Could TWO of my vaccinated chickens have gotten Mareks?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Gemsbok, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. Gemsbok

    Gemsbok Out Of The Brooder

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    In August I got two easter egger pullets, one white and one orange, seemingly from two different clutches. The birds were shipped overnight from California, and I was assured they were both vaccinated for Marek's disease; I had even tried to add on a vaccination package, but I was assured that as started pullets, they had both been vaccinated by default when they were chicks.

    3 weeks ago the orange one began showing signs of paralysis, and eventually became completely unable to stand and had to be brought inside and isolated. I took her to the vet after I found swelling on one of her hock joints, and was sent home with loxicom and clindamycin. The vet confirmed that, while she did have a leg injury, both of her legs were responsive to stimulus (she pinched the skin on her toes and Nutmeg reacted to it). The vet did not seem to think the culprit was Mareks when I mentioned my suspicions; she's still unable to walk, but is getting stronger and using her legs to climb up on my legs when I take her out to feed and medicate her.

    Well, as of today the second pullet, Meringue, is showing serious balance issues and struggling to walk. She's bright eyed and eating, but she can't walk very far without sitting down. Her wings both work, and she's even able to fly a short distance when I open her pen.

    She's on straw bedding, about 13 weeks old and eating dumor starter/grower. She's not in physical contact with my other 2 year old wyandotte, or any other chicken since Nutmeg was brought inside.

    My question is, is it possible that the vaccine totally failed two out of two times? Or could it be something else wrong with them both?
     
  2. minihorse927

    minihorse927 Whipper snapper Premium Member

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    Are they in good weight? Lethargy and balance issues can be cause also by coccidiosis.

    Mareks vaccinations don't necessarily work the way we like to think they do. I've seen birds vaccinated for marked still come down with mareks but it seems to lessen the effects and prevent death from the disease. @seminolewind is as close to an expert on mareks vaccine as I know!
     
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  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Hi Gemsbok. I've seen so many things .... First, I think your vet did right. It could be an injury. With the other, Meringue,, she appears to have the same symptoms as one of mine that died and I sent her for necropsy and it was Capillaria worms (threadworms) that damaged her small intestine and e.coli and Coccidia moved in and killed her. I wormed regularly, but found out that capillaira are tough and require 2 wormings 10 days apart. Which I do now. So right now I think I would worm her and treat her for cocci. Mine could not walk and could not seem to see. It did look like Marek's.

    Started pullets from hatcheries frequently are given all vaccines as chicks.
    Most chickens require 6 weeks after exposure to have symptoms. (Most). So if both of these hens was showing symptoms of paralysis after being with you for maybe 6 weeks or more, I would say that your flock carried it. I actually had 2 out of 10 vaccinated hatchery chicks die at a year old with no symptoms. These were sent for state necropsy, and had Marek's.

    The only way for them both to be symptomatic would be from exposure to your chickens. But I would treat for what I could, worms, cocci, and clostridium . Clostridium can be treated with Tylan, ampicillin, and a few others. At least that would be that you've done what you can.

    I hope they get well. What I've also noticed with Marek's paralysis is they peck at food but can't aim. 2 of mine had slow gasping. A few developed one gray eye. All were wasting while looking hungry. One of my Polish at 7 weeks old had paralysis. I put her in my bedroom because she was so cute. After 6 weeks she started walking again. Now she's 5-6 years old.

    If one dies, you may want to send for necropsy. Continue to vaccinate and quarantine chicks. The vaccine has a 90% prevention rate.
    But Marek's doesn't follow the rules or have distinct symptoms.
     
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  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I was under the impression that the vaccination wouldn't prevent Marek's but, might result in less serious symptoms
     
  5. Gemsbok

    Gemsbok Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you very much. They are both pecking at food accurately, and neither have any respiratory issues or cloudy eyes; Meringue actually leapt about a foot onto the top of a shelter box in her pen since I posted this.

    I only have one other chicken right now; the two year old who's never shown any signs of Marek's and has been nothing but healthy the whole time I've had her. In late July her 'sister', a SLW from the same farm, died very very suddenly from what I could only assume to be a heart attack or stroke. She showed no symptoms of anything, layed regularly and had no egg issues, was strong and energetic, no respiratory distress or odd-looking poop, and I just found her dead in the coop one morning, not a mark on her, her full-the-night-before crop empty, and no signs of any struggle. However, both of my new girls have been fenced off from the run and coop she had been in, and had no direct interaction with my GLW.

    Neither of them have been wormed since I had them; I was afraid it'd be too harsh on them, but I'll run to the supply store start treatment tomorrow. I'm very happy to hear about your Polish girl, because she recovered and because it gives me hope for my own. Nutmeg is coming up on a month now, eating and drinking fine, both legs and toes grasping but still too weak or uncoordinated to stand, and I was starting to lose hope. So much of the research I've done on these signs is discouraging, and to hear someone be realistic about other possibilities and not just outright condemn them and suggest euthanasia is uplifting.

    Thank you again.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    There are I think 7 major strains or races of Mareks. When the biddies are vaccinated at the hatcheries they are usually only vaccinated against the most prevalent strain of Mareks disease in your area. Therefor a vaccination for Mareks is only about 15% effective when all the major races of Mareks is taken into consideration.

    Once a chicken has Mareks Disease it will always have Mareks disease and share the Mareks viruses with your healthy chickens. If you have a bird with Mareks the only course of action is to kill the infected bird and burry it deep.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  7. Gemsbok

    Gemsbok Out Of The Brooder

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    Nutmeg went in for a vet check up this morning; she's doing better, and the vet sees some improvement. I brought up Meringue getting wobbly too, and told her how nervous I was about Marek's. She said that if for some odd reason both of my chickens had either no or defect vaccines, she'd expect them to be much, much worse off than they are. Meringue is still alert and walking, albeit unsteadily; oddly she seems more coordinated running than walking.

    I'm still going to worm at least Meringue, the vet advised first Corid or Strike III if that doesn't work.
     
  8. minihorse927

    minihorse927 Whipper snapper Premium Member

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    Good the vet sees improvement. Let us know how deworming goes and best wishes for the birds and you!
     

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