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Avian Leukosis Sarcoma

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TubbyChicken, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. TubbyChicken

    TubbyChicken Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    A friend of mine just had a deceased bird diagnosed with Avian Leukosis-Sarcoma in a post mortum exam. She's lost several birds over the last few months although this is the first (preliminary) diagnosis she's obtained.

    We both got our birds from the same sources...However, none of my birds have been sick.

    Can someone explain more about this disease? Whether it's a concern to birds in seperate coops...if birds who survive are carriers, if chicks living separately are at risk...

    I'm obviously concerned for the rest of my friend's flock as well as my own. I can't fathom why my birds haven't had any symptoms yet when she's lost so many... [​IMG]
  2. aka Lymphoid Leukosis, Big Liver Disease and LL

    Incidence - Common worldwide

    System/Organ Affected - Entire body

    Incubation - 14 weeks

    Progression - usually chronic

    Symptoms - in birds 16 weeks and older (especially those nearing maturity) depression and death. In birds over 6 months old; death without symptoms or pale shriveled comb, loss of appetitie, diarrhea, emaciation, weakness, sometimes bluish comb, vent feathers spotted with white (urates) or green (bile), sometimes you can feel enlarged kidney

    Percentage Affected - sporadic

    Mortality - up to 25%

    Postmortem Findings - >16 weeks large, numerous, soft tumors in liver, spleen and cloacal bursa

    Resembles - Marek's Disease, blackhead, pullorum, tuberculosis

    Diagnosis - flock history (birds' age), symptoms (progression and mortality), postmortem findings

    Cause - a group of retroviruses that primarily infect chickens and do not live long off a chicken's body

    Transmission - contact with infected birds, spread from infected breeders through hatching eggs (main source), by infected chicks to non-infected chicks through droppings, mechanically by blood sucking parasites or unhygienic vaccination method

    Prevention - defies good management but can be controlled by: buying and breeding resistant strains (heavier meat birds are more resistant than lighter laying breeds), identifying and eliminating breeders that produce infected chicks (reuires testing for reactors); not reusing chick boxes; raising chicks on wire; not combining chicks of different age and different sources; thoroughly cleaning facilities before introducing new birds

    Treatment - None, cull; clean up and disinfect

    Human Health Risk - None known

    per "The Chick Health Book" by Gail Damerow

    What does it all mean? #1 Sounds like you need a new source for your birds. #2 Time for a terminal coop cleaning.

    Hope this helps.

  3. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    One word for this...wow. I'm very sorry to hear of anyone being met with this disease. ~Kel
  4. TubbyChicken

    TubbyChicken Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    Quote:Terminal coop cleaning? You mean...culling my flock? After my friend's first loss we immediately decided to never use the same sources again...furthermore, we won't be purchasing any adult birds in the future. [​IMG] However, she does have some birds that I'm picking up...I already have in place their coop (isolated from my birds coop by several feet and has no access to the run. I also clean and disinfect my coops once every other week.

    I'm confused...I've googled the disease but I'm not finding much info...If the mortality rate is 25% what is the prognosis for the survivors? I've read that some birds can develop immunity, or disease resistance...Would a Mareks vax ward off this strain as well? I'm still struggling to understand why my birds seem unaffected with none of the symptoms. Our birds came from 2 separate sources and were cooped together before we separated them.
  5. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
  6. TubbyChicken

    TubbyChicken Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    Quote:Thank you! That link was very helpful. I've read and reread it and I found it mildly reassuring. I'm very attached to my flock and this being my first flock I'm afraid I've learned some hard lessons. I suppose I will keep up the sanitation routine I currently use and I'll be hyper diligent about cross contaminating my flock after handling, feeding, watering or tending to the new birds.

    I've read now (from multiple sources) that this disease is not only common, but prevalent in limited numbers on some commercial flocks.

    My birds are pets/layers and not breeders so congenital transmission (if they are exposed to the virus) is not a concern for me...however, I don't want any of my birds to suffer.

    I can seperate for more than the 14 week incubation period as well to ensure my birds will not be exposed to anything potentially dangerous. My greatest concern is that my birds are already exposed and not exhibiting symptoms for whatever reason...I guess it's a wait and watch.

  7. The term "Terminal Cleaning" is used to differentiate between a light, surface cleaning vs. throw open the windows, strip everything out, kind of mega-Spring cleaning.

    By no means should you cull asymptomatic birds.

  8. TubbyChicken

    TubbyChicken Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    Quote:Thank you for clarifying!

    I currently do a complete clean out at least every other week...I pull out all the old shavings, air out the coop, hose down the feeder and replenish feed, use a very diluted bleach solution on the floors, walls and roost, allow the area to air out and completely dry, then replace the shavings with fresh Aspen bedding, mix in a bit of stall dry and poultry dust and invite the girls back in...

    I have two separate coops (one with access to our run) and the other with no access. I intend to use the second coop as an isolation area until the birds are able to be safely integrated...

    Is there anything I should be doing differently with my cleaning routine? Should I be cleaning the coops more often?

    I am definately reassured by knowing the disease is readily killed with proper sanitation, but now I'm wondering if I'm doing all that I can....
  9. Betsy57

    Betsy57 Songster Premium Member 7 Years

    Mar 31, 2011
    Murphysboro IL USA
    So if the birds have this disease or anything else that causes green poop, I would imagine it would not be wise to eat their eggs?
    Mine seem to be showing some improvement (poop-wise, not green now). So could this be a good sign and they possibly don't have this disease or is this a 'fake out' for me? [​IMG] They are still very thin.
  10. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    Birds who are not eating also have green poop. When I see it I immediately start finding ways to get some nutrition into the birds.

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