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Marek's Nightmare

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

This summer we bought 22 pullets from a local, Wood County, Texas breeder. He claimed to be licensed. I isolated the birds for two months. After integrating these birds with my flock we began to lose the newer birds to Marek's. By this time the entire flock had been exposed to the disease. It has begun to affect my older birds now. I read that a herb, Hypericum Perforatum would cure birds infected with Marek's. After trying this I have determined that it is not effective. I reported the breeder to local health authorities. The course of action I have determined is to simply allow nature to run it's course. I do not think I will lose my entire flock but question whether surviving birds will be carriers of the disease. I would appreciate any knowledgeable advice.

Edited by Reino Ronnie - 10/29/15 at 9:56am
post #2 of 5
Once they have Mareks they are carriers for life as well as any chicks you hatch there.

Check this article out.
post #3 of 5

A lot of people have Marek's in the flock. Some folks vaccinate new chicks before introducing them. Not sure what the ag department would do about the complaint, many NPIP breeders also have Mareks (it is not tested for). Qurantining usually doesn't help at all since Mareks may not show up for months if ever.


Certain breeds are more susceptible and stress has a lot to do with it. Juvenile birds that are stressed by flock integration are the most likely to succumb to it. 


I have had Mareks in my flock for 2 years, virtually every bird that came down with it was a new juvenile bird being introduced. Homegrown chicks are fine, as are my older birds but if someone gets sick or gets picked on they are at high risk.

Edited by Sonya9 - 10/29/15 at 12:16pm
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

20151101 Significant update on Merek's medication.


I mentioned trying Hypericum Perfolatum on some of my infected birds without apparent success. Two days ago I noticed one of my young Barred Rocks limping. I immediately treated her with hypericum perfolatum allowing one pellet to dissolve in 1 cc of distilled water and dividing in three equal parts. Application includes squirting a few drops into each of her nostrils and the remainder into her mouth. The following day her foot had uncurled and she was walking normally. I will continue treating her and the other infected birds every 12 hours until I deem it prudent to cease. I remember reading the necessity of immediate treatment at the first sign of Marek's. Hopefully, this will prove to be a continued, successful protocol.


It's also necessary to note I have been praying and trusting God to heal my chickens, thwart this plague and give me wisdom working with my birds.


Edited by Reino Ronnie - 11/1/15 at 6:03pm
post #5 of 5
Originally Posted by Reino Ronnie View Post

20151101 Significant update on Merek's medication.

 I remember reading the necessity of immediate treatment at the first sign of Marek's. Hopefully, this will prove to be a continued, successful protocol.


Yeah I have tried the human anti-herpes med Valtrex on my birds. Likewise when started immediately at the first hint of symptoms it seems to shut down the Mareks virus and either reverse mild symptoms or prevent new ones.  Once the bird is very ill (tumors or paralysis) then it doesn't seem to work as well, which makes sense since stopping the virus from reproducing isn't very effective after the damage has been done.


In humans it is typically used at high doses for a day or two at the start of cold sores or genital herpes symptoms (or used daily long term to prevent outbreaks entirely).  My plan is to give it to any bird that looks "under the weather" immediately before Marek's symptoms start because I believe an illness or injury of any type could trigger the Marek's virus.

Edited by Sonya9 - 11/2/15 at 2:05am
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