6 months old cockerel, suddenly weak legs...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Dudu, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am worried it might be Marek's and I'll finally get to meet this disease in person too. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] He was very ok until yesterday evening when we came to the farm and found him sleeping in a corner on the ground, not on the perch. I picked him up and let him walk and he was walking like in slow motion, dragging both feet. We brought him home and he's now downstairs near the rabbits in a crate. This morning (it's 6 am here) I turned on light and checked on him, either I've been watching too many youtube videos or he's doing the "classic" one foot forward, one back thing. [​IMG] I am scared and very sad. Is there anything I could or should do? I am working today but can take him to the vet's tomorrow (Saturday), which might be way too late. I know Marek's has no cure if it's that, but what else could it be?

    I don't know yet how he's acting otherwise, he started to eat but I left him to come and post this before my North American friends go to bed, in hopes to get some answers.

    I did do a search on weak legs and read about Marek's, but I'd like your personal experiences. I am so hoping it's just an unfortunate landing or something, but I really don't like the way it looks.
     
  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I don't know if he has Marek's, you would probably have to encounter more than one death or symptomatic chicken, and a flock history that may include any contact your chickens have had outside your flock. He could have poisoning from eating something. You won't know for sure unless he gets a professional necropsy after he's dead. You may not be able to save him, but I wouldn't worry about Marek's until someone else has the same signs.

    sorry!
     
  3. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks a lot for your thoughts.

    I took him to the vet's this morning, and first of all was really pleased with the doctor's attitude. He examined him VERY carefully and divided possible causes into two groups for me. 1) nutritional - vitamin B deficiency - either he's not getting enough or he's not absorbing it well; 2) viral - Salmonella, Marek's, Newcastle.

    He replied that he does see Marek's here in our country but told me not to worry about it for now, we'll go with the possibility of vitamin deficiency and see what happens. He prescribed Vitalic, a vitamin supplement for chickens.

    My boy was still eating and drinking last night, it's 6:30 am so I haven't checked on him yet not to disturb him. He CAN stand but falls over when he gets too tired.

    The interesting thing is that his brother from the same litter was kind of "bandy legs" and walks squatting down on his hocks a little - as a baby everyone was just fine, but when we let them out of the crate (where they had been sitting out through chicken pox) into the yard, I noticed his strange walk. However it's been at least a month now or a month and a half and even though his legs are still to some degree like that, he seems otherwise perfectly fine.

    We're going to add these vitamins to the whole yard now for 5 days.
     
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    The only things that may cause paralysis are Marek's , thiamine (vit B) deficiency, Botulism (fast death) and Easter equine encephalitis (mosquito and horse deaths in the area). From those illnesses, you can probably eliminate some and narrow it down.

    Your vet is right about what it might be. I don't know how prevelant Marek's is in Malta. I know it's world wide, but you're on an island. Maybe contact a university vet or animal disease lab that is educated in poultry disease. Hopefully it's not Marek's, and something that is curable.
     
  5. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Karen, I have read about your experiences on the other thread too, I'm learning a lot on here.
     
  6. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I have always wanted to visit Malta!

    Interesting. His brother has a kind of leg problem too. Could be a genetic thing. I would give him some vitamins too.

    If there is Marek's on your island already, it will, eventually, effect everyone. The problem is that most backyard chicken owners do not do anything to protect their chickens-yet. If I were you, I would start vaccinating every chick you hatch, and keeping them separate for a month or more. The vaccine does not prevent Marek's, nothing does. But it will prevent chickens from dying from paralysis or tumors. All can still carry it and spread it.

    I can't say what your chook has, the vitamins are a good idea. Keep me/us up to date on what happens. Information needs to be shared. Sorry about what's happening.

    Karen
     
  7. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!

    And if you ever decide to visit Malta, you're very welcome!!

    Yes, we'll be giving the vitamins to the whole flock for sure.

    And we'll be looking into vaccinating them also.

    My boy is still the same, he can stand a little but doesn't have much control of his legs, so he falls over and then just settles to lie down. He does drink and eat, but when I come home from work I "remind' him to eat and drink and he does so as if he'd been starving all day (even though it's all right next to him). I don't know what to think, right now I am not thinking much about it at all (to protect my sanity), just doing what I can for him, like the doc told me to.
     
  8. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just wanted to update.

    We're still the same, except now he can stand up just a little bit, his legs spread and pressed against the sides of the crate for balance, then he makes a few steps and falls again.

    When I pick him up, he even struggles, and I can feel that both of his legs are strong and pushing against my hands. It just seems like he's lost control of them or something.

    He's on the vitamins ("Vitalic"), I put them in his water and also over his food - I give him now once a day the "Ricket's diet", not that he needs it cos he's (thankfully) not losing his good condition, but he loves it so much.

    My question to the vet (we're going tomorrow) will be - if indeed this is vitamin B deficiency and the medicated feed is said to block thiamine, I guess I better stop feeding him the grower's pellets altogether? Trouble is that in our country both feed factories make ONLY medicated feed.

    Wish us luck, he's so healthy otherwise, he is very alert, grooms himself etc, and he does not seem to suffer except that he can't walk. I gave him a massage once as I read on the forum, for his back and legs, and I'm ready to do it every day if need be.

    Today in fact he seems a bit worse, he has slightly more trouble to get around, but we'll just see what the vets says tomorrow.
     
  9. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    You mentioned his brother had "bandy legs" as a chick. This could indicate a possible genetic issue or a problem in, or at the time they were hatched. I've had a few chicks walk on hocks and vitamin B took care of it. Is it possible your rooster jumped down from a high roost or other place and injured a tendon or ligament? This would cause him to limp though, rest and relaxation and vitamin B would help in the healing process. I believe your vet is correct about the vitamin B treatment, but there is only so much it can do after awhile. Good luck.
     
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Dudu, I'm still hoping it's something else.
     

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