Has anyone ever saved a chick from what may be Mareks?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ruralgirl, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. ruralgirl

    ruralgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all! I'm new here! I've had chickens for a quarter century, but have a new dilemma. I'm raising this year's batch of youngsters who were day-old chicks from McMurray's Hatchery 8 weeks ago. At 6 weeks of age, two of the Cuckoo Maran pullets suddenly died after being lethargic for a day and then unwilling to stand for a day.

    Now, at 8 weeks old, my friendly, fiesty "free, exotic" chick, whom I've identified as a Golden Penciled Hamburg, cannot use his legs for more than a few uncoordinated strides. When this first hit him, 4 days ago, he could only run sideways and do horrific somersaults with wings flailing before collapsing on his side. Now, however, he's learned to control his legs enough to stand up and drunkenly stumble 4-5 strides to get where he wants to go. However, he spends most of the day sitting on his rump and hocks with his feet slightly out in front of him. While sitting, he can alternately lift his feet quite rapidly and in coordinated fashion just as if he were up and walking, and he does so when he's happily eating the fresh greens I give him 2-3 times a day (chickweed with some grass and clover from the lawn - with no chemicals or fertilizers on the lawn). His wings and neck don't appear to have any paralysis whatsoever.

    Because it began with apparent paralysis in his left leg before soon including his right leg, and because my research isn't coming up with anything else, I'm suspecting Mareks Disease. I always have my chicks vaccinated by McMurray's, but I know there's a 10-14 day period of recommended quarantine which I don't provide completely as my mature hens are nearby in the same barn.

    Percy is such a happy little guy who's trying so hard not to let this get him down, that I want very much to save him. He lives with a dozen pullets who were turning him into a bowling ball as they scurried about their daily business, so I put him in a large wire cage in their midst. As with the entire spacious area, I'm keeping him on clean sawdust. He's getting non medicated grower crumbles (which he's still eating well) and I'm still putting McMurray's chick vitamins in his water.

    Does anyone know what disease he may have? And has anyone successfully saved a bird from this type of thing? Thank you!

    Wendy in Michigan
     
  2. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 14, 2009
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    I had a Rhode Island Red that was in similar shape last year. I think she might have been a little older than yours, but can't remember for sure. I tried asking all the local chicken people I could find, and most thought that it might be Marek's. The 4-H leader who brings chickens and eggs to our local Farmer's Market told me I would need to put down my bird, as well as the rest of the flock. I refused to give up, and as a last resort, called the local Urban Farm Store. Their chicken expert happened to be there, and he told me to put vitamins and electrolytes in the water, as well as tetracycline (available at most feed stores). I don't recall the dosage. . . . I think that it was one teaspoon of each in the little quart waterer, and to change the water out daily. Our little girl was cured in a week or so, and she is now over a year and was probably one of our earliest and best layers. You can not tell for sure which RIR was sick, as they both look the same. I don't know if this will help your little one, but it just goes to show that just because it seems to be Marek's does not mean for sure that it is, and it is not necessarily a death sentence.
    I would probably jump-start things for the little bird by getting some poly-vi-sol without iron, and dripping a few drops along the beak to allow the baby to take them in. I really don't know what my bird had, but it involved paralysis, loss of balence, and an inability to get around without a huge amount of flailing of wings on the litter for support, while bobbing and weaving, sometimes with only one leg working, sometimes without either working well. Good luck with your bird.
     
  3. ruralgirl

    ruralgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Thanks, Dora'smom! Your experience really seems to parallel my own. I'll head to my local mill (they know me well as I have horses and all sorts of other critters) to get the things you mention to add to Percy's vitamins in his water.

    I was so pleased an hour ago to see that he could stand, albeit partially propped up against his cage, for nearly a minute. That's the strongest his legs have been since this started.
     
  4. ruralgirl

    ruralgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2010
    UPDATE: As a final informational note, my little Percy didn't make it. He had improved greatly for 3 days and I was certain he'd recover, but then his leg paralysis returned with a vengeance. After several days of watching him regress to the point of no longer trying to move at all and losing his once voracious appetite and happy personality, this morning I decided he'd suffered enough.

    I may never know for sure if it was Marek's, but it seems to fit much of what I've read, including the relapse part. The other chicks seem to be doing well, so, with luck, this will be the end of it.
     
  5. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    have been talking about a similar paralysis on another post "legs paralysed".... moldy food has come up... ?
     
  6. ruralgirl

    ruralgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2010
    mmaddie's mom :

    have been talking about a similar paralysis on another post "legs paralysed".... moldy food has come up... ?

    I doubt it was mold in this case, although anything is possible. I've got about 30 birds on the same feed and Percy was the only one with these symptoms. I also get a good look at my feeds when I empty them into my bins as soon as I get home from the mill. The chicks are on kiln-dried shavings which smell and look super clean. Nonetheless, I'm not ruling anything out and will be alert to that possibility. Thank you!​
     

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