Help! 9+ week old pullet cant stand up or walk- Marek's?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by humboldtpeeps, May 7, 2011.

  1. humboldtpeeps

    humboldtpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Our sussex 9.5 weeks old, who was fine yesterday, wouldn't come out of the coop this morning. She could move her legs and looked like she was trying to get up but then she would kinda fall forward... (like doing a downward dog in yoga). We are really worried. Her feathers are ruffled and while she seems perky she isn't as perky as usual. Her droppings are runny, stinky to normal. We thought there may have been blood in it but may have just been that intestinal lining the pass occasionally. No obvious fresh red blood. We brought her in the house and isolated her and she is eating and drinking quite well.
    We thought she had cocci a few weeks ago- she had blood in her droppings and we treated the whole flock with Corrid and an antibiotic added to the feed since they were in the brooder together and she improved with treatment.
    Now, i'm wondering if it wasn't cocci but worms instead? or is it Marek's? would worms do this? would i be able to see them in her droppings?

    We are new chicken owners and just don't have a lot of hands on experience with illnesses... and i don't know what our next step should be?
    What can we do to protect the rest of our flock from this??? What does Mareks act like- are all of our chickens about to drop dead?
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  2. humboldtpeeps

    humboldtpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Here is our little girl [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Did you do the full treatment when treating for cocci? Before starting any other treatment look at this. and after the round of corid and antibiotics did you give them probiotics to help with gut issues that happen when treating with antibiotics? http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
     
  4. humboldtpeeps

    humboldtpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    We did the full treatment. Gave them yogurt. Any ideas or advice?
     
  5. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As a non expert on these things... It's hard to tell from a single photo, but in my limited experience with cocci they tend to look very pale in the face as well as droopy winged. She looks quite bright in the face, which may be an indication that it's not cocci at the moment. But perhaps she stopped absorbing the right nutrients due to earlier gut damage?

    I would try the rickets diet, oats + grated carrot + yoghurt. If it doesn't seem like active cocci it may be a good idea to add some tinned cat food (beef variety) or even some fresh human grade mince (pet mince is often heavily treated with sulphur dioxide so avoid that).

    If it is marek's you would see no improvement on the above diet, and the symptoms would only worsen (while apparently the appetite is often unaffected). But there's good reason to hope it's not marek's and is nutritional, related to earlier cocci. In that case she should start to improve within a few days to a week.

    Marek's is too easily spread to worry about quarantine just now... I would try to focus on one day at a time until symptoms become clearer, or more hopefully disappear. Perhaps avoid hatching new chicks until you know what's going on.

    Good luck with your poor girl. [​IMG]

    Regards
    Erica
     
  6. humboldtpeeps

    humboldtpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your replies- this is our first brush with this and i'm sad to say that she is getting worse. At this point she can only move her head and she is breathing with her beak open but not taking any food or water. She likes the yogurt but cant stop the open mouth breathing long enough to really take any in. I can't reach anyone-all the chicken experts at the feed stores are off for the weekend and the local vet is closed. Why does this stuff always happen on weekends?
    I'm so frustrated with my inexperience. I cant help but wonder if i couldn't have stopped this progression if i only knew what to do, and ive been worried that there may be something i could be doing to protect the rest of the flock but just don't know of it. Ive been scouring the internet and reading books....
    The photo was just a sad chicken photo, not really with the intent to aid in diagnosis. She couldn't stand or walk, now she can't move and that's really all there is to say.

    Since it started with her being weak and then the paralysis seems to be moving up- from her legs to her wings and now all she can move is her head i'm wondering if its botulism... (nothing like a vet manual for early morning reading) She is a very curious girl and i did catch her pecking at some rotting chard from the compost. The only other things that i can think of are- we were at the bottom of a 50lb bag of organic feed (about two months since we opened it... it didn't seem moldy at all but i heard yesterday from the feed store that organic doesn't keep as long) and I had opened a new bag of hen scratch to treat them with just the other day... perhaps its one of these that has made her so sick? We isolated her, sterilized the coop, the feeders and waterers, bought a new bag of feed and i'm throwing out the scratch...

    And yah, at this point it doesn't look like she is going to improve. Ill have to see if the paralysis moves to her head. I don't know that she is in pain but i think i'm going to start looking in to culling her. We all tear up when we see her gasping like this and feel really powerless. I know its just a chicken and these things happen but its still really sad. She was a real sweety. What a rough intro to chickens [​IMG]

    If its Marek's i'm going to just [​IMG] . We just finished building them their coop and run and spent what feels like our life savings doing so. its not movable and i don't know what we will do. Every time I see one of the chickens laying down I freak out thinking she is getting sick too. So far they are all good.
    Anyway, for those that replied- I really thank you. its been stressful and sad and your feedback, information and ideas have really been appreciated.
     
  7. Aj1911

    Aj1911 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    polyvisol vitamins without iron, 3 drops in the back corner of her beak (be careful) 3 times a day

    this should help alot or atleast keep her going tell you can find a vet
     
  8. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is another paralysis disease I can think of, and it isn't as bad as Marek's — infectious encephalomyelitis. I wish I could remember more about it but from memory it's carried by pigeons, affects chicks almost exclusively, and causes a progressive paralysis that makes them lie on their sides (whereas Marek's often has one leg forward, one back). It also makes them blind for a time. The death rate is from 25% to 50% in worst cases. But I think there's another symptom (tremor). Does your bird's head shake when she lifts it up?

    I'm sorry if this is just more to think about — but it seems to me it could be a possibility, and again it might be worth waiting to see if she improves in the next few days.

    Fingers crossed, I hope she improves.
     
  9. humboldtpeeps

    humboldtpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    That actually sounds a lot like her symptoms- She wasn't doing the 'splits' like ive seen in pics of Marek's... and she can lift her head, so I'm not sure about the botulism now. Basically, she is lying on her side, and is gasping at regular intervals and is now showing some tremors when i move her. She hasn't had any droppings at all today. Ive got my chicken health handbook out and will read up on that and see what more i can find out and Ill run out and pick up some of the polyvisol and see if i can get her to last until tomorrow [​IMG]. Really, thanks so much!
     
  10. humboldtpeeps

    humboldtpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, sad news. On Monday we called our vet- they wanted us to bring her in -which felt a little silly but we decided that the worry of communicable disease and the hope that they might be able to help was worth it but... They said she was too far gone and they didn't clearly know what the cause was. So we had them put her down and we then sent her to UC Davis for a necropsy. They do them for free. We should hear in a few weeks what was ailing her and ill post an update. [​IMG]
     

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