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8 week old Columbian Wyandotte with Mereks

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello, I have an 8 week old chick that was vaccinated for mereks but the vet is pretty sure that she is showing symptoms of it now. She has a paralyzed right foot but the rest of the leg is working well. She was on 5 days of antibiotics and today got a steroid shot. Symptoms started Monday 3/22 and today is 3/30 so just over a week ago. My issue is her eating. She refuses to eat any chick feed (I have went thru all available brands at tractor supply) she will gladly eat boiled or scrambled eggs but is refusing her water and feed. I have resorted to putting feed in my blender and making a powder of it, putting 2 raw eggs and some water in it, and making a thick liquid and syringing it into her mouth 20cc at a time for breakfast and dinner, she gets an egg for lunch. She will swallow on her own. But egg is the only thing she will willingly put in her mouth. Can anyone give me ideas on how to get her eating her feed again? Any advice is appreciated. She is sick of me force feeding her and I'm sick of worrying about her being hungry.
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
She's a hatchery chick. She came with 27 others. The day I noticed her acting odd I found 1 chick much worse. It died on the way to the vet. I'm trying very hard to get her back on her feet and she has come along way. No longer lethargic but very active despite her paralysis. So I don't understand her refusal to eat! The preliminary results on the necropsy of the deceased chick showed no illness but still waiting on some other tests. However vet and lab both believe it's mereks.
post #3 of 8

What hatchery did the chicks come from? Have you double checked with them to make sure they were vaccinated? I would try chick vitamins that contain riboflavin, on the chance that it might be curled toe paralysis from riboflavin deficiency. I'm not sure why the foot would be paralyzed while the leg was moving with Mareks disease. Tube feeding twice a day would be possibility. You might first try just putting the wet feed with raw egg for her to take on her own, and wait her out for a day.Here is a link about tube feeding:

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Murray Mcmurry hatchery is where I ordered the chick's from. I read about vitamin b2 causing paralysis so I have been giving her poly-vi-sol mixed in the mash I prepare for the last 3 days. It has riboflavin listed but I'm not sure if it's enough? I'm putting 4 drops per feeding totaling 8 drops per day. I have not called the hatchery but it's on my order that they were all to be vaccinated. I'm not sure they would know if 1 or 2 had been missed? So far all the other chicks are doing well. On the bird that died, she had apparently stopped eating as well as she was very thin and had no fecal matter to test according to the peliminary report I got from the lab. I've got the chick's on Purina non-medicated start and grow and occasionally give treats such as egg, salad greens, peas, meal worms ect. I'll try offering the mash to the sick bird and see if she will eat it. Fingers crossed!
post #5 of 8

Most people that use PolyVisol use 2-3 drops daily per chick, but with the powder vitamins in the water, they should get the correct dosage of all vitamins. The riboflavin dosage is here from The Merck Manual:


Chicks receiving diets only partially deficient in riboflavin may recover spontaneously, indicating that the requirement rapidly decreases with age. A 100-mcg dose should be sufficient for treatment of riboflavin-deficient chicks, followed by incorporation of an adequate level in the diet. However, when the curled-toe deformity is longstanding, irreparable damage occurs in the sciatic nerve, and the administration of riboflavin is no longer curative.

Most diets contain up to 10 mg of riboflavin/kg. Treatment can be given as two sequential daily 100-mcg doses for chicks or poults, followed by an adequate amount of riboflavin in feed.


Here are a couple of good articles about Mareks disease:

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Do you have a suggestion for which brand of vitamin supplement I should use? I'm willing to order whatever I need to. She isn't drinking on her own so I would need to syringe her vitamin water as well. I got the dosage of poly-vi-sol from an article about wry neck. I believe it was on here but on certain.
post #7 of 8

Most any poultry vitamin except Poultry Nutri-drench will work, but just read the label to make sure it contains riboflavin. Nutritional yeast or B Complex tablets can also be used. I would just use what you have until you need more. It's always good to keep some vitamins with electrolytes around when you have a sick chick or it is very hot in summer. 


post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much. I'll make sure to get something in her water!
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