having trouble diagnosing sneezing gaping chicks

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My chicks have been gaping and sneezing for almost 6 weeks. I ordered 2 shipments of 25 each from different breeders and the first group was healthy. After about a week a few of the 2nd batch started this gasping thing and it spread so I put them all on oxytetracycline for 2 weeks. Other than an initial loss of about 5 chicks (out of 50) I have seen no worsening or improvement of the condition. I have scanned the archives and web sites for symptoms but nothing quite matches. They do not have watery eyes or discharge, breathing is not noticably wheezy (but I haven't tried a stethoscope yet. The occasional sneezing and gaping are the only symptoms. I see no worms, their food is grow crumble, I use grass hay as a bedding, they have a warmer light for each group, the weather has been in the 40s at night, 60s day.

My best guess was CRD but I used 2 tsp per gallon of the antibiotic which said it was for that, among other things. Now I see symptoms spreading to my older flock. HELP!

-- MBroberg (tmbroberg@hotmail.com), December 13, 2001



This page has a list of symptoms and diseases, maybe it will help.

Some possibilities might be ~ infectious coryza mycoplasma CRD just "the crud" sniffles/sneezing

If your medicine didn't help, you might want to try something else....tylan and gallimycin have both worked for me and I think they are two of the more "stronger" antibiotics.

-- Tracey in Alabama (trjlanier@cs.com), December 13, 2001.

I have been watching the chicks for the last few hours, trying to see if there is anything more that may help. I noticed one chick making occasional stretching motions with its neck and trembling like it was cold. Could these be the "tremors" mentioned in "Newcastle"?

-- MBroberg (tmbroberg@hotmail.com), December 13, 2001.

What about The Gapes, worms in the throat?

I think you're supposed to be able to see them if you look.

-- LBD (lavenderbluedilly@hotmail.com), December 14, 2001.

Sounds like gapeworm.

Gapeworm Infection

Causative Agent: Syngamus trachea

Gapeworms are long, bright red worms that attach themselves to the inside lining of the trachea.

Method of Spread

Gapeworms produce eggs that are coughed up, swallowed, and passed out of the host through the feces. These eggs or the resulting larvae are then picked up by other birds during feeding. Earthworms may also ingest the parasite, and birds can become infected by eating infected earthworms.


Gapeworms can be present in such numbers that they may completely fill the airway, resulting in extreme respiratory difficulty. Game birds and waterfowl are particularly susceptible to this infection. Infected birds typically gasp for air and breath with extended necks.

Treatment and Prevention

Flock owners often mistakenly treat affected flocks with antibiotics, which are ineffective against these worms. If gapeworm infections are treated incorrectly, many birds will die. Effective wormers are available through your veterinarian. Most over-the-counter wormers (nonprescription) are ineffective.

Diagnosis is made by demonstrating worms in the airway or by observing their eggs in the feces under a microscope. Raising game birds on wire above the ground can greatly reduce the incidence of this disease.

Click For Photo Of Gapeworms

-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), December 14, 2001.

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