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Intussusception

Intussusception is a serious, life-threatening gastrointestinal emergency in chickens. It occurs when part of the intestine (most often the middle and distal part of the small intestine) folds or slides into the next, similar to pieces of a telescope. When this occurs, it obstructs food and fluids from passing and being digested through the intestine. When the intestine is blocked, the blood supply to the affected part gets cut off and causes damage to the intestine. If left untreated, it can result in internal bleeding and severe abdominal infection leading to death within 2-5 days.

Clinical Signs

Not defecating
Constipation
Progressive weight loss
Loss of appetite
Abdominal swelling
Blood and mucus in feces
Weakness

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Ultrasound
  • Necropsy

Treatment

NameSummary
SurgeryEarly, prompt treatment is required to save the bird. Surgery needs to be conducted by a qualified avian veterinarian.
DexamethasoneMay decrease the risk of another episode

Support

Prevention

Regularly conduct fecal tests and deworm birds as needed.

Prognosis

Poor

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Nematode infection
  • Coccidiosis