do I need to cull & necropsy?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by slackwater, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 1, 2010
    SoMD
    Several weeks ago, one of my cochin chicks developed a droopy wing & staggering stance. Despite isolation & treatment w/vitamins, it did not improve and eventually starved (I believe). Based on the symptoms, I have reason to suspect Mareks, right? [​IMG]

    Said cochin was approx 3mos old, and was one of a group (all cockerals!) that I hatched out here at the farm. They were not vaccinated - none of my "home growns" are. However, they were also a group of chicks that feathered ridiculously late - They're still not fully feathered. I originally *hoped* that perhaps genetics were at work and there was something "wrong" with the chick to begin with.

    Fast forward to today - and the first chick's brother(s) (?) is/are beginning to act the same way (question of whether singular or plural b/c one definitely is, one may not be). So...still possibly genetics, since whatever this is has affected a sibling of the first chick. HOWEVER, now my young Am roo is somewhat "drunken." I'm not sure if this is the same thing, because he is also being beat up by my Marans roo and may just be having a bad day. He also has a tilted head, whereas the other chicks do not. But, in my current panicked hyper-vigiliance, I noticed him being a bit odd, too. He has also been hainging out by me, whereas the other affected chicks are trying their hardest to get away. I do know that Mareks can take different forms, so, he may just be displaying it differently.

    So, my question is - do you "see" Mareks in what I described? Should I cull the affected bird(s) and perform a necropsy? Is it worth buying the vaccine and doing EVERYONE, even the older stock that is not exhibiting anything (realizing that this may not be effective, but still...)

    Is this hopeless? I have a horrible, sick feeling in my stomach [​IMG]
     
  2. dawnchick

    dawnchick Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2010
    There is plenty of info on here about Marek's, most of which I don't know, or I would tell you.

    I don't think the vaccine is effective after they are 3 or 4 days old, but not sure.

    What would be the point of the necropsy? Could you diagnose Marek's if it was there?

    You might look into how to get a bird necropsied in your area; maybe the local ag college or a state facility would do it. Usually the bird has to be freshly dead and handled in a certain way after death. If it involves culling, they sometimes prefer to get the bird live.
     
  3. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 1, 2010
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    I *think* that tumors might be obvious on the internal organs of affected birds. However, I just slaughtered 12 cockerals for eating and did not notice anything peculiar on their organs. So, if it is in my flock, it is not affecting everyone. In fact...well, not really sure where I was going with that one. From what I read, the symptoms are basically synonymous with how Mareks presents, though [​IMG]
     
  4. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Symptoms don't quite fit- classic mareks is a paralysis, starting in the leg(s). There are several different presentations- the one that shows up as a nerve infiltrate will look only like thickened nerves- most commonly the sciatic. Would you notice this on necropsy? Most people would not. It can also show up as internal tumors- you would probably see these, but be unable to tell the difference between lymphoid leukosis. You need histopathology for this. Your birds sound weak- it could be mareks, could be a heavy internal or external parasite problem, or a toxicity.
    I would get a professional necropsy done- look up your local Ag school dept, poultry extension, food animal health lab ect- most states have them, and most of the time they are cheap or free.
    Also consider a fecal at your vet's, and inspect carefully for lice/mites + in the evening for roost mite.



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  5. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 1, 2010
    SoMD
    PIckle - are you saying it's not quite a classic case of Marek's b/c the birds are just progressively getting weaker, instead of being paralyzed?

    I will inspect for external parasites. I don't know of a local vet who will examine chickens for me - and I worked for the only farm vet in the area. Should I treat for coccidia? Other internal parasites?
     
  6. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    I would read some of the info put out by state poultry extensions- like this:
    http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/Docs/mareks.pdf
    The classic 'range paralysis' is the neural form, hard to see on a home necropsy. They usually a limp, then drag a leg or both, then get the wing droop. You are describing birds that seem unsteady or weak- it MAY be marek's, but could be a whole host of other problems that could make a bird weak and unfit.

    Call around and see if any vet will run a fecal sample for you, many send fecals to an out lab- which could do a bird sample.

    I would not treat for coccidia unless they have classic symptoms (bloody diarrhea) or you have a positive fecal. Or lots of coccidia on a necropsy done at a lab.
    Other internal parasites would be up to you, if they are on dirt or free range- you will likely end up with parasites eventually- so most folk treat a few times a year. Or you can get the fecal run to see if there is anything there.

    You are in Maryland?
    Try contacting your poultry extension folks
    http://www.mdchick.umd.edu/

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