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Head bent back, disease?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Mibotsu, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Mibotsu

    Mibotsu Songster

    May 23, 2011
    Balbriggan, Ireland

  2. mossypath

    mossypath Chirping

    Jan 14, 2012
  3. jbobs

    jbobs Songster

    The medical term for this is called opisthotonus - the head bent straight back. There is another term for the head going wry at a lateral angle: torticolis. The first thing that came to my mind was Newcastle and Marek's as this can be one of the clinical signs. Here's what the Merck Veterinary Manual has to say about it Newcastle:


    Onset is rapid, and signs appear throughout the flock within 2-12 days (average 5) after aerosol exposure. Spread is slower if the fecal-oral route is the primary means of transmission, particularly for caged birds. Young birds are the most susceptible. Observed signs depend on whether the infecting virus has a predilection for respiratory, digestive, or nervous systems. Respiratory signs of gasping, coughing, sneezing, and rales predominate in low virulence infections. Nervous signs of tremors, paralyzed wings and legs, twisted necks, circling, clonic spasms, and complete paralysis may accompany, but usually follow, the respiratory signs in neurotropic velogenic disease. Nervous signs with diarrhea are typical in pigeons, and nervous signs are frequently seen in cormorants and exotic bird species. Respiratory signs with depression, watery-greenish diarrhea, and swelling of the tissues of the head and neck are typical of the most virulent form of the disease, viscerotropic velogenic Newcastle disease (VVND, also called exotic Newcastle disease), although nervous signs may also be seen. Varying degrees of depression and inappetence are observed. A partial or complete cessation of egg production may occur. Eggs may be abnormal in color, shape, or surface, and have watery albumen. Mortality is variable but can be as high as 100%."

    Here is a great resource for avian diseases - Cornell University's Atlas of avian diseases with a photo of a chicken exhibiting the same clinical signs (from Marek's) as your quail has shown:

  4. jbobs

    jbobs Songster

    sorry forgot this link too: this a guinea hen with the same clinical sign but infected with Newcastle: http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/avian-atlas/search/disease

    I don't know about in the states but in Canada Newcastle is a reportable disease - I would watch your other birds carefully and do your research on both Marek's and Newcastle to see if you can pinpoint other symptoms.
  5. Mibotsu

    Mibotsu Songster

    May 23, 2011
    Balbriggan, Ireland
    newcastle was the one i was thinking of but couldn't remember, i read up on it before when someone else had a bird doing this same thing. thanks for the info doing some reading now.

    she is separated from the rest of the birds she was with. keeping a close eye on her, if she doesn't turn around by the end of the day i'm just going to cull.
  6. Mibotsu

    Mibotsu Songster

    May 23, 2011
    Balbriggan, Ireland
    i just went ahead and cull'd, she seemed to be in a little pain. oh well. gotta watch the rest of them now

    Good thing was she was in a grow out pen with only about 13 other birds. only about 1/8th of my flock
  7. jbobs

    jbobs Songster

    Probably a good idea to just cull :)

    Mossypath, I didn't see your comment about the rabbits - wry neck occurring in rabbits is almost always due to a pasturella infection that has spread to the inner ear. Rabbits are natural carriers of pasturella but get ill when their immune system can't keep it in check anymore - it can manifest as inner ear infections, abcesses, conjunctivitis and respiratory disease ("snuffles")

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