses and clean out the fluid in Queenie’s abdomen. Dr. Rebecca was able to determine that the spherical masses seen in the radiographs were actually ovarian follicles.
A hen’s ovary is composed of a cluster of sacs containing several thousand tiny ova, each with their own follicle. When the bird reaches sexual maturity, the ovary starts producing follicles. Normally, once these follicles develop, they are released from the ovary into the oviduct to form eggs.
In Queenie’s case, the follicles stopped releasing into the oviduct (to become eggs). Instead, they remained attached to the ovary, increasing in size and rupturing into the body cavity. The inflammation caused by the presence of these free-floating follicles resulted in ascites (fluid accumulating within her abdomen).
Dr. Rebecca removed most of the free-floating follicles and drained the fluid from Queenie’s abdomen. Queenie’s recovery from the surgery went smoothly and she was discharged with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine to help with any post-surgical pain.
Pleasantville Animal Hospital of Fallston, located in Fallston, Maryland, is a family-owned, full-service hospital that provides veterinary services for dogs, cats and birds. Their expertise in the field now spans over three family generations, and they are very proud of this unique heritage. The hospital has an in-house laboratory, allowing for rapid diagnostic testing for critical care patients, digital radiography (xrays), surgical suite, and an on-site pharmacy. Dr. Scott Gounaris has been practicing veterinary medicine for 35 years and founded Pleasantville Animal Hospital in 2002. His daughter, Dr. Rebecca Gounaris, now works alongside him, and they approach each case as a team.
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About Dr. Rebecca Gounaris
Dr. Rebecca L. Gounaris is a small animal and backyard poultry veterinarian at Pleasantville Animal Hospital of Fallston in Fallston, MD. She is a 2016 graduate of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition to her lifetime love for cats and dogs, she has a deep passion for birds and participated in externships at several exotic veterinary clinics during her senior year. She worked for many years at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark, DE, where she formed the foundation of her career caring for birds in need. Dr. Rebecca acquired her first flock of chickens in 2019 and has completely fallen in love with backyard poultry. She now has close to 30 chickens (yes, they all have names) that live on her wooded property in PA, where she lives with her husband, Brandon, and baby boy, Ezra. One of her greatest ambitions is normalizing medical care for backyard poultry.
About Dr. Scott Gounaris
Dr. Scott Gounaris graduated from the University of Florida Veterinary School in 1982. His lifetime love for animals drove him to choose veterinary medicine as he wanted to help animals that could not help themselves. Dr. Scott Gounaris enjoys the teamwork that we and the pet owners employ to work together for the welfare of their pets. The greatest reward for him is a positive outcome for his patient and their owners. With over 40 years of experience in the veterinary field, Dr. Scott Gounaris has seen it all. Prior to opening Pleasantville Animal Hospital of Fallston, he worked for his father, who was also a veterinarian. Now the father of a recent veterinary school graduate, a current veterinary school student, and a college undergraduate, he has shared his love of the profession with the next generation of Gounaris doctors.