Crookneck, Marek's or Botulism -- please advise!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by katecox, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. katecox

    katecox Out Of The Brooder

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    About a week ago, I noticed my 12 week old Silkie was falling down while walking, at the time, I thought she was just tripping on her feet feathers. Then on Friday, she was falling down much more frequently and struggling to get up. In the last two days her legs have now splayed and she can't stand at all -- although she tries with all her might. She flaps her wings and shakes her head but can't rise up at all. The only thing that has changed for her recently is that she typically sleeps next to our 12 week Polish chicken and last week one of our Black Australorp's hurt her leg -- that chicken had been sleeping next to our Silkie, but the BA wasn't steady on her feet and maybe at some point fell over on our Silkie. So, at this point I assumed crookneck but now with her legs splayed as they are I am nervous about Marek's and since it has been wet and soggy for the past three weeks, botulism may also be a possibility. Yesterday, she was eating like a champ but today she didn't want to touch her food. I have answered the questions below hoping some more information may help. Please help -- I have read some great success stories and hope to add to them!

    1) What type of bird , age and weight.- Black Silkie, 12 Weeks, tiny (not sure of weight but she is a tiny girl)

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.- A week ago tripping up as she free-ranged, a few days ago tripping and then staying sprawled on her side, to the point of laying on her back on two instances. Now she is in the feeding trough by herself upright, but with legs out and neck is acting erratic. She most often has her head resting on her back looking towards her back -- I felt her neck and this is going to sound novice but it is in an "s" shape -- but is that normal?

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?-About a week now.

    4) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.- No other signs of trauma.

    5) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.- Potentially our Black Australorp (12 weeks) could have fallen on her while the BA was trying to walk with a hurt leg.

    6) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.- Yesterday and this morning she was eating her organic starter feed just fine, drinking well too. But this evening she doesn't want to touch her food so I had some high nutrient chicken food from the vet that I mixed with water and fed her through a syringe.

    7) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.- Normal, but since she can't move I have been cleaning it from her feathers.

    8) What has been the treatment you have administered so far? I have been following the protocol from Alan Stanford on how to treat for crookneck. So she has been getting Vitamin E, Selenium, and Prednisone. I was also treating up till this morning with Poly-Vi-Sol but then I read somewhere on the forum that it has something in it that cancels out the Vitamin E so I will go and get the Vitamin B tomorrow. I also gave her .06 ml of Metacam as well. I put electrolytes in her water but she now can't get to her water and won't take it when I dip her beak.

    9 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet? -I would like to do it myself if possible, but I have access to a Vet Tech too.

    10) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. I have one I hope to figure out how to add a photo to this.

    11) Describe the housing/bedding in use- It is a 4' x 4' coop. The bedding isn't too deep right now. It sits up and they walk down a board. The coop is about 3 feet off the ground. All of my 9 chickens free range, they are all 12 weeks of age.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  2. katecox

    katecox Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2010
    [​IMG]

    This is a photo of her in the feeding trough where I am keeping her under a warming light. Her head is at 4:00 or so -- and feet splayed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  3. katecox

    katecox Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2010
    [​IMG]

    Another image of her -- I tried to capture an image of how her head is turned onto her back. Sorry about the clarity!
     
  4. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd rule out botulism since you don't mention any other birds in your flock with illness. I'd rule out the vitamin deficiency because treatment for that has not improved the situation - symptoms are, in fact, worse. I think you are right to suspect Marek's Disease. As I'm sure you know, there is no cure. Paralysis is usually permanent. I'm sure you also know that, if this is Marek's, you have to assume that the rest of your birds have been infected. It is my opinion that the humane thing to do is euthanize the silky and send her body for a necropsy so you can get a professional diagnosis. You need to know for certain what you're dealing with. It's important for the sake of the rest of your flock as well as any new birds you may wish to acquire in the future.
     
  5. THough1956

    THough1956 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am sad to say that I have to agree also it sounds like mareks.

    I to have been battling this same thing for about a year. Everytime I think it it gone it rears it's ugly head again. Most often when I have young bird reach about 3-5 months old.

    I am going to try spraying all of my pens with oxine and vacinating all new chicks.
     
  6. katecox

    katecox Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2010
    This makes me so sad. It does make some sense though -- we had our Budd Orpington die at 7 days from something neurological and then a Polish died at about 7 week from something that presented itself much like this. I purchased my chicks from 4 different feed stores but none of them vaccinate and said that they don't because they haven't seen it in our area. I have a 4 year old and having to watch the slow sad deaths of each of these chicks is so painful for the family -- we have tried with each but nothing seems to work.

    Gertie is currently in the same state as yesterday, a lot of vigor but she can't move so she sweeps her head back and forth and flaps her wings and you can tell she wants to stand so badly!

    So what do I do now. Do I just wait for it to appear with every one of our remaining 8 birds? Are they all considered infected? If so I am assuming we can't add any to the flock until they have all died.

    Oh this just breaks my heart. Poor girls.
     
  7. THough1956

    THough1956 Chillin' With My Peeps

    There are lots of sites where you can read all about Mareks. Once it is on your property it is THERE. It is even carried through the wind. I had chickens for years and years with no problems, but now have been battling it for about a year.

    Good luck. I have had a few with mild symptoms that recovered. Try some antibiotics in the water, can't hurt.
     
  8. babsbag

    babsbag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can vaccinate older birds and it may lessen the symptoms if the contract the disease. I also have been fighting this for about 6 months. So far I have lost 3 from it, and possibly a 4th that I lost before I knew what to look for.

    Some birds do recover from the paralysis and are carriers, but most do not. [​IMG] Since all your birds have been infected I personally wouldn't cull. IMO But it is not fun to watch as they get worse and die.

    Any new birds you get need to be vaccinated before they are let outside on your property. They have to be seperate for 10-14 days after the vaccine. The vaccine does not stop them from getting the virus, it just stops the tumors from forming.

    I would clean my coop with Oxine and vaccinate.

    Does your BA have the same symptoms? Or does she really have an injured leg?
     
  9. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Even if this is Marek's it may not be as bad as all that. Respected sources of info on the disease say that Marek's doesn't have a 100% mortality rate. As I understand it, some birds with Marek's may show only mild effects of the disease (like blindness in one eye), but otherwise appear normal. There has been some suggestion that giving the Marek's vaccine to birds already exposed or infected may help to moderate the disease, so I suppose it's worth consideration. Going forward, you would want to be sure any new chicks are vaccinated for Marek's and isolated from any birds that you know have the disease for at least 5 months. You'll need to practice bio-security, too, to make sure you don't act a a carrier of the disease. The virus is shed from the feather follicles and can be carried on your hands, clothing, and shoes.

    Please let me emphasize that you should not accept the idea that your bird is suffering from Marek's based upon the best guess of me or anyone else on BYC. If I were in your shoes, I would seek a professional diagnosis on the Silkie. I hope you'll consider doing that. Nothing would please me more than to know that the guesswork was a wrong as wrong can be.
     
  10. babsbag

    babsbag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I had a necropsy done on 2 of mine and both times it came back as "presumed" or "suspected" Marek's. The first time I really thought they were wrong. I guess it is difficult to determine the difference between lymphoid leukosis, even for a lab. Now that I have a chicken with a gray eye I am pretty sure they are correct. It is a hard thing to hear.
     

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