Gapeworms: a Deadly Threat to Chickens
By Tom Seest
At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.
Gapeworms can affect chickens in many different ways. Among the most common symptoms are pale eggs, loose droppings, and a general lethargy in chickens. Their wattles and comb will also lose their vibrant red color. When the worms are large enough, they may cause other symptoms, such as stretching their necks and opening their beaks.
Table Of Contents
- Can Gapeworms Lead to Tracheal Obstruction in Chickens?
- Can Anemia be Caused by Gapeworms in Chickens?
- What are the Effects of Gapeworms on Lymphoid Nodules?
- Secondary Lobar Pneumonia: What are the Risks for Chickens?
- Can Gapeworms Cause Tracheal Rattle in Chickens?
- Can Gut Sanitizers Reduce Gapeworms in Chickens?
- What Treatment Options Are Available for Gapeworms in Chickens?
Gapeworms are a common cause of tracheal obstruction in chickens. The term “gapeworm” comes from the way these worms cause birds to open their mouths and gasp for air. They can grow up to an inch in length and will block a bird’s trachea. Birds with this condition often scream or give their heads a good shake in an attempt to get rid of the obstruction.
Some chicken breeds are more susceptible to these infections than others. The worms are bright red and feed on the bird’s blood. In severe cases, they can invade the bronchi in the lungs and block the trachea, preventing the bird from breathing. This can result in a chicken’s death due to suffocation.
While this condition is not common in backyard poultry, it is important to treat your chickens right away if you suspect that your chickens are infected with this parasite. Treatment of Gapeworms in chickens is best performed at the flock level. You must treat all birds in the flock. Then, quarantine seriously ill birds while you treat the other birds.
Treatment for this parasite is important to avoid an outbreak. Your vet will prescribe a worm treatment based on the stage of infestation and the number of eggs in the bird’s feces. You can also consider administering supplementary oxygen to chickens while the infection is active.
Gapeworms in chickens are a serious threat to the health of your flock. The most effective treatment is vigilance. You can identify the worms’ presence by observing your birds’ behavior. You can also examine their feces under a high-power microscope to see if they are infested. Often, the egg-like gapeworms can be seen in the bird’s droppings. If you are unsure, consult a veterinarian. He or she can also see if the parasite is infecting the bird and, if so, how severe it is.
Gapeworms in chickens can cause a range of problems, including anemia and hemorrhaging. They can also damage a chicken’s respiratory system. Moreover, they can block the gut and cause anemia. Their eggs can also release toxins from the waste. Worms’ eggs develop best in moist areas; therefore, it is crucial to ensure your chickens‘ cleanliness and hygiene.
The most common symptoms of anemia caused by gapeworms in chickens are a pale comb and poor egg production. In rare cases, the comb may be red or enlarged and will indicate a heart or circulatory problem. In case your hens become anemic due to a heavy load of gapeworms, they may become stressed and succumb to upper respiratory diseases.
Lymphoid nodules caused in chickens by gapeworms are relatively rare, but their presence is a cause for concern. The disease can lead to a weakened immune system and decreased production of eggs. It is also associated with increased mortality. Lymphoid nodules are usually inconspicuous and inactive, resulting in a difficult diagnosis.
The disease can also affect other organs, such as the liver, kidney, gonads, intestine, or pericardium. Some chickens may also lose feathers as a result of the disease. Acute disease can lead to enlarged bowels and liver, and chronic diseases can lead to respiratory distress. Lymphoid nodules caused by gapeworms may also cause anemia.
This disease can cause anemia, which can decrease the value of a chicken’s carcass. However, the presence of lesions on the lymph nodes does not mean that the chicken has internal bleeding disorders or is otherwise malnourished. If these lesion symptoms are accompanied by blood loss, then it is advisable to seek medical attention.
Acute lymphoid nodules caused by Gapeworms can cause a bird to develop an infection. While healthy adult chickens can cope with some internal parasites without significant adverse effects, infected birds must be treated with a dewormer immediately. This will prevent permanent damage to the respiratory system and, ultimately, death.
Secondary lobar pneumonia in chickens due to a tapeworm infection is a serious disease affecting the respiratory system. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, sneezing, and gasping. Infected birds may also have an open-mouthed discharge, rales, and paralysis of the legs and wings. The disease is usually fatal, especially in young birds.
This highly contagious disease is caused by infection with small tapeworms called Echinococcus. Echinococcus multilocularis is a species of tapeworm that is 1-4 millimeters long and has intermediate hosts, such as small rodents. It is very rare in humans but can cause parasitic tumors in various organs and can be fatal if left untreated.
Tapeworm infection in chickens can also be acquired from the environment or livestock. In areas of poor sanitation, this infection is more common. While cooking may kill the larvae and eggs, there is no way to be absolutely sure that your chickens are safe from tapeworm infection. It is also important to ensure proper disposal of livestock waste and feces. Moreover, avoid buying raw meat, as it may contain tapeworm eggs.
There are several species of Capillaria in poultry, but the most common is Capillaria obsignata, a parasite of the lower digestive tract. This parasite develops its eggs in the intestines within six to eight days. These eggs are infective to other poultry and can result in severe damage to the intestines and the lining in as little as two weeks. Infected birds are not only severely affected in terms of growth, but they also have reduced egg production.
The rattling noise caused by the trachea is a common sign of gapeworm infestation in chickens. Many people mistake the symptoms of this illness for respiratory infections. Fortunately, most birds can survive a limited number of internal parasites before they begin to negatively impact their health. However, once a chicken begins to show signs of gapeworm, it is imperative to treat it immediately with a dewormer.
Once infected, chickens with gapeworms will open their mouths and stretch their necks out. This is caused by multiple worms growing in the trachea, which partially blocks airflow. In heavily infected chickens, this condition can lead to suffocation or even death. This disease is especially harmful to small breeds of chickens, which usually have smaller tracheas.
The worms can also cause the chickens to cough up worm eggs. If the chicken swallows worm eggs, it can become infected as well. This infection is also common in poultry, including turkeys and pheasants. Chickens can contract gapeworm by eating eggs that were previously consumed by an earthworm or fly. When a chicken consumes this insect, the worms in its tracheas occlude the airway, and the chicken dies.
There are a variety of gut sanitizers for chickens available on the poultry market. Some are herbal and use natural ingredients. Others are more aggressive and use chemical warfare to kill off any pathogens. Those who are concerned about the safety of their chickens’ food supply should stick to natural remedies. For instance, apple cider vinegar is a natural way to clean a chicken’s gut. The vinegar is said to drive worms out of the gut. Another alternative is garlic. It can be added to the chicken water or sprayed on infected soil.
Acidification can improve the water quality in chickens’ pens. This treatment is most effective when coupled with water sanitizers. Using both can provide a synergistic effect that will help control the growth of pathogens. A product like Selko(r)-pH by Trouw Nutrition contains both buffered and free organic acids. It works together with sanitizers to improve water quality and promote optimal gut health in poultry.
It is also important to wash your hands immediately after handling chickens. This is because even chickens can carry and spread bacteria and viruses. Therefore, you must be especially careful and use hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of disease.
Treatment of tapeworms in chickens is a relatively simple process, and it requires the use of a wormer. There are several wormers available on the market, including Albendazole, Praziquantel, and Fenbendazole. Roundworms are another common pest found in chickens. They are large, thin nematodes that live in the soil and are often found in the feces of chickens. Roundworms may also be found in chicken eggs. Roundworms are often contracted by exposing your chickens to other infected birds or infested areas. A heavy infection can block your crop. To treat roundworms, you should consider using garlic, turmeric root extract, and Albendazole.
The first step in treatment is to monitor the worm’s activity. If you suspect that your flock has intestinal worms, consult your veterinarian. He or she can provide a diagnosis and treatment for your flock. Treatments should be given every three to four weeks. This will reduce infection pressure and prevent eggs from being shed and re-contaminating the environment. As the worms’ population decreases, treatment intervals may be extended to every eight or ten weeks. Eventually, if the infection is no longer a serious problem, you can try treating your flock every 10 to 12 weeks.
Treatment of tapeworms in chickens involves prescription medications, such as Fenbendazole or Albendazole. Following the medication, make sure to clean the infected area thoroughly. This might require moving the birds or spraying insecticides. Keeping the area clean and free of contaminated waste will also help prevent further infection.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.