Help! Does my hen have Marek's?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sabavana, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Sabavana

    Sabavana Out Of The Brooder

    Hi guys,

    I'm worried about my hen Chardonnay. She's an Isa brown, unknown age as she was a rescue but she was laying when we adopted her 18 mths ago.

    Day before yesterday we noticed her walking funny - kind of sideways like she was drunk. She would do that for 30sec then walk normally. She was still eating and drinking and was in the nest box yesterday, so I assume she's still laying. I did a bit of googling on chickens walking strange, and it was said that it might be an effect of moulting. We brought her inside the house last night, and followed the advice of giving tuna with a multi-vitamin/mineral mixed in and ACV in her water. She ate all the tuna (loved it!).

    However, last night we noticed that her eyes are different. Her right eye looks fine, but her left pupil is tiny, and is horizontal. Googling this lead me to info on Marek's, including an awesome post on this site.

    As of this morning, we still have her isolated from her sisters in our backyard (the coop is over the other side of the property), and she seem a bit perkier. She seems to be walking more normally, not sideways but still quite gingerly like she doesn't have proper balance. Her tail is up higher than yesterday too, and she is still eating, drinking and scratching. Whether she is actually feeling better or just loving the time to herself and new environment, who knows!

    Does this sound like Marek's? I'm really really hoping not, as it doesn't sound good if it is. Also, what can we do for her? Is a trip to the vet warranted? Last night we decided we wouldn't take her as out of all of the possible options it sounded like she may have, they had no treatment anyway. We will keep giving her the vitamins and ACV, is there anything else? How often should we give her tuna?

    Would love any advice... I tried to take a photo of her eyes this morning but she was more interested in exploring her new surroundings and wouldn't keep her head still!

    Thanks heaps.

    Edited add: I forget to mention she also has a lot of grass in her poo, which I've never noticed before. I only noticed because she slept in the shower last night and I had to hose it out this morning, so for all I know grassy poo might be normal, but thought I should mention it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Mareks does seem like a possibility with both the balance problems and the unusual eye. Eye abnormalities can be Mareks or not. Coloboma and other unusual shaped pupils or irregular irises can be birth defects. Tiny pupil on one side sound like Mareks a bit. Tuna along with eggs, meat, and nuts can be a good source of selenium and protein, but only a small amount is needed to help treat neurological conditions. Her regular chicken feed should make up 90% of the diet. Hopefully, it is not Mareks, since many other problems can look alike.
     
  3. Sabavana

    Sabavana Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks so much. All our birds eat eggs regularly (as we don't eat them ourselves), but we will give her more tuna too. And I always have a supply of almond meal so she can have some of that too, along with her regular food. I managed to get a couple of photos just now, but they are not the best. She seems to keep the small-pupil eye half-closed most of the time, and also appears to be blind in that eye as she is tipping her head to see what's on the ground with her good eye. My poor baby :-( The good news is she does seem to be walking a bit more confidently this afternoon. We're going to keep her at the house inside at night, and in the backyard during the day, for as long as we need to so she can hopefully recouperate better.

    The good eye:
    [​IMG]

    The bad eye:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Sabavana

    Sabavana Out Of The Brooder

    Update on Chardonnay: She is so much better! She is walking straight, trotting around, eating, and doing all the other normal chickeny things. However, she is definitely blind in her left eye - I think that's what must have been causing her to walk drunkenly. She went back in with her sisters yesterday and all is well so far - phew!
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Sorry that I didn't see your pictures until now, but her eye looks pretty much like ocular Mareks pictures that I have seen. Of course, don't take that as a diagnosis, since I am not an expert of Mareks. I'm glad she is walking better and back out with the flock. Please let us know how she is getting along later.
     
  6. Sabavana

    Sabavana Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks Eggcessive. I too suspect it's Marek's, though after some research I realised it doesn't seem to matter much if it is or not, as it's not treatable anyway. So we decided that we will just continue to give her the care she needs, giving her a 'holiday' away from the flock from time to time if it looks like she needs it, and keeping up her good diet. As I have read, if she has Marek's, all the rest of the flock would have been exposed long before now, so keeping her separate for that reason is pointless. Will update here if there's any news either way, hopefully you won't hear from me for a while :)
     

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