Originally Posted by Ridgerunner
I suggest you talk to your county extension agent or a knowledgeable veterinarian about all diseases prevalent in your area, what they suggest you treat for and how to treat. I did and learned a lot. If you do talk to them, ask about fowlpox as well as Marek's. I think the vet I spoke to was especially down on Fowlpox as he used to show birds and his grand champion brought Fowlpox back to his flock and wiped out his entire line.
Marek's is definitely everywhere worldwide. The most common strain around here primarily attacks the legs and sometimes wings. In central California the most commom strain (not the only strain) primarily attacks the neck.
According to the vet, a chick that has been vaccinated can still catch Marek's. What the vaccine does (it is actually from turkeys) is prevent the lesions that cause the damage. Since the vaccine is from turkeys, the vaccine will not make the vaccinated chick a carrier. If the chicken later catches Marek's it will still shed the virus, but a vaccinated chick sheds less virus. It is still a carrier, but just an interesting effect.
From what I have seen on this site, Hoersejody is a Marek's guru. I suggest you pay a lot of attention to what she says. And I see that some of what the vet said (about a vaccinated chick still catching Marek's) seems to conflict with what she is saying.
Jody, if you still have your contact, could you please check that out. I don't want to pass wrong info.
Edited by horsejody - 3/9/09 at 8:29am
If you do not properly quarantine a vaccinated chick for at least 10 days, it can get Marek's. It may not show symptoms, but will shed the virus. Quarantine means starting the chicks in a sanitized brooder with sanitized equipment, not putting the brooder in the coop, not wearing the same clothes in the coop that you wear taking care of the chicks, not letting the kids pet the chickens and come in and handle the chicks, not storing the chick food in the coop, washing your hands before handling the chicks, etc, etc, etc. It's a pain in the butt, but it can save your flock. It is my personal opinion that lack of quarantine is the reason for vaccine failure. A vaccinated chick can harbor marek's if it was not properly quarantined.
ETA: The vaccine does not just prevent symptoms. It prevents the disease if the chick was properly vaccinated and quarantined. If the chick was vaccinated but not properly quarantined you may end up with a bird that has the disease but has enough immunity to not show symptoms. The quarantine is just as important as the vaccine.