Help needed for mystery neurological situation...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by amyduck, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. amyduck

    amyduck Songster

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    Hi all... just looking to see if anyone has any information that might be useful in this situation...

    We bought two Ameraucana pullets 2 & 1/2 months ago. They're probably somewhere between 6 to 8 months old now, and we're a little worried about one of them...

    We started noticing "Blondie" had physical problems pretty quickly... sometimes when she's running, she seems to lose her balance and falls over on her side... the same thing has happened when she takes off and flies across the yard... she crash lands and again, ends up on her side... but rights herself and goes on normally.

    If we offer her a treat, like a live mealworm, it can take her 3 or 4 stabs to pick it up... she tries grabbing it from a palm and can miss multiple times before succeeding... that might be fear... she is really afraid of people... as we don't really notice that when she is eating on her own.

    She occasionally has trouble getting up to roost at night and has fallen off more than once from one of the bars on the way up, and this morning, when I went out to the coop around 7 am to see how everyone was doing, I found her lying on her side in the sand floor w/ her claws pulled up close to her body... I had no idea how long she'd been on the floor, and for a second, I was afraid she had died in the night - but then I noticed her head moving - so I opened up the coop and picked her up and when I set her down, upright on her claws, she did stand up on her own and started acting normally... running around, scratching in the dirt, eating grass as if nothing had happened.

    Since this morning, she's behaving like nothing's wrong... she's *not* off by herself, holding her head down low, like I've seen other sick chickens do... her poop seems normal and she did eat this morning when offered seed and is foraging with our other two chickens.

    Has anyone ever seen symptoms like these before? There's always a chance she's just a pronounced klutz but we are concerned and wondering, and more so after this morning's event...

    We've reached out to the seller to find out if she'd been vaccinated against Marek's or not, as we can't remember... But if it is Marek's would she have made it this far along, and what would the prognosis be for her going forward?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    I think that Mareks could be a possibility, but there are other possibilities as well. Do you just have the 2 chickens? Mareks is best diagnosed after one dies and a necropsy is performed at a state poultry lab. They have to examine tumor tissue if found and test feather shafts.

    Can you look at her eyes to see if the iris color looks the same, and the pupils appear round and the same size? One type of Mareks can cause a greying of the iris and an irregular appearance of the pupil. There are other eye disorders that can cause issues seeing that have nothing to do with Mareks.

    I would try using some poultry multivitamins (or 1/4 tablet of human B complex) for awhile and give her 400 IU of vitamin E daily. You can get the poultry vitamins at most feed stores, and the vitamin E at any pharmacy where they sell them for humans. Here is a list of state poultry vets and labs if you should need it someday:
    https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.
     

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  3. amyduck

    amyduck Songster

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    Thanks so much! I'll check out her eyes later post what I find, and get the vitamins. I was wondering about B's already... unfortunately, she's pretty scared of us, so it's going to be hard to pill her.
    I also just found out they were not vaccinated... so do you have any idea, if it is Marek's, is there a chance she'll make it since she has made it this far? Is there anything that will help her if it is?
    If I recall correctly, there was a question about Marek's in a hen that died about a year ago, and I had a pretty old hen that died right before I got them.... but we assumed it was old age and her liver and didn't have a necropsy done, although I regret that now. At any rate, do you know if this new hen could pick it up and show symptoms after just one week if it were still in the area, or carried by the hen that was already here when I brought them home?
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    It takes a minimum of 3 weeks exposure to the Mareks virus before a chicken could possibly show symptoms. There is no cure or treatment that has proven successful. I would just see how she gets along. Each chicken is different, and some can survive, but may have problems later. Mareks can remain in the area for years, since it is spread in the dander.

    The crushed B complex 1/4 tablet plus the emptied out vitamin E can be hidden in a small amount of feed or egg. I have hidden meds in a bit of feed mixed with raw egg and a few whole wheat bread crumbs on a plate. If that doesn’t work, you could grab her off the roost at night and stuff the pill and capsule into her.
    Here are 2 very good articles about Mareks when you have time:
    https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/poultry/FS-1007 Recognizing and Preventing Mareks Disease in Small Flocks.pdf

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/
     
  5. amyduck

    amyduck Songster

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    I checked her eyes and they seemed fine. I'll work on getting the vitamins next and reading up on Mareks.
    Thanks!
     
  6. amyduck

    amyduck Songster

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    Hi again, Eggcessive or others... I just noticed this same hen has a crust around her eyes and sort of on her feathers (note behind her eye, it's on the surface)...see the attached photo. What could this be? Fauvus? Something else? Scaly mite on her head? And could it be the cause of her falling over or two separate things? Until we looked closely, we thought the alpha hen was pecking at her face... since she's pulling feathers elsewhere.... (We've also continued to find her on the floor of the coop after dark, so she is either being pushed off or is falling...)
    IMG_3401.jpg
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    @amyduck it might help if we knew....
    Where in this world are you located?
    Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
    upload_2019-11-23_17-32-34.png
     
    amyduck likes this.
  8. amyduck

    amyduck Songster

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  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    To me it appears that she has been pecked around the head and face, since their are broken off feathers on her head. There may be dried secretions or food on her face and head as well. I would take a warm wet washcloth and wipe her face and head off. Put a dab of plain Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic Ointment into her eyes twice a day.

    Can you show us a picture of the inside of your coop? How many roost bars do you have? How many chickens are in the coop? Can you place her on the roost after dark if she is off? You may need to spend more time with them to find out what is going on.
     
  10. The_Flock

    The_Flock Songster

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    My one hen Cosmo is blind in one eye due to an injury and she was a bit strange when she was younger. We knew about the eye from the first day. Now, at almost 3 yrs old she's second in command and spunky too.
     

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