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Marek's disease - Page 2

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brethren49619 View Post
 

Brief video uploaded.  Working on more video uploads.  Darn slow internet :barnie

 

Can anyone tell if this is Marek's, or what it might be?

 

 

You probably won't like this answer because it doesn't help much. This looks like Marek's. But it also looks like other things, too. There is no way of knowing for sure without either a blood test (can be done with a live bird) or necropsy (can only be done on a dead bird, and is not 100% confirmation, just "best guess"). Since there is no cure for Marek's, but there are cures for other things that look like Marek's, you may try treating for other disease.

Paralysis and poor limb control as demonstrated here can be caused my lesions of the sciatic nerve, symptoms of Marek's.

But it can also be vitamin deficiency:

http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/poultry/nutrition_and_management_poultry/vitamin_deficiencies_in_poultry.html 

http://www.poultrynews.com/New/Diseases/Merks/207020.htm
It may be worth exploring vitamin supplementation. Be aware of the differences in fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins; fat soluble vitamins should always be dosed very carefully, or they can do more damage than harm (especially to liver and kidneys).

Botulism can also cause paralysis in chickens. Botulism is ingested, usually via food that has gone bad, but if your chickens free range it's possible that they got into something they shouldn't have.

Other possibilities include: Physical injury and dehydration.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toritori View Post
 

That definitely looks like my Paula Dean.  I have read thte links from UNH and Cornell.  The only thing that seems odd is that we only saw symptoms for 12 hours and she was dead that evening.  How long have y'all seen symptoms?  The other question I have is that all our girls are atleast 18 months old.  Can I still vaccinate them now?

 

Sometimes they seem to go that quickly-- If she had the lymphoid tumors, they can grow in major organs, and with alarming speed. The tumors may have been growing and then "all at once" she seemed symptomatic and passed away shortly thereafter. Viceral Marek's often grows lymphoid tumors on the heart, liver, and other key organs than can fail all at once.

 

Re: Vaccination:

You will probably get different opinions on this, so I will try to stick to facts and then give my opinion.

At this time, there seems to be no harm in vaccinating at any time. Meaning, that it cannot HURT the chickens.

At this time, it seems to be questionable if it will actually do anythig to help them.

The vaccines are designed to be administered either in the egg (some commercial hatcheries do this) or more commonly, immediately after hatching. Chicks ideally are vaccinated within 24 hours of hatch, 36 being the cut-off point recommended by the pharmaceutical companies that make the vaccines.

The vaccine is not a cure, and it does not guarantee immunity. It simply gives the chicks a chance to build up a resistance so that if they are exposed to Marek's at a later time, their immune systems can fight it off. Such exposed but vaccinated chickens can be considered "carriers" of the virus, and may shed small amounts of live virus their entire lives, even if they build a resistance and do not show symptoms.

Therefore, it is generally thought that vaccination AFTER a chicken is exposed to the virus is probably completely ineffective.

It is thought that vaccination of older chicks that have NOT been exposed to the virus may help them or it may not. There is no solid evidence but again it cannot hurt.

There is a study that suggests that re-vaccination of chicks (that had been previously vaccinated) MAY help their resistance. How this plays in to all this is uncertain, but it shows that vaccination after the initial 36-hour-period may actually help (Though!! It is always most important to vaccinate during those first 36 hours if it's possible): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2643530/

My personal thoughts:

Based on my research, I think that vaccination of older birds that have not been exposed to Marek's has a small chance of helping, but it should not be depended on the same way as vaccinating "properly" (within 36 hours of hatch) should be. It should be considered a last-ditch effort if you are concerned about Marek's exposure. I don't think vaccination will help an already exposed bird. All of this being what it is, it's important to note that the vaccine will not hurt the birds, even if it does not help them, so if you think it is worth it then by all means give it a try.

This is, at the time of writing, one of the best prices online and their shipping for the virus is less than other websites: http://www.twincitypoultrysupplies.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=46&products_id=574

The only harm in giving the vaccine is that it may give false hope if not administered properly, and it may "mask" the symptoms if you later get Marek's in your flock. So in the end it is a very personal decision.

post #12 of 30

What is the correct dosing of birds of different ages/weights for both the vitamin E/selenium as well as the vaccine?  My flock consists of all ages right now. Is there a specific water soluble, over the counter vitamin that can just go in the water (like something I would buy for myself at the store) that I would use for those not appearing with symptoms?  What should the dosing for the affected bird be based on?  

 

Where I live there IS a selenium deficiency in the ground, and part of my feed is made here at a local farm from soybeans.  So this could be a  logical explanation.  I can treat for this, but won't put too much hope on it.  Really more concerned that it is Mareks and what I will do from here on...what I will/can do with my flock from now on.

Second year flock mom - 4 EE, 3 BO, 3 BA, 5 Silkies and lots of babies, 1 WC Blue Polish, 3 Peafowl, 15 Araucana and lots of babies, 2 Lavender Orpingtons, 1 Light Sussex, 5 FBCM, and a few crosses.  Barn mom to 2 QH, 1 mini horse, 1 mini jack, 1 new baby mini mule, 2 rabbits, 2 cats, and 2 dogs.  I have not reached 'enough' yet!
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Second year flock mom - 4 EE, 3 BO, 3 BA, 5 Silkies and lots of babies, 1 WC Blue Polish, 3 Peafowl, 15 Araucana and lots of babies, 2 Lavender Orpingtons, 1 Light Sussex, 5 FBCM, and a few crosses.  Barn mom to 2 QH, 1 mini horse, 1 mini jack, 1 new baby mini mule, 2 rabbits, 2 cats, and 2 dogs.  I have not reached 'enough' yet!
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post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brethren49619 View Post
 

What is the correct dosing of birds of different ages/weights for both the vitamin E/selenium as well as the vaccine?  My flock consists of all ages right now. Is there a specific water soluble, over the counter vitamin that can just go in the water (like something I would buy for myself at the store) that I would use for those not appearing with symptoms?  What should the dosing for the affected bird be based on?  

 

Where I live there IS a selenium deficiency in the ground, and part of my feed is made here at a local farm from soybeans.  So this could be a  logical explanation.  I can treat for this, but won't put too much hope on it.  Really more concerned that it is Mareks and what I will do from here on...what I will/can do with my flock from now on.

 

 

When I had this problem I called my vet and asked, after weighing the bird that needed the help. You will probably get different answers from different people-- unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of specific research on this and so we are all sort of doing home remedies.

It is important NOT to offer fat soluble vitamins via water, if for no other reason than you cannot control how much each bird gets. You'll need to directly administer this to the birds needing help.

 

My hen weighed 5lbs at the time of the problem, and I was advised:

Daily: 300 IU of Vitamin E (easiest with gelcaps, just squeeze them out into the birds mouth or food)

Every other day :25 micrograms of Selenium. My vet noted that this would be hard to get exact, and agreed with our method of quartering a small human selenium tablet.

We also roughly chopped a Super B-12 complex tablet and offered it daily.

 

(This DID help my hen, though to this day I do not know if she had a deficiency, injury, or if it was part of Marek's side effect, as my flock has been exposed to Marek's)

 

***I am not a vet, this is not veterinary advice, please consult with your local vet if possible before dosing!***

 

You don't want to overdo the E or Selenium, as both can be toxic long term if they build up too much in the body. We did the supplement regimen for three weeks... (unfortunately) you should know by then if it is going to improve your bird(s) or not.

I have been advised that it's important not to suppliment with vitamin A during this time as it inhibits the uptake of vitamin E.

 

For the Marek's vaccination, it is the same no matter if it's a day old chick or a fat old hen. The dosage will come with the vaccine. If not, just look up the producer of the vaccine and they will supply dosage amounts. Here is one such: http://www.drugs.com/vet/marek-s-disease-vaccine-sb-sub-1-sub-can.html

post #14 of 30

It's been some time since I posted, but I wanted to give an update.  

I treated the bird with the Vitamin E, Selenium and B12 Complex for about a week.  The bird in the video has survived and is doing well.  :celebrate

I also added Selenium to the water of all the other birds for about a month and changed their feed to a national brand.  

 

There have been no other instances of whatever was going on.

Second year flock mom - 4 EE, 3 BO, 3 BA, 5 Silkies and lots of babies, 1 WC Blue Polish, 3 Peafowl, 15 Araucana and lots of babies, 2 Lavender Orpingtons, 1 Light Sussex, 5 FBCM, and a few crosses.  Barn mom to 2 QH, 1 mini horse, 1 mini jack, 1 new baby mini mule, 2 rabbits, 2 cats, and 2 dogs.  I have not reached 'enough' yet!
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Second year flock mom - 4 EE, 3 BO, 3 BA, 5 Silkies and lots of babies, 1 WC Blue Polish, 3 Peafowl, 15 Araucana and lots of babies, 2 Lavender Orpingtons, 1 Light Sussex, 5 FBCM, and a few crosses.  Barn mom to 2 QH, 1 mini horse, 1 mini jack, 1 new baby mini mule, 2 rabbits, 2 cats, and 2 dogs.  I have not reached 'enough' yet!
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post #15 of 30

great news!  Maybe i wasn't mareks, hopefully not.

post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nambroth View Post
 

 

Symptoms vary widely, and some can look like other diseases, while other diseases can look like Marek's. I know that's frustrating!

Marek's is a herpesvirus, but is not communicable to humans. It is highly contagious within chickens, though vaccination and genetic resistance can improve the chances that a chicken will not succumb.

 

Marek's can show up in different ways, depending on the chicken's resistance and the strain.

 

Classical Marek's often shows up via paralysis of one or both legs, and sometimes the wings. The typical pose is one leg forward and one back, however this is not always the case and it may simply show up as the chicken's inability to stand or walk. In the visceral form, the bird usually develops lymphomas or tumors on major organs, which often leads to death within a week. Sometimes birds with lymphomas may have trouble breathing, may go off their feed and water, may seem to try to eat but cannot "connect" with the food, and/or may have stools that are bright green and loose. Note that these symptoms alone do not mean that the bird has Marek's-- these are just symptoms that might be part of a diagnosis overall. Unfortunately once the lymphomas have formed, the outcome is usually death. There is no cure.

 

Classical Marek's (the above) usually shows in chickens that are under 1 year of age, but depending on when the bird is exposed to the virus, may also show later in life (though it is less common).

 

Ocular Marek's often shows up in older birds that are fighting infection, but it CAN show up in young birds as well. The iris may become discolored (often pale.. grey or blue) and/or the pupil may seem to "bleed" or change shape.

 

Cutaneous Marek's is the one I have seen the least often here on BYC but it is possible. It causes lesions and growths at and around the feather follicles, in the skin.

 

Birds that have been exposed to Marek's that have not developed a full immunity are often left with a suppressed immune system, meaning that while they may or may not demonstrate any of the above symptoms, their bodies are less able to fight off common disease vectors in their environment. It is why people who have Marek's positive flocks often have problems with Coccidosis and other diseases that a chicken's body normally would have less trouble fighting off.

 

 

I know that not everyone can afford it, but if you are able to and you suspect Marek's, you can consider having a blood test done. This can be done without culling the bird, as the blood can be safely drawn from a live bird. Texas A&M offers this diagnostic testing for Marek's: http://tvmdl.tamu.edu/tests_services/test_info.php?test=Marek%27s-Disease-%28PCR%29&unit_id=1187&unit_effdt=02-JUN-10

For some, it is not worth it, but for others it is worthwhile to determine if Marek's is in a flock or not, because it may make all the difference for people that wish to sell birds (which cannot be responsibly done if the flock carries Marek's).

Thank you for the Texas A&M for Mareks.  I asked my avian vet about a blood test for Mareks and she said there is no test for this.  What up?  Any comment?

post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjpines View Post
 

Thank you for the Texas A&M for Mareks.  I asked my avian vet about a blood test for Mareks and she said there is no test for this.  What up?  Any comment?

Also, would someone have to have a vet take blood and ship to Texas A&M?

post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjpines View Post
 

Thank you for the Texas A&M for Mareks.  I asked my avian vet about a blood test for Mareks and she said there is no test for this.  What up?  Any comment?

 

Frankly, this is not true. I know both Texas A&M and the University of GA's Poultry Extension offer blood PRC testing for Marek's. I've personally had two blood tests run this way through Georgia, and know people that have had Texas A&M run them. Perhaps your vet has older information, as the PCR blood tests are somewhat newer.

 

U of GA: http://www.poultry.uga.edu/

post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjpines View Post
 

Also, would someone have to have a vet take blood and ship to Texas A&M?

Unless you have the equipment and knowledge to do a blood draw and ship it in the appropriate vessels, then yes, probably so. Contact Texas A&M directly to see what their requirements are.

post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nambroth View Post
 

 

Frankly, this is not true. I know both Texas A&M and the University of GA's Poultry Extension offer blood PRC testing for Marek's. I've personally had two blood tests run this way through Georgia, and know people that have had Texas A&M run them. Perhaps your vet has older information, as the PCR blood tests are somewhat newer.

 

U of GA: http://www.poultry.uga.edu/

Thank you, I will ask my avian vet about this in case I have to do this.

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