10 week old hen w/useless legs...ANYONE?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by thebritt, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. thebritt

    thebritt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Humboldt County
    I lost the link to the previous discussions on this topic, so I'm hoping for more info...
    Her sisters are fine - free-range on 2 acres and cooped @ night. This one hen, however, can't use her legs at all for the last 2 weeks. One foot has curled toes, the other she sticks straight out in front of her. I have her in the house in a cage in the spare bathroom, with 1/2 her space on a heating pad (low) - gets chilly here @ night now. She's in a shoebox, with rolled newspaper supporting her so she's upright and can eat.
    I've been feedig her organic lay crumbles+scratch and "assisted" feeding scrambled egg + B vitamins + live cultured yogurt. Also 3cc of an electrolyte/vitamin mixture 2X/day.
    She talks, and is very aware of her surroundings.
    Her poops are beautiful (except for the egg smell!)
    She eats her crumbles+scratch, but not a lot.
    She doesn't seem dehydrated, but I only KNOW that she gets the vitamin water 2X/day. There are bits of crumbles in her water, so I'm hoping that's from drinking.
    Any ideas?
    Would a "Vitamin shot from the vet help?
    Is it time to say "Good Bye"? [​IMG] I really hope not.
    Thanks for any input - really!
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  2. RuffledFeathers

    RuffledFeathers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 30, 2009
    Issaquah, WA
    It's Marek's, just google symptoms. The way the legs are sticking out are a classic sign. (range paralysis)
    Ok, so all your chickens are exposed, but then again, I have had one confirmed death in my flock in 2 years, so it is not a death sentence necessarily for all of them. It is so common that they say you can assume that you have it in the flock unless they have all been vaccinated.
    Some chickens will recover from the paralysis with good nursing care. Others will not. You have to decide your level of involvement and what it may take to care for her. Some forms of Marek's are worse than others. My birds tend to get tumors, but it is not for sure they all will die from it. You can get vaccinated chicks next time to start eliminating it from your flock if you wish.
    Lots of people have input in past posts on how they cared for stricken birds, so I hope it can help you decide.
     
  3. thebritt

    thebritt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Humboldt County
    This hen hatched from our own stock.
    No other chicken has ever shown similar symptoms.
    Haven't had a new chicken added to the flock for 2 years.
    No one else ( out of 40+) has symptoms (thank goodness!)
    ??????
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  4. thebritt

    thebritt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Humboldt County
    Anyone ?
     
  5. thebritt

    thebritt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Humboldt County
    [​IMG]
    Quote:Could you please define "good nursing care"? Besides keeping her inside and giving vitamins + electrolytes, scrambled egg, and yogurt, I don't know what else to do. From what I've read, there is no treatment [​IMG]
     
  6. Msbear

    Msbear Fancy Banties

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    May 8, 2008
    Sharpsburg, MD.
    The split position with one leg in front and one behind is the typical trademark for Mereks though I am no expert. Apparently, it can effect some birds and not others. Some would say cull the affected birds and work on a strain that is resilient to the disease while always keeping in mind your birds are carriers.

    Others would say cull them and start over as it is passed through the eggs and you could accidentally contaminate another flock...

    I would say get the bird tested so you know for sure. then work with more information. Good Luck.

    eta: you just describe good nursing care perfectly ... it just depends on how determined you are to help one particular bird... as it will take time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  7. thebritt

    thebritt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Humboldt County
    Quote:I just read that Merek's is passed through the epithelial layer of the feather folicle, and therefore passed through the dust and dander. It is not passed through "vertical transmission" (from mom to egg). This, of course, makes it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to eradicate from a flock. Needless to say, I and my chickens are screwed. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  8. Msbear

    Msbear Fancy Banties

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    May 8, 2008
    Sharpsburg, MD.
    I would definitely get the bird tested so you know for sure. Call your local ag. dept. and see if they have an economical alternative to a vet. And, then if it is Merek's think of your options and how this could or could not affect other flocks. Do you have neighbors with chickens?

    Im sorry you're feeling overwhelmed ...just know this is rather common and is definitely not your fault. [​IMG]
     
  9. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    Dec 16, 2008
    westchester
    Quote:I just read that Merek's is passed through the epithelial layer of the feather folicle, and therefore passed through the dust and dander. It is not passed through "vertical transmission" (from mom to egg). This, of course, makes it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to eradicate from a flock. Needless to say, I and my chickens are screwed. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    try not to stress it, if you have been hatching your own chooks and never had a problem before you probably have a resistent flock, and this particular chicken just doesnt have that resilience.

    It can pass but takes a long time, nearves heal very slowly and Mareks causes swelling at the nerves (like Shingles in humans)
    but she will always be a carrier.

    Moodychicken did a great post about it. Its all up to you, I tried to save my girls with Mareks and ended up culling because it just became a matter of quality of life.

    I think possibly my BCM roo had it as well but he was determined to make it and although it took a few months he is back on his feet (although still a little shaky) and mating and clucking with joy.

    Good Luck.
     
  10. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Aug 25, 2008
    SC
    While it is true that the leg out front is a typical symptom of Marek's Disease, it is not necessarily that.

    It could be neurological damage from eating some bits of molded food at some time. I had a young roo with the same symptoms. After 2 weeks of extra care, I took him to the vet, who also raises chickens.

    I ended up having him put down, and the necropsy report was permanant neurological damage caused by a fungus. The vet had lost a bird to the same thing recently.

    The roo was low in the pecking order and couldn't get as much feed as the others. It had been raining for weeks and he had found some moldy feed in a crevice. After the report, I found the nasty feed and scrubbed top to bottom in the entire coop and run. No one else has gotten ill since then.

    I wish you luck, but it doesn't sound good either way. [​IMG]
     

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