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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok for the first time ever I had a case of gape worm in one of my young sussex hens I did some researched tried a few diff options with no prevail so I finally tried safe guard its a wormer for horses it has fenbendazole in it and was told it would work right away. Well safe to say 2 days later my little hen is breathing better and she's eating on her own yah. Now I would like to know is there a preventative measure I can take for this not to happen again please all info will be helpfull. In all my years this is the first time I've ever had this problem thanks guys.
 

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Info on the worm.... never had it in any of my flocks so I'm thinking the part about sunshine desiccating the larva might have something to do with it. Not raising birds in damp conditions where snails and slugs thrive might also be part of it, as well as not running birds on heavily contaminated soils one finds in a chicken run that is barren of grasses and stays wet a lot.

Not sure, but I'd be less inclined to believe this occurs on free range flocks as much as the article implies... and more in flocks confined to damp, shady runs with highly contaminated soils.

Gapeworms
Gapes is a condition caused by the pathogenic nematode roundworm Syngamus trachea and is most likely to be seen in free-range systems where chickens may be kept together with infected pheasants, or on infected pasture. The condition, which is common in both wild and domestic birds, results in paralysis and physical blockage of the respiratory tract, leading to difficulty in breathing. Infected birds respond with outstretched necks and open mouths. The disease is called 'gapes' from the characteristic gaping mouth of an afflicted bird. The disease can occur sporadically and can result in severe loss of condition and high rates of mortality.
The life cycle of the nematode most frequently involves the earthworm, although it can be more direct. In the earthworm, infections can persist for long periods and soils can become heavily infected for many years. Infective larvae may live as long as several years in infected intermediate hosts. There is evidence that the passage of the larvae through earthworms renders them more highly infective to chickens. Game and wild birds provide a reservoir for the parasite.
The worms are bright red, with the male measuring 2 to 6mm and the female 5 to 20mm. The male becomes firmly attached to the tracheal wall and is in almost permanent copulation with the females, forming an easily distinguishable Y-shape. Eggs produced by the female worm are carried by the mucus of the trachea to the pharynx where they are swallowed and eventually passed out of the bird in faeces. Under optimal temperature and humidity levels, the egg undergoes a third stage, moulting to produce an infective larva. Eggs containing larvae have been reported to survive on pasture and up to 9 months in soil.
Syngamus trachea (gapeworm)
male and female in permanent copulation.
Syngamus trachea (gapeworm)
in the trachea of a pheasant
Syngamus trachea (gapeworm)
Adult worms in the trachea of a turkey.
Eggs on pasture may undergo three different courses of development. The infective larvae may remain in the eggs and become ingested by birds in this form. Alternatively, the larvae may hatch from the eggs on about the ninth day of incubation. In this form the larvae are easily killed by desiccation from sunlight, or they may survive for many weeks in shaded areas. A third course of development may be ingestion by a facultative intermediate hosts, such as earthworms, slugs, snails or house flies. The larvae can penetrate the intestinal walls of the invertebrate hosts and remain there for long periods. The larvae may remain viable in slugs and snails for more than a year, and up to 4 years in earthworms. Since an invertebrate host may accumulate many larvae, ingestion of a single intermediate host by a single bird may result in a severe infection.
After ingestion of the worm larva, either in the form of an intermediate host or as a free egg, the larva migrates in the bird from the bowel to the lungs via the blood stream. Larvae undergo a fourth stage moult at about the third day after ingestion, and undergo a fifth larval stage in the bronchi of the lungs on the fifth day of infection. Copulation starts at this time. By the seventh day of infection the parasite is found in the trachea. They reach sexual maturity twelve days after this and eggs can be found in poultry faeces 18 to 20 days after infection.
Although gapeworms are only rarely found in mature layers, the parasites can survive in poultry birds for long periods. They are more often found in adult turkeys.
Gape worms are not commonly seen in poultry reared on impervious floors. Only chicks up to 8 weeks of age are susceptible. Since most commercial systems now involve rearing of chicks in systems where they are not in constant contact with their droppings and not ingesting earthworms, the incidence of gapes is not widespread. The disease can be found in turkeys kept on dirt floors.
Not sure how and where your birds are kept but you might look into conditions stated in which the worms cycle and thrive and try to lessen these conditions. Also, try to lessen contact with the most common vectors of slugs, snails, wild birds, etc.

Culling for health can also eliminate those birds most likely to be carriers and cycling these parasites into the soils.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's what's strange we haven't had rain for over 3 months there's no veggitation around and it's virgin land there on no other chickens they are confined to a large coop but its been very hot and sunny. Now I've also been told that wild birds can carry it so maybe that is how it happened like I said never had it before and hopefully I never get it again every one else seemed ok.
 
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