6mo pullet can't move legs, lethargic, vet Dx seems wrong

goodatnaps

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Aug 20, 2019
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My 6ish month old layer Diana (she's laid maybe 3-4 eggs total, stopped the day after she lost the ability to stand/hobble) started limping about two weeks ago. We noticed one of her toes was curled out and backwards, and she was hobbling to avoid putting pressure on it. We tried to split the toe, but she kept picking at it, so we let her be and monitored. She ate and drank and hobbled into the coop at bedtime so we weren't hugely worried. Two-three days later, she started walking noticeably less and spent a lot of time on her side. We moved her to the sick bay (old dog crate) with food and water right next to her. She ate fine, but showed no improvement in her mobility. We made a vet appointment with a local avian vet who happens to also raise chickens.

He Dx'd her with a Selenium deficiency and ran a stool sample and found flagellates. He gave her an injection of Selenium and both an anti-flagellate (Flagyl) and broad-spectrum antibiotic to be safe, with a probiotic gel for mid-day, in between the other med doses. This was a week ago yesterday. After the first few days, where we saw an up-tick in her energy, she stagnated. The last three days, she's been getting more and more lethargic, sleeping most of the day and barely eating.

We've been feeding her layer crumbles mixed in water or plain yogurt, giving her a multivitamin supplement that contains all the B-vitamins and probiotics in her water, and we've given her several scrambled eggs, as she's willing/able to eat them.

She's steadily loosing weight, and has solid stools that are greenish brown, likely from her reduced food intake. Normal looking urates.

One of her legs is responsive to touch, but weak. That's the one with the curled-back toe. The other appears to be completely paralyzed, and has been that way since the original vet visit.

Any ideas or suggestions will be much appreciated. We plan to call the vet tomorrow, but unless he has a clear idea of what will save her -- of if he recognizes that she needs to be put down for her comfort -- I don't want to spend more money on expensive tests/treatments that might do nothing.
 

Eggcessive

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It sounds a bit like Mareks disease with her age and leg paralysis. Selenium can be dangerous in large doses. Chickens only require a small amount, and most feeds contain it. Egg, sunflower seed, and tuna are fpgood food sources and safer than giving a supplement. But I doubt if selenium is the problem. Instead I would give some B complex vitamins 1/4 tablet crushed into food daily, in case of riboflavin deficiency.
 

Eggcessive

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goodatnaps

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Aug 20, 2019
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It sounds a bit like Mareks disease with her age and leg paralysis. Selenium can be dangerous in large doses. Chickens only require a small amount, and most feeds contain it. Egg, sunflower seed, and tuna are fpgood food sources and safer than giving a supplement. But I doubt if selenium is the problem. Instead I would give some B complex vitamins 1/4 tablet crushed into food daily, in case of riboflavin deficiency.


The selenium supplement the vet gave her was a slow-release injection formulated for birds. So it's not a daily thing I could stop. We are making sure her b-levels are high enough with the water enhancer supplement (Rooster Booster). It's got riboflavin as well as B6 and B12.

Marek's is my biggest fear. The only reason I think it might not be that is the fact that the rest of the flock is showing no issues whatsoever, and I know that Marek's is highly contagious, so if she was exposed to it likely they all were.
 

Eggcessive

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Mareks usually doesn’t affect flock members all at once. Hopefully, it isn’t Mareks at all, but it should be a possibility. There is a list of lookalike problems in the second Mareks article. It could also be possible for an infection in an organ that could put pressure on the psiatic nerves in the legs, causing paralysis or lameness. Injuries are common as well.
 

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