What is Marek’s Marek's disease is a highly contagious viral Neoplastic disease in chickens. The disease is characterized by the presence of T - cell lymphoma as well as infiltration of nerves and organs by lymphocytes. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in immune system called lymphocytes, lymphoma occurs when there is uncontrolled multiplication and growth in lymphocytes There are 4 different forms of Marek’s: · Cutaneous (skin form) · Neural (nerve form) · Ocular (eye form) · Visceral (internal-organ form) Generally there are 6 different strains of herpes viruses. Nerves, Eyes, Organs-tumors, Skin, transient (brain related), and a Sudden death strain. Neural or Neurolymphomatosis Progressive paralysis,usually of the leg or wing, Asymmetric paralysis of one or more limbs. With vagus nerve involvement, difficulty breathing or dilation of the crop may occur. Besides lesions in the peripheral nerves, there are tumors in the skin, skeletal muscle, visceral organs. Wasting away, anorexia, diarrhea, starvation and death, due to an inability to reach feed and water and paralysis of digestive track. Organs that are commonly affected include the ovary, spleen, liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, proventriculus and adrenals. Acute Marek's disease is an epidemic in a previously uninfected or unvaccinated flock, causing depression, paralysis, and death in a large number of birds (up to 80 percent). The age of onset is much earlier than the classic form; birds are four to eight weeks old when affected. Infiltration into multiple organs/tissue is observed. Ocular lymphomatosis causes Lymphocyte infiltration of the iris (making the iris turn grey), Unequal size of the pupils, Blindness. Cutaneous Form Enlarged reddened feather follicles, white bumps on the skin that form brown crusty scabs. Atherosclerosis is induced in experimentally infected chickens. Immunosuppression Impairment of the T-lymphocytes prevent competent immunological response against pathogenic challenge and the affected birds become more susceptible to disease conditions such as Coccidiosis and "E- coli" infection . Furthermore, without stimulation by cell-mediated immunity, the humoral immunity conferred by the B-cell lines from the Bursa of Fabricius also shuts down, thus resulting in birds that are totally immune compromised. Transmission It only takes one “exposed” chicken to enter your flock, vaccinated or not and it’s done. Marek’s is highly contagious and spreads by bird-to-bird contact, by contact with infected dust and dander, by beetles and mealworms that live in the coop. Particles carried by personnel and equipment Other organisms such as mites, mosquitoes and coccidia do not transmit the disease. The virus doesn’t survive the incubation process well and is not spread by hatching eggs. General Symptoms There is no hard and fast rule to identify Marek’s. It does not have any guaranteed list of symptoms. Just common ones are known. Some of these symptoms are also symptoms of other diseases or deficiencies. Victim may show one, all, or some of the following symptoms. · First appearance age 8-16 weeks. · In coordination for the first few days. Trembling of legs · Paralysis, one leg forward, one leg back stance. Or both legs back stance (a swelling of the sciatic nerve is the cause) · Tumors (on necropsy), · Wing walking, · Cloudy eye, · Disfigured pupil · Diarrhea. In some cases greenish stools are sometimes observed due to excessive bile juice · Wasting away with or without eating · Any paralysis, including paralysis of the digestive system-the food stops moving and the chicken stops eating but acts like they want to eat. · Full / mushy crop · Open mouth breathing or panting. · Paralysis of lungs due to vagas nerve involvement · There could also be tumors or lumps at the feather follicles. · Dying without any symptoms (very frustrating and heart breaking. Apparently healthy and active bird dies literally in seconds. Personal experience), · Symptoms that come and go (extremely confusing). It all depends on what organs and nerves are being effected, and it could be any nerves or organs. · Some birds develop temporary paralysis that disappears after 1-2 days. They Appear to return to normal, but frequently die from internal tumors a short time later · shakes and tremor Marek’s is often confused with • Leg injury: due to in coordination, limping or lameness. • Newcastle disease • Lymphoid Leucosis: Because of the tumors (but no paralysis). LL generally causes birds to weaken, lose weight and eventually die. • Wasting away: due to digestive track paralysis • Crop impaction: due to digestive track paralysis • Vitamin deficiencies: due to paralysis and un-able to walk, Lameness, listlessness. • Coccidiosis / E-coli secondary infection due to immune-suppression • Sour crop: due to dilation of crop • Heat stroke: due to wobbly gait and in coordination / paralysis • Botulism: due to paralysis and bird seems very sick • Green stool labored breathing: due to not eating and excess of bile juice in droppings • Cholera: due to green stools An overview of other leg disorders Dr.Sabiha (Ph.D animal nutrition) Avitech animal health Pvt Ltd. VITAMIN AND MINERAL DISORDERS (Waldenstedt, 2006) MINERAL/VITAMIN DEFICIENCY SYMPTOM Calcium & Phosphorus ratio Rickets, osteomalacia, osteoporosis Manganese Perosis /slipped tendon Copper Thin bones and leg weakness Zinc Shortened and thickened bones and cartilage, thickening of the scales of limbs (Scaly limb) Chlorine Paralysis (Chicks fall forward with their legs outstretched behind them) Nickel Enlarged hock joints Vitamin A Excess causes leg disorders, Deficiency cause ataxia, constricted optic nerve Vitamin D Rickets/cage layer paralysis Vitamin E Enlarged and unusually distorted hock Vitamin C Required for proper bone formation and bone strength Vitamin B1 Hock sitting posture, weight loss, star gazing Vitamin B2 Inward Curling of toes and sitting on the hocks (Curled toe paralysis) Niacin Enlargement of hock joints and outward bending of the legs Vitamin B6 Convulsion of legs and wings Biotin Dermatitis and Perosis Choline and Vitamin B12 Perosis Pantothenic acid Nodular hyperplasia or cracks in the skin of foot pad and joints of claw Treatment Alopathic : None. Cull affected birds. Some testimonials do exist. Homeopathic : Yes . Discussed below Herbal : Still working on it Medicine: Prednisone Quote: “Prednisone is a immunosuppressant drug, suppresses the immune system and inflammation. Its a corticosteroid. Interestingly enough Prednisone is used to treat among other things Hodgkins lymphoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This in interesting because Mareks is a lymphomatous and neuropathic disease. Its also used as an antitumor drug for certain cancers. Used to treat some infammatory diseases like Crohn's Disease” Ten chicks: BYC member Methotrexate Quote: “Methotrexate is used for basically the same thing as Prednisone, but Methotrexate you can stop taking anytime, Prednisone you have to been weaned off” Ten chicks: BYC member The Homeopathic Cure for Marek’s Disease in Chicks "I was having a problem with my chicks. They were about two weeks old. All of a sudden, three of them developed this problem. I treated them homeopathically, successfully. Here are the symptoms... Their legs become paralyzed. They will either be sticking straight out behind them or off to the side. They absolutely can't walk. Their feet take on this distorted shape like they've been stricken with rheumatoid arthritis or something. They get the shakes and tremors, lose coordination and all energy. Their head drops wherever and they can hardly lift their head. I treated them with the homeopathic and put some in the water for all the others. By the next day they were all fine." The Symptoms are consistent with Marek's disease. Since we may not be able to get vaccinated chicks in the future, this information is important! Here are the Homeopathic used to eliminate this deadly disease: Ars alb, rhus tox, kali mur, kali phos, zinc met, ferum phos, aconite Dr. Alva Irish Recommendations by Dr.S.S.Makker Paralysis, birds unable to walk & stand Causticum, Skin thickned by tumours, feather follicles thickened Calc flour,Calc carb Iris effected & white appearance Arg nit, Euphrasia Sciatic nerve is enlarged Kali phos 6x, Kali Sulph 6x Colloidal Silver “A while back, I posted about curing two of my hens of Marek's with Colloidal Silver (CS). I've had several chickens lovers contact me and let me know that because of my post, they gave CS to their paralyzed chickens and they have all completely recovered and are walking again. I'll put the original post below, but I wanted to share about a recent experience with a rooster that healed because of CS. I'll post a couple of pics either in this posting or in another. One of my RIR's began to be unable to walk. Her legs were splayed out, one in front and one in back. I felt terrible for her, so I made sure to pick her up and take her to the feed twice a day. After that I'd take her to the water. I'd leave a little feeder right in front of her so she could eat whenever she wanted. Except for her leg condition and inability to walk, she seemed fine. She ate ravenously. I used to sit in the coop and lay her belly up in the crook of my arm while watching the other chickens. She'd close her eyes and I'd sit there and cry. She had feces stuck to her tail feathers because she couldn't move when she pooped. I took her to my bathroom, turned her belly up and with a warm washcloth, I carefully blotted and rinsed, blotted and rinsed. The stuff was stuck so strong that it took a good hour to remove most of it. She just closed her eyes and didn't struggle. Someone told me about colloidal silver and how it killed viruses. People used to use real silverware in the old days for it's sterilizing effect on food. I heard that Marek's was a virus so I gave her a dropper full. She started to get better and in a couple of days, I gave her another dropper full. Her legs started to heal and when I could see that she would be walking again, I assisted her walking. In addition to the colloidal silver, my husband and I did visualizations akin to the ones you may have read about having little pac men eating up whatever of the virus remained. Last week I noticed one of my New Hampshire Reds starting to limp. I waited a couple of days to see if she had injured it and perhaps it might go away. The limp was still there and getting worse. I captured her and gave her a dropper full of colloidal silver and within two days, she is no longer limping. I'm not saying that this is some kind of miracle cure, but with Marek's, everyone is so darned sure that it's fatal, saying there is no cure, but that is simply not true in our case. Oh, by the way, all our chicks were vaccinated at 1 day old for Marek's. I couldn't be happier, which is why I wanted to pass this on to anyone who is faced with this issue. Lady badland BYC membe Herbal Quote: “I find that Cranberry Gel Caps - formulated for human urinary tract infections wipe out all symptoms of Mareks within 24 hours or so. Just poke a single cap down the throat in the morning with an almond or dog kibble or two for a days worth of nutrition and a couple of grapes for water. For bad cases repeat in the evening. I've never had a bird refuse to get back on their feet even a bird in near complete paralysis. What are the mechanisms in place? No clue. I learned it in Japan. The Cultural Monument breeds are particularly susceptible to Mareks and Dr. Akishino learned that the two species of junglefowl most sensitive to Mareks in captivity ( Green and Ceylon) gorge on specific fruits in nature. He had the fruits analysed and determined that not only were the two fruits very similar in nutritional makeup - but also that cranberry seed oil extract had many of the same properties. As a proactive measure, the Japanese melt extra virgin coconut butter over the champion Onagadori food every day and feed them shrimp shells and shrimp heads” Resolution: Ouray County, Colorado 2009 References • Lady Badland BYC member • Wikipedia • http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf • http://www.homeopathy.com.pk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1462#sthash.m0PWbFwX.dpuf • Atlas of avian diseases • Backyard chicken • The poultry site • University of new Hampshire • Diseases of poultry, 11th edition, Editor in chief, Y.M.Saif • Resolution: Ouray County, Colorado 2009 • Dr.S.S.Makker The indications given herein correspond to practical experiences. Owing to the differences in local conditions they cannot claim to be complete, so that any liabilities - also with a view to claims of third parties - are excluded.