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Chicken limping now balancing with wing?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Goldielocks503, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. Goldielocks503

    Goldielocks503 New Egg

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    Apr 27, 2015
    Portland, OR.
    Hi There,

    I am so confused as to what is wrong with my Wyandotte. She started limping about 3 weeks ago and I thought she may have sprained it and it would get better but it hasn't and is seeming to get worse. I checked her foot and her pad is completely normal and she has no other symptoms. Her leg seems very stiff and now her wing is extended on that side as to balance or it may be hurting her as well now. Please help I have no idea what is wrong.
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 24, 2013
    How old is she? Many things can cause limping, but my first guess is that she has Marek's Disease. This is based off the first symptom being limping and that then transitioning to a stiffer leg and balancing using a wing. These are common symptoms for Marek's Disease.

    Marek's is a viral disease in chickens that primarily affects relatively young birds (usually 6-10 months old) but can affect older birds or younger ones. It causes, in many cases, steady paralysis beginning with the legs and often affecting wings. It can also cause deformed pupils in the eyes, internal tumors, and feather tumors. Many birds that come from a hatchery or feed store are vaccinated for Marek's Disease as young chicks. The vaccine isn't 100% effective (more like 90-95%) but it is a good preventative measure. However, not all chickens are vaccinated and even the vaccinated ones can succumb to the disease. Marek's Disease is extremely prevalent. It survives for a while in the soil, is hard to kill, and is spread through feather dander. Many people believe that if you have chickens, you most likely have Marek's on your property already. Some breeds and individuals are resistant to Marek's and people may never know they have it (especially if they have vaccinated birds, which usually show no symptoms). For example, Cochins and Japanese Bantams are resistant while Silkies and Dutch Bantams tend to be very susceptible.

    If it is Marek's Disease, there isn't much you can do. Some people have had success with herbal treatments like St. Johns Wort so you could look into that (here's a good link: St. John's Wort). Some birds "recover" from Marek's only to have the symptoms reappear.

    While I believe Marek's to be the most likely problem in this case, it could be a vitamin deficiency. This can cause neurological problems such as odd wing carriage or limping. You could get a poultry vitamin (like Nutri-drench) from your local feed store or poly-vi-sol infant vitamins (without iron) from a supermarket and try giving her some of those. If it is Marek's Disease, the extra nutrients may help.

    It could also be an injury, but if her leg is becoming stiffer, I don't believe that is the case.Injuries can take a long time to heal. Keep her well rested (no jumping from high roosts or onto hard ground) and provide good nutrition.

    Diseases and disorders with these symptoms can be hard to diagnose. There's no way to know for sure whether its a sprain, first sign of Marek's, or a vitamin deficiency so I'd just treat with vitamins and rest. If it is Marek's, it will likely get worse. If it is a sprain or strain, it should get better but it may take a while.

    For more information on Marek's Disease, I suggest looking at this very informative article: The Great Big Giant Marek's Disease FAQ

    Best regards to you and your bird and I hope she gets better!
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015
  3. Goldielocks503

    Goldielocks503 New Egg

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    Apr 27, 2015
    Portland, OR.
    Thank you that is all very helpful and she is about 8 months so the timing is right for Mareks. I will look into it.
     

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