The vet just called with very interesting lab results. They go to show that it can look like a duck, quack like a duck and walk like a duck, but not be a duck. My hens did not have Mycoplasma. They had foamy, shut eyes and respiratory distress and one died, all textbook symptoms of Mycoplasma – but they had a different infection. Despite $137 worth of lab tests, we’re still not sure what they did have, but we know what they didn’t. The tests were conclusively negative for Mycoplasma. There was a slightly elevated level of E. coli and gram-negative bacteria. Perhaps one of those, or both, caused the symptoms. Perhaps not. Fortunately, regardless of the cause, the treatment worked.
I’m of two minds about how worthwhile those tests were. Obviously, since I’m just getting the results back now, the knowledge they provide isn’t timely. If I’d waited to make treatment decisions based on the tests more hens would have died. However, if the Tylan and doxycycline weren’t effective, it would have been important to confirm exactly what infectious agent we were fighting and the cultures would have been worth the expense. In the end, for me, it’s worth it to find out what I didn’t know. I’ve a responsibility to you, my readers, to get it right. So much of what we think is going on with our flocks’ health is pure conjecture. In this case I’m pleased to know a tad more than I did before.