Can Marek's type symptoms be a sign of Coccidiosis?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bootsandbeaks, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. bootsandbeaks

    bootsandbeaks In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2017
    I'm looking for a sanity check on this. I have an eight week old Breda. The initial symptoms were a dropped right wing. She seemed too young for Marek's, so I immediately assumed vitamin deficiency and started supplementing. She got worse. This progressed to right leg paralysis. The chick was still eating and drinking, but losing weight. I added Selenium and additional Vit E to the B vitamins I was supplementing with but there was no change.

    I resolved myself to the inevitability that this chick would need to be put down and made arrangements for a necropsy afterwards. BUT, for some reason before I actually did it, I gave the chick some Corrid the night before I planned to put her down. I can't explain why, other than it was the only thing I hadn't tried, and I really hated the idea of losing this chick without leaving every stone unturned. (I know that cocci feed off Vit B, so I figured, what if that was causing a deficiency). The next morning, the chick seemed slightly better. I decided to try to treat her directly for coccidiosis instead of just mixing it in the water. (I had actually treated the whole brooder for coccidiosis two weeks before the onset of these symptoms)

    She has improved every day since then. She is still not 100%, but she has regained use of the leg and is able to stand and walk upright.

    Now, I'm just curious for future reference. Does it make sense that coccidiosis could present itself in the form of a vitamin deficiency to the degree of causing paralysis?
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Coccidiosis can cause extreme weakness and signs of dehydration. Drooping wings and lameness can occur in some cases. But paralysis on one side doesn't seem common. There have been some threads here where it was reported that a chicken died of possible Mareks, and the necropsy report came back as coccidiosis.
    Also, occasionally, but not that often, a young chicken with Mareks symptoms, can suddenly get better. Then later on in life they may develop other signs of Mareks.
    Hopefully, your pullet will not turn out to have Mareks, and this is an interesting story.
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  3. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Marek's disease compromises the immune system leaving them vulnerable to the likes of coccidiosis and respiratory infection which their system would normally manage or fight off. Whilst cocci will make them weak and lethargic, I suspect that some of the cases where paralysis has been noticed and cocci found at necropsy, may have been as a result of underlying Marek's that was not tested for. Marek's testing is not routine and usually more expensive I believe. People then latch onto and perpetuate the possible misinformation that Coccidiosis can cause paralysis. That's just a theory I have.

    I'm not saying your bird definitely has Marek's, but the fact that it has responded to Corid doesn't automatically rule it out unfortunately. I've had several Marek's birds be floundering on the ground unable to stand one day and perfectly normal a few days later with no treatment. There are no "normal" symptoms with it or rules on how it progresses. Each bird is different and one may exhibit "classic" symptoms whilst another won't show any, but just suddenly die. You can treat them with vitamins or St John's Wort or even Corid and they get better, so you assume your treatment worked, but the nature of the disease is such that it just happens and the treatment may be coincidental. That said, supporting the immune system is helpful in my opinion.

    I very much hope it is not Marek's for you and your flock's sake and that your bird continues to improve.

    Best wishes

    Wyorp Rock likes this.

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