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Marek's? One of the symptoms is a foul smelling diarrhea

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have a 3 month old pullet that got sick yesterday. I found her having difficulty walking but she was unsteady equally on both legs, not just one as is often described in common symptoms of marek's. Initially I thought she was having a heat stroke because temp was near 100. I ran some cool water over her legs and under her wings. She didn't improve and in fact soon was worse. She got weaker and wasn't trying to walk at all. She was doing nothing but laying down with neck twisted and I noticed a foul smell at her rear. She is still alive a day later but has done nothing but just lay in her box and drain a very foul smelling brownish green diarrhea. I don't see any blood in the drainage. She is aware of what's going on around her but she isn't moving at all. I know it's time to do something and I am planning on having a necropsy done as I have a lot more chickens with most of them 3 months or less in age so I need to know what this is. I have read symptoms of Marek's and diarrhea is mentioned but I have not seen any mention of a foul smelling diarrhea.  Anyone else had similar experience? thanks!

post #2 of 13

My 14 month old Black Copper Maran just died today with the same symptoms.  Before she passed, she was just laying there on the ground, and my son picked her up and put her in the coop.  When I got there, she was listless and could not move.  I picked her up and noticed one of her legs looked broken, and she had smelly white poop coming out of her vent.  Shortly thereafter, she died, so I decided to pluck her and have her for dinner, but after plucking her, I noticed her legs were not broken, and she had no injuries.  I began to think that she may have died from a disease of some sort, and after looking in my book "Raising Chickens" by Gail Damerow, I began to think it could possibly be Marek's Disease.  Do you know what the symptoms are?

post #3 of 13

Have you considered coccidiosis as the cause of her foul smelling stools?  Blood isn't always present in the stools as it depends on the strain (there are 9 different ones.)  Corid is the best choice of treatment, and won't hurt your chicken if it turns out not to be cocci.  Treatment should be for all chickens in her area since it is contagious, for 5-7 days.  It is available in powder or liquid form. Dosage is 1/2 tsp. powder or 2 tsp. liquid to 1 gallon water.  Click on t$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex4616his link for more info:   

post #4 of 13

I considered Coccidiosis, but my bird exhibited white foul smelling diarrhea and what appeared to be a broken leg, but I now know that it was a paralized leg.  She also had a crooked breast bone and her gizzard was very hard.  After reading about different diseases, it sounds like it could be Merek's.  Do you know of another disease that can have these symptoms?  I'm hoping that it is not Merek's, but something that ailed just the one chicken.  I will however treat my birds for Coccidiosis as a preventative measure.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

I did much reading when I first found this sick bird. Initially I thought her inability to walk and unsteady gait was a heat stroke but no other birds had any symptoms and all had plenty of shade and fresh cool water. Marek's says diarrhea and paralysis can be a symptom but the exact symptoms depends on what part of the body the Marek's is effecting. Typically for paralysis I read that one wing or one leg is effected but that is not necessarily how it will present. Mine was unsteady on both legs. She was alert but couldn't move and just laid there. This began on Saturday. She just looked really bad and as she laid in the box, she drained this foul smelling diarrhea. Initially it was very watery and greenish brown. I was so sure she was going to die in a day or so or I would have to put her down. I had planned to ship her body off to the vet diagnostic lab on Monday to find out if it was Marek's but then Monday she started getting better. By Tues she was back to normal. She had stopped the diarrhea, was eating and drinking fine, moving around without any problems.  Like nothing ever happened to her. This unexpected recovery didn't mean she didn't have Marek's because I read that a bird with Mareks can "recover" only to have a relapse and die later and unfortunately if she had marek's she would be a carrier in the mean time. Unfortunately I couldn't diagnosis marek's without necropsy. So, I had planned to go ahead and euthanize her and have the testing done. Unfortunately I had a predator get her from her "isolation" cage before I could send her off for testing so at this point I have no idea what she had and am just waiting to see if any other chickens get sick. If any others get sick I will definitely have to send one off for testing. I have really been concentrating on feeding the other birds really well... vitamins, electrolytes etc... to strengthen their immune systems best I can. I did read that the factors that contribute to a bird getting it is genetic susceptibility, stress, poor health. Some breeds are more prone to it and if you have one of those breeds, there isn't much you can do obviously but you can minimize stress and do what you can to strengthen their immune system.

post #6 of 13
I just noticed today one of my RIR's seems all puffed up and her comb is light/pale and Droopy. I also think she must be the one pooping in the nesting boxes and it smell awful. It's happened 2 days in a row (the pooping). I acquired these birds when I bought the house a year ago so I have no idea how old they are.....I'm afraid she's sick but have no idea what to do.
post #7 of 13
I have been reading these threads for days and am still confused.

My vaccinated barred rock aprox 14-15 mo old

Has some of this and some of that as far as symptoms. However Mereks seems to come up a lot. Still, she was vaccinated and the whole flick seems fine other than her. (I did game in a sad bunch of chicks last year who were mail nourished and nearly all died, some with these symptoms) that said.they were desperate then,but now (for Few months) have been intintegraded.
About a week ago my hen started limping and I removed her when I noticed the males were ganging on her.
She ate great And drank well but slight limp was very extreme and she did not get up if she didn't have to. I kept fresh water &layer feed w added multi Vits close and she took everything fine just didn't get better.
About 4 days ago she started stinking.
I bathed her and noticed she had no bladder/bowel control of watery green liquid AUT her back side.
Respiratory and yes all fine.
post #8 of 13
Continued... While bathing her I noticed her food didn't respond to touch & just floated.
Paralysis under hip somewhere complete to didgits. By that night the smell grew worse and every drop she took in went straight out her butt as green fowl water.
Yesterday she stopped eating anything, is alert
post #9 of 13
(Sorry phone won't let me get it all in on 1) continued again...
Now she's gladly dinking pedialyte,apple cidervnegar eating a Greek yogurtslurry but she can't ghetto food or water by herself. Her movements are too jerky.
Paralysis has not spread however I'm questioning her vision some.
Yesterday and day prior her fluid out her rear was so go awful I could only take care of her in short 60 second spurts
post #10 of 13
Continued again... It spelled worse than anything dead I've ever smelled.
Today, the smell has changed to that like a newborn baby's yellow pasty bowel movements but not dead smelling unless she eats or drinks and then its rank for brief time.
She still seems to have little control of bladder or movements if she tries to move she wobbles flopps and jerks... she's still drinking the vinegar dosed pedialyte and eating the slurry.

So coci : stifling watery diarriah. But no mention of paralysis.
Or Mereks: paralysis but nothing else seems quite right especially her prev vaccinations.
The flock has only recently been allowed access out of their run for short periods daily.
The closest "Poultry" vet is more than 200 miles away. If she does have any of the contagens that will stay in her as carrier I can not allow her back into flock but I can't assume she does either. Biggest issue I'm having is everything I read speaks as if Mereks is mostly for the very young... collecting a specimen to send somewhere is a though if I knew where or how to collect clean specimen when it just flows out her backside freely.

Would welcome someone who can put all this together and point me to something that makes sense for her mix of symptoms.
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