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Treating Systemic Candidiasis (Vent Gleet) in Chickens

By Edited Mar 24, 2014 0 0

<Warning:  This whole article is pretty gross.  If you are planning on eating any time soon, stop reading now.>

I have a sick chicken behind me and I’ve spent the last few days reading up on vent gleet, which is a common term for a yeast infection in a chicken.  The condition presents itself as slimy, white, disgusting goo coming out of the back end of your bird.  It stinks to high heaven and dries to become a second cousin to cement.  Vent gleet is usually considered a secondary condition, meaning that something made your bird ill, and the yeast (Candida) took over her system.  You can treat the Candidiasis, but you also need to figure out what else is going on and treat that as well.

Sick Chicken

While researching how to deal with this I discovered that there are a variety of home cures, some of which seemed more logical than others.  There are also prescriptive treatments, Nystatin, for example, but they require a veterinarian and aren’t always easy to come by.  To save you the trouble of doing all the research yourself, here’s what I’ve seen on the web, and my opinion of how useful it is.

Clean the area

I agree, but this isn’t always easy.  This stuff is like glue and coats the feathers, making a rock-hard mass on your chicken’s behind.  Also, her vent is probably very tender to the touch and cleaning can cause her pain.  I recommend a soak in a warm bath and trying to trim the really bad feathers.  Dry her gently when done.

Betadine (or the generic version of it)

I agree with this too for several reasons.  I saw (one place only) that it was recommended by a chicken expert[1] and betadine douches used to be prescribed for women with chronic yeast infections.  The suggested treatment is to spray this on her backside a few times a day for several days.  Instead of doing this I added betadine to my chicken-soak water.  I figured it would be a gentle way of treating the area under the crusty feathers and I could reduce the amount of skin infection without hurting her.

Yogurt

Absolutely!  You need to restore the balance of bacteria and a good quality yogurt is full of the right bacteria. Your girl may not like it, but mine was fine with the idea when I mixed a bit of yogurt in with her cooked egg.

Probiotics

This is another name for the good bacteria you are supplying with the yogurt.  If you have some capsules, you can sprinkle a bit on her food.  I wouldn’t overdo it; just add a little bit for every meal.  The idea is to get a steady supply going in rather than try to replace the whole lot at once.

Gentian Violet/Blu-kote

Thrush

I agree with this.  Gentian Violet is sometimes used by breast-feeding moms[2] whose babies have developed thrush (a yeast infection of the mouth).  From reading mom forums, some claim it’s the only thing that worked while others were less than impressed.  After my girl’s bath I painted her bottom with this.  I only did it once since it’s somewhat drying and her bum looked pretty red already, but I figured it would be a simple way to put a light coating of an anti-fungal agent right near her vent.

Protein

I think this is a very good idea.  People with Candidiasis are advised to cut back on sugar and starches, which feed the yeast, and increase their intake of protein.  For your chicken this means no scratch, and give meal worms as a treat.  I gave my girl straight eggs mixed with yogurt since she’s pretty sick and in my living room.

Apple cider vinegar in the water

Sure, why not.  The idea here is to lower the pH of the digestive system to make it less hospitable for the yeast to grow.  It’s really just a few drops of the ACV, about a tablespoon per gallon - don’t overdo it.  Again, vinegar is recommended to keep vaginal pH at the right level, so why not the chicken’s gut?

Miconazole/Monistat

Mixed thoughts on this one.  I saw some people suggesting you feed some to your bird which I most definitely would NOT do.  It is toxic at some dose[3], and I don’t know what that dose is for chickens, especially sick chickens.  Some people suggested cutting up the ovules (Monistat 3) and putting about a third of one into the cloaca of the bird.  This might help, but it probably wouldn’t be comfortable for the bird and I’d be concerned about the toxicity.  Maybe do it once, but keep in mind that this is a systemic infection and you really need to treat her whole body, not just the rear end.  I did put some of the cream on her butt since I figured that would do no harm and might be soothing to the really sore areas.

Garlic

I dunno.  Some people suggest putting a clove in the water as an anti-fungal, but it seems to be more of a topical thing.  I’m not sure it would do much good as a systemic treatment although I suppose it wouldn’t hurt, and it might help treat any yeast in the mouth.  I gave it a pass.

Epsom salt flush

Or molasses[4].  The idea here is to induce diarrhea to flush out as much of the yeast as possible.  To me, this just sounds like a horrible thing to do to something that already doesn’t feel well, and at best you clear out the crud for a couple hours.  The stuff just grows back and you’re right back where you started, except you’ve subjected your poor bird to some serious discomfort.  I would never do this.

Copper sulfate

I saw this on one site, but it’s also fatal if overdosed.  Much too scary for me.  The site says to use after flushing[4], and you know how I feel about that.

That’s the list of the main treatments I saw, although others may exist.  I’m sticking with the least uncomfortable choices and providing supportive care to try to help her body recover itself.  For me it’s not just about getting rid of the ailment, but about making the whole process as least-bad as I can.

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Bibliography

  1. "The Answer Man." Backyard Poultry. 16/06/2013 <Web >
  2. "Using Gentian Violet." Breastfeeding Inc. 16/06/2013 <Web >
  3. "Monistat-3." Drugs.com. 16/06/2013 <Web >
  4. "Solutions used for poultry." MSUCares. 16/06/2013 <Web >

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