Chicken with swollen legs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by luxam93, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. luxam93

    luxam93 New Egg

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    Dec 26, 2016
    I have an 11 week old chick who is having trouble walking and has very swollen legs. When he tries to walk it looks like he is walking on his heels and looks unsteady but he stands very straight up. 90% of the time he is laying down with his legs completely straight so his head is almost resting on his feet. I have checked the bottom of both feet and i can't see any signs of bumblefoot. Does anyone have any idea as to what it might be? Below is his foot next to a normal foot for comparison.

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  2. luxam93

    luxam93 New Egg

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    Dec 26, 2016
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  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Welcome to BYC. I have a few feather-legged chickens, and I think it is difficult to see about anything wrong with their legs. Swelling of legs can be common in mycoplasma synovitis (MS,) with other types of arthritis, such as staph, and with gout. Roosters do have thicker legs than pullets or hens. Swelling is more noticeable in joints of the feet and legs. Chickens with MS tend to sit around a lot, and may develop blisters or scabs on their sternum or keel bone (chest.) I would take him to a vet for a strong broad spectrum antibiotic that would treat both staph and mycoplasma. What type of feed does he eat? Layer feed has too much calcium in it for non-laying chickens, and that can be a cause of gout, although I have never seen it in my flock before. Injuries and vitamin deficiencies are very common also. I would treat his water with poultry vitamins that contain riboflavin (vitamin B2.) Or you can dissolve a human B Complex tablet into his food or water daily. Here are a few links that you may want to read:
    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/poultry/mycoplasmosis/mycoplasma-synoviae-infection-in-poultry
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/99/mycoplasma-synoviae-infection-ms-infectious-synovitis/
    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/poult...stem/infectious-skeletal-disorders-in-poultry
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/143/staphylococcosis-staphylococcal-arthritis-bumble-foot/
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    His legs look pretty normal. His age, and symptoms suggest Marek's.
     
  5. luxam93

    luxam93 New Egg

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    Dec 26, 2016
    He is still on chick feed right now. The other chicken pictured is also a rooster of the same breed and age. It's hard to tell in the pictures but his legs look significantly bigger in person.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    The difference in the legs between the two boys could just be simple genetics. I don't see anything abnormal in the photos. Legs straight out in front is a very typical Marek's symptom.
     
  7. luxam93

    luxam93 New Egg

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    If it is mareks would it be safe to say that all the other chicks he is with would have it too?
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    It's a possibility that they may have it. Isolating the bird may help prevent spreading to others.
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Mareks is one of those things that may be in your environment, so if that is the problem, the others may have been exposed at the same time. Many get it, but some don't. I still would watch him for bacterial arthritis symptoms, treat him with vitamins, and read up on Mareks as well. Mareks typically strikes young birds between 3-25 weeks old who were not vaccinated. It can cause lameness or paralysis of one or both legs, wings, and neck. Some types cause tumors anywhere inside the body or on the skin, and some get eye changes that cause grey eye and blindness. Each bird may have different symptoms. Sometimes they can lie down as your rooster does with both legs forward, or one leg forward and one leg under or in back. There are lookalike diseases such as botulism and mold poisoning. Here is some reading about the disease, and I would recommend getting a necropsy by your state vet or poultry lab if he dies:
    https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/avian-atlas/#/disease/Marek's_Disease

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    one pose of Mareks disease
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016

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