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Sick EMU

(Emus, Rheas, Ostriches, Cassowary)

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pat
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby pat » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:15 pm

eva,

yes, it is the same. sorry about that, I didn't spell it correct :red-face:

here is a couple links that has some info on it. it refers to llamas, but, emus also get this.
http://amberwavespygmygoats.com/index.p ... &Itemid=73

http://www.vet.utk.edu/news/story/brain ... pacas.html

http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/deerworm.html


the deer was never really on my property, it is fenced in. I have dogs on the property, but, they are not usually out at night.
I doubt the deer came in my yard, because I am pretty much surrounded by corn fields. think because my property has a slight slant where when it rains, or some other way, some of these slugs ended up on my property. also, it is possible that leaves or whatever can get to the the property.

you could try and give the sick emu another dose. never hurts to try. but, once these worms get to certain stage,
nothing will help..

I am not saying that is the problem with your emus, but, it does sound like it. could be something else that has the same or similar symptoms.

let us know how everything is going. I hope the sick one can be saved.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby Nicophorus » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:24 pm

Both the parasites Pat and I are talking about do basically the same thing, they are picked up from the environment after being shed out by their primary host (Deer, Raccoons, others).

They both do the same thing, cause Encephalitis by damaging the brain/nervous system. So no telling what exactly your Emus have but to me the signs sound like encephalitis.

The worm Pat is referring to is talked about here:

http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/deerworm.html

But like I said, more than one "worm" causes those conditions. I just know I don't have deer on my property, but I sure do have Raccoons, I've caught them eating out of my emu's buckets before.

IF this is your emu's problems, I think what you can do is just nurse them best you can, and give them some invermectin. I worm my Emu's every two months when I do my Donkey, as a routine precaution. Its funny because I only worm my goats once or maybe twice an entire year.

edit: looks like Pat posted the link already
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby pat » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:36 pm

Nicophorus,

thank you for clearing some of that. I only know about the problem I had. but, from what you explained,
sounds like other worms can have the same or similar.

I didnt know about the raccoons until you mentioned it.

guess, it all boils down to maintenance icon_confused.gif
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby espade » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:56 pm

Pat & Nicophorus,

Thank you both. Would the Encephalitis be happening now? Does it stay dormant and come out in the winter? He's still very strong as far as trying to get away from us when we're giving him his tube of fiber/electrolytes... he still hasn't stood up. He doesn't have diarrhea or anything like that and is still very alert. We gave all the birds ivermectin orally within a grape, they didn't like it very much but, we got it into them. :icon-wink: My biggest concern is the rest of the EMUs and keeping them healthy. Do either of you think it could be something lodged in his gizzard? Thanks, again.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:06 pm

Yeah she means the meningeal worm.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby Nicophorus » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:27 pm

espade wrote:Pat & Nicophorus,

Thank you both. Would the Encephalitis be happening now? Does it stay dormant and come out in the winter? He's still very strong as far as trying to get away from us when we're giving him his tube of fiber/electrolytes... he still hasn't stood up. He doesn't have diarrhea or anything like that and is still very alert. We gave all the birds ivermectin orally within a grape, they didn't like it very much but, we got it into them. :icon-wink: My biggest concern is the rest of the EMUs and keeping them healthy. Do either of you think it could be something lodged in his gizzard? Thanks, again.


Since what you described seems like neurological damage (weakness, lameness, disorientation, snaking his neck around on the ground, etc) then he is experiencing encephalitis now (its a symptom, swelling/damage to the brain and or nervous system) caused by.... <insert parasite or disease of choice here.>

I would personally give my entire flock more invermectin, but this time as an injection under the skin.

Read this blurb talking about Emus:

Chicks should receive their first vaccination for EEE/WEE at six weeks of age, using a full one cc dose. Chicks should then be boostered for EEE/WEE three to four weeks later, then every six months. They should also begin receiving 1% cattle ivermectin SQ, every three weeks at a dosage of 1 cc per 110 pounds of body weight, beginning when they are first placed outdoors (in areas where grackles are indigenous). The ivermectin prevents migration of Chandlerella quiscali, a filarid nematode that has the natural host of the grackle and is transmitted by the Culicoides gnats. Other parasitic problems are the raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis, which can cause verminous encephalitis, both in adults and chicks from ingestion of eggs. Coccidiosis is common in chicks and may also be observed occasionally in adults. Large numbers of coccidia may cause some intestinal problems, including diarrhea, but the birds seem to develop a resistance and tolerance to these parasites as they age, similar to what we see in companion animal species. Emus are also susceptible to ascarids, other types of intestinal worms, tracheal and lung worms, and protozoa.


But I would say every 3 weeks is over doing it and overly cautious. I guess every owner has to decide for themselves a balance between preventative treatment and practicality/affordability. As I said I do it every 2 months. I also vaccinate for EEE/WEE/WestNile just once a year (along with my donkey too).

The fact you say it can't even get up off the ground is, troubling. Birds, more then any other animal like to hide their illness, so a grounded bird is a VERY sick bird.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby pat » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:35 pm

Would the Encephalitis be happening now?

I guess it depends on how long the emu had it. from what I have read, I think it takes 30-60 days to get to this stage.
but, again, not sure. I think that might of been mentioned in one of the links.

Does it stay dormant and come out in the winter?
I don't think so. but, not sure.

He's still very strong as far as trying to get away from us when we're giving him his tube of fiber/electrolytes... he still hasn't stood up. He doesn't have diarrhea or anything like that and is still very alert.
I hope I am wrong, but, when it gets to the point where they cannot stand, it may be too late.

Do either of you think it could be something lodged in his gizzard?
I doubt it. they would not be acting the way they are. but, again, I don't know what happens when something is lodged in the gizzard.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby espade » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:50 pm

Is the Encephalitis passed from bird to bird? So is the Encephalitis created by a parasite that the bird may have eaten a bug/slug in the summer/fall and now we are seeing the effects?The previous bird that passed in November did the neck thing but, Gaston the current sick one has full control of his neck and eyes. Yes, he is very sick but, his mind is very good and seems unaffected. If he does pass we will bring him to Penn State Animal diagnostics lab to be necropsy. Hopefully, we will have a better answer as to what is going on with our EMUs. You guys are very helpful... I have been reading so much and basically what I've been focused on for over a week. I'm sorry I keep asking so many questions but, I'm determined to find out what it is.

So, should we inject the ivermec in a month... we did it orally this evening. Our birds are friendly but, not to the point of holding still for a needle. Where would you inject them, neck or thigh?
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby Nicophorus » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:27 pm

The Encephalitis is a symptom not a cause, its like a fever. You don't "give" someone a fever, you give someone the flu and then maybe they will then develop a fever as part of their symptoms.

If a emu wont stand still for a needle under the skin (in the thigh is fine) then you gentle push them down on the ground and kind of sit on them, firmly but don't put too much weight on them. Then they will, with their legs tucked under them, just is there.

I still would give injection now, since you have only given orally, but that's just me.

The two emus having slightly different symptoms might not mean much. May just mean the larva of whatever they picked up decided to make a left turn in the brain or spine or wherever, instead of a right turn (so to speak).

If it does die let us know what the necropsy says, who knows this could be something totally out of left field too.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby pat » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:55 am

Nicophorus

great explanation. I didn't know all the types of problems emus can have. I need to update my emu page with some of this info.

I also agree, injectable would be best. its worth a "shot".

years ago, I got 4 emus from a zoo. they were adults. I can remember 3 out of 4 died. (wasn't too long after I had them)
2 died from the meningeal worm. the one died from something I have no idea. I just remember he kept thrushing his head against the wall, and found blood all over the wall. it was horrible. not sure what all happened, because when I found him,
there was blood all over and he was dead. what gets me, is, he was fine the prior day. still don't know what was wrong.

the other ones died from the meningeal worm. can't remember how long from the time I seen the start of it, until they died. seems it was a few weeks.

I called the zoo and told them what happened, they replaced them with Rocky. (he was great and super friendly)
I don't know how old he was, but, he lived for a long time. then one day, I found him dead. prior to that, he had no symptoms of anything.

do you know what their life span is? I get mixed information on that one. some places say 20, some say 40 :shrug:

I would love to get a couple more emus, but, this time, babies

thanks again for the info

eva,
hope your emus make it. keep us updated
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby espade » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:23 am

Thanks so much again. Lots of great info. A couple questions, will the parasite pass from bird to bird? How is it transmitted from bird to bird? Do they all have the parasite because they live together? What is the best place to give them.the shot? Thanks so much.... Eva.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby Nicophorus » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:12 am

espade wrote:Thanks so much again. Lots of great info. A couple questions, will the parasite pass from bird to bird? How is it transmitted from bird to bird? Do they all have the parasite because they live together? What is the best place to give them.the shot? Thanks so much.... Eva.


I would say if one has it, they all do. Like the descriptions under the various parasites say, depending on how heavy their infestation is and where the larva decide to migrate to you will get widly different symptoms, or no symptoms at all if the larva migrate to non critical areas and the emu's body walls them off and destroyes/absorbs them first.

For a invormectin shot anywhere under the skin is fine, but I'd avoid the neck since its full of veins and tubes. I'd also avoid the back because I wonder how effective the shot is , if its injected into their mass of stored fat they keep there. Just do the upper leg in my opinion.

Here is another good article on the raccoon parasite:

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-15 ... --,00.html

In that article they suggest steroids to help with the swelling (in the brain/nervous system/eyes) and minimize the damage done while the Emu's body slowly gets rid of these traveling Larva. All the Invormectin is going to do is stop any MORE larva from leaving the Emu's intenstines/guts and starting their traveling roadshow through their body (causing damage and encephalitis). Can you ask your vet about some steraroids to help get the emu though this?

So I think you should, as I said, just try to support/nurse the sick emus and get them all on preventative worming routine and until you figure out what exactly is making your flock sick, I'd also thinking about EEE/WEE/Westnile horse three-way vaccinations. (which can get expensive, I got to find cheep vaccines myself.. the BIG ratite producers do not vaccinate and the roll the dice and accept some losses since it would be cost prohibitive to vaccinate their big flocks regularly. A few emu pets though is another story).
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby espade » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:58 pm

Thanks again, so if we keep doctoring him and forcing electrolytes and fiber and get him stronger he may beat the worm. I have prednisone at home. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and last time I was.prescribed it I didn't take it because I hate taking that stuff. Maybe I could look up a dose for a dog and see the mg to give the sick emu. Probably dosing isn't online for an Emu. I didn't realize that if they all have it they can beat it. I was in a horrible state of sadness when assumed they may all end up like my sick one. I know we list the two in November and now this one is sick. Should I increase what I'm tube feeding him? We have a juicer and I can make him a green juice with primarily kale and add fiber... Would this be more beneficial and I'm only giving him like 8.oz of electrolyte/fiber mix... Didn't want to force too much.. thanks.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby pat » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:58 pm

so if we keep doctoring him and forcing electrolytes and fiber and get him stronger he may beat the worm.

all you can do is try and hope for the best. depends on how long he had it :icon-frown:

not sure about the prednisone, you could try it on the sick one.

Should I increase what I'm tube feeding him? We have a juicer and I can make him a green juice with primarily kale and add fiber... Would this be more beneficial and I'm only giving him like 8.oz of electrolyte/fiber mix... Didn't want to force too much..
at this point, it can't hurt, but, doubtful it will help. is he getting worse by the day, or remaining the same? if you can give him an injection of ivomec, might help, but, depends on what stage he is in.
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Re: Sick EMU

Postby espade » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:15 pm

I was a little hopeful this evening when I got home from work. He was picking at the ground. So, we brought some food out to him and he picked at it a few times. But, when we did our tubing he just seemed crappy again. He seems stronger but, I'm really not sure. I did give him some prednisone and we will give him a shot in the thigh tomorrow of the Ivermec. I really would like to give the rest of them shots but, just not sure how to accomplish that. I realize the IV will get into their bloodstream faster but, if we gave orally at a higher dose hopefully it won't metabolize to quickly. I found this article and it's seems very easy to read and understand... http://parajacksalpacas.hubpages.com/hub/Meningeal-Worm .

I'm hoping that he isn't in this state for months... I hope we see signs of improvement or that he passes and stops suffering. I'm not one to give up but, enough already.

We've spoken with a woman at Penn State and we will have an autopsy done but, when reading about this worm it says unless you actually find the worm in the CNS is the only way to say Meningeal worm. From what I've read you can't do a blood test.

I'll keep everyone posted... sure hope to have an improvement report :)

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