Help! Does my chicken have Marek's Disease?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bock, May 29, 2011.

  1. sumacka

    sumacka Hatching

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    May 30, 2011
    Hi there,

    Just doing a bit of research about Mareks on the net and came across this thread (and I'm sorry to jump in on it but am new to the forum). I had 5 hens for almost two years so they were/are about 2 years old. They had not been vaccinated and apart from the odd crop issue, they were very healthy birds. 8 weeks ago I introduced 2 new hens from a farm registered with the dept of agri and they were vaccinated (have only found out recently that they were vaccinated at 20 weeks). Since their arrival I have lost a Minorca, a Black Rock, and the latest, a Daisy Belle on Saturday. I have another Daisy Belle who is showing signs of blindness in one eye so i guess she's on her way out too. There appears to be one left that is looking ok (but I know she's probably not). The only two left looking tip-top are the 2 new hens. Everything is pointing to Mareks - but their age! Symptoms were:
    Minorca (3 weeks ago) - lethargy, falling backwards, curled feet and rolled over onto side
    Black Rock (2 weeks ago)- wing paralysis (diagnosis by vet was muscle pulled but 2 weeks of it being strapped up and anti inflammatories no improvement. Also, we couldn't work out at the time how she could have done this) She was put to sleep as she was so stressed after the two weeks and had extreme diarrhea
    Daisy Belle (2 days ago) - got thin, curled feet, falling backwards and rolled over onto side, pale shrivelled comb
    It was only when I read about the paralysis of the wings that it all seemed to fall into place - however, I have a few questions if any of the experts can help:

    • is it possible that the vaccinated birds infected my flock?
    • I read that the incubation period for this disease is 4-12 weeks. If my hens are not showing any symptoms in this time frame, can I assume they are unlikely to contract Mareks?
    • I have a huge pen that my husband erected (40 x 30 ft). It's not really an option to move it - how and what with do I treat the area so it is safe for new birds (ground is grassed soil)?
    • How long does the virus last within the environment ie in the hen house/in the run
    • Would it be prudent to cull the remainder of my flock (including the new ones)?
    • How long should I leave it before introducing new (vaccinated) birds and what age should they be to minimise risk?

    I'm heartbroken and really want to put every preventative measure in place to minimize the possibility of this happening to my hens again.

    Again, sorry bock for jumping in on your thread - ultimately we are looking for the same thing. I hope your chooks are ok.

    Thanks all
    Sara
    Ireland
     
  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

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    I had 10 -6wk old chicks. 2 started not being able to stand. They still ate and looked lively, but could not walk. Then started doing this gasping thing every few seconds. It got worse and I put them down.
    It was most likely mold from something. I did toss their feed. The mold Aspergillus is most likely with mine. None of the others got sick.
     
  3. bock

    bock Songster

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    Northern CA
    It's okay Sumacka, I hope your birds get the help they need too. [​IMG]

    This morning I found her lying on her side and unable to stand. I tried to get her to eat and drink with no luck. She began gasping as well and feels even thinner than before. I am afraid that I will have to put her down today so she won't have to suffer any longer. Any ideas on how to humanely cull a chicken?
     
  4. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Songster

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    I'm so sorry you are going through this.[​IMG]
     
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

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    Corydon, Indiana
    Quote:I'm real sorry, I hate culling. But what's the quickest and least pain and least stressful to the chicken is to cover their eyes and chop their head off. They never know it's coming. It's very very painful for me to do it, but I have to think of the animal suffering. It would be more stressful on the chicken to have to go to the vet. Quick is best. It's just harder on me.
     
    Sharon2 likes this.
  6. bock

    bock Songster

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    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    Quote:I'm real sorry, I hate culling. But what's the quickest and least pain and least stressful to the chicken is to cover their eyes and chop their head off. They never know it's coming. It's very very painful for me to do it, but I have to think of the animal suffering. It would be more stressful on the chicken to have to go to the vet. Quick is best. It's just harder on me.

    Thank you, we culled her Sunday afternoon. [​IMG] It was hard, but I knew it was best for her. [​IMG]

    On a good note, so far none of the other birds are exhibiting symptoms. [​IMG] Fingers crossed it was an isolated case. [​IMG] We will just have to wait and see.
     
  7. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

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    I'm sorry you had to do it. It's not easy.
    I told someone at work that I have a hard time getting over the deaths of my chickens.
    She said to me, "You have to think of the fact that your chicken had a glorious life-however long". What she said helps me.
     
  8. bock

    bock Songster

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    Quote:Awww. [​IMG] Thanks, that did make me feel better. I hope she has a wonderful time in chickie heaven. [​IMG]
     
  9. mljohnson05

    mljohnson05 Songster

    May 16, 2011
    Missouri
    Quote:There is no way to prevent how many birds get it.
    Unfortunatly the symptoms you are stating sound just like Marek's [​IMG] Just cause there is no know cases at your place, does not mean the birds cannot get it... the disease is spread through the air, and if anyone within miles around you has had a bird fall ill to it, then they can get it...it can even be caught from wild birds.
    There is no know cure and eventually the bird (if it has it) will pass. Your other birds by this time have already been exposed, but this does Not mean that they will get it. Some birds (ones with B blood) are immune, so many pp try to breed such B blood birds [​IMG]

    cleaning will not help unless all of the birds die. Then you need to clean and wait a few weeks before bringing in new birds, which you should vaccinate and keep in the house away from possible contamination until they are 4 + weeks old ...

    Hope this helps, and I am sorry [​IMG]


    --laura--
     
  10. thechickenwhisperer24

    thechickenwhisperer24 Chirping

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    Sep 3, 2011
    I am so sorry- I hope my girls don't get this... when one of our girls died, we cleaned everything she touched within the last 24 hours that she had been sick. To avoid contamination, I suggest you do the same.
     

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