Chickens and other poultry are prone to vent gleet, commonly known as cloacitis. It’s a rare infection characterized by persistent inflammation of the cloaca.
The space where the digestive, excretory, and reproductive tracts come together is known as the cloaca. Since every one of these bodily functions empties into the cloaca, it is vulnerable to any infection associated with any of these organs, leading to vent gleet.
Causes of Vent Gleet
The condition known as vent gleet can be caused by a variety of reasons (e.g. bacteria, parasites, yeast, etc.)
For example, a chicken may experience a highly stressful situation, which then causes vent gleet to begin. A stressed chicken may regularly produce loose, watery poop, which is a sign that the cloaca is not working correctly. And infection can spread to a cloaca that isn’t working properly.
When more than one chicken in your flock develops vent gleet, it could be caused by stress in the environment. For example, extreme heat in the summer, parasites, low-quality feed, or contaminated feed and water can all cause multiple chickens to develop vent gleet.
Infections of the uterus or intestines can also cause vent gleet.
The most common cause of vent gleet is extreme stress, which raises intestinal pH, weakens the immune system, and can leave the body vulnerable to an infection of some sort.
Symptoms of Vent Gleet
The first sign of vent gleet is usually a discharge coming from the chicken’s vents that has a tint that is either greyish yellow or green and sticks to the feathers surrounding the vent.
Other symptoms may include:
- Swollen, red vent
- Loose, water poop (can sometimes be slimy and bloody in advanced cases)
- Bloated abdomen
- Bad odor
- Reduced production of eggs
- Decreased appetite
Treatment of Vent Gleet
Since vent gleet is a condition that can be brought on by a variety of factors, determining the source of the infection is necessary in order to treat the chicken.
However, at the first sign of vent gleet, follow these steps:
- Use warm, soapy water to wash the vent feathers.
- Insert a saline-solution wound wash into the vent with an oral syringe, and then massage the region around the cloaca. (You should be able to remove a buildup of hard poop if the chicken is constipated.)
- After cleaning the cloaca, use an iodine-based antiseptic like Betadine to finish the job.
- Add vinegar to the drinking water at a rate of 1 tbsp per gallon to promote good bacteria.
For 3 to 4 days, repeat the steps above, isolating the chicken if it’s in discomfort or is being bullied by other chickens in the flock.
If the chicken’s condition does not improve, take a stool sample to the veterinarian for a culture to identify what’s causing the ailment.
Treatment for advanced vent gleet cases is more challenging since the infection might migrate to the colon or uterus.
Normally, cloacal infections won’t spread from one chicken to another, but when the entire flock is exposed to a stressful situation, all of the chickens are equally vulnerable to illness.