help! suddenly blind chicken: updated, she didn't make it


8 Years
Feb 10, 2011
Sussex County, NJ
I found my 9 month old PBR hen sitting outside in the yard when I went out to shut up the coop tonight. So, I picked her up and brought her in the house to see if she was ok. Her crop was empty, but she seemed hungry so I fed her some scrambled egg and gave her some water. She was very hungry and I noticed while she was eating that she was missing the target a lot. A light shined in her eyes shows no pupil constriction at all. I put her in a bin in the laundry room and she was resting well, but I checked on her a few minutes ago and she is lying down and is having labored breathing. She does not appear eggbound and she is not showing any signs of infection. Any idea how to help her or what is wrong with her?
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It sounds a lot like Marek's
I hope it is not and I am very sorry to hear about this. We should look at this though as if it is Marek's to try and protect the rest of the flock. Keep her separated at all cost. Wash your hands well after handling her, change at least shirts after touching her before you touch the other hens. Keep a very close eye on the rest of the flock. Marek's is a very highly contagious virus that can spread quickly. I am sorry to say that there is no treatment and that affected birds usually expire. Keep me posted of changes and i will try to help if I can...
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Thanks. I looked up ocular marek's. This bird appears to have normal eyes (no alteration in iris shape or color), but is definately blind. Does the neuro type marek's have blindness as well? I don't think she will make the night. I had one other go a few months ago from unknown causes (I thought eggbound, but now I wonder). If the other's have been vaccinated should I engage in any special cleaning routine tomorrow? I keep a pretty clean coop, but I would imagine that if she has been shedding virus in her dander for some time now, that they all have been exposed at this point. I was going to just do a full coop cleanout (short of a hose down since it is feezing out).
Dose by chance the eye look like the on on the right? (light blue in color with very small pupal/iris or even just a very pupal/iris )

Is it just one eye or is it both?

I know one of the side affects of the Mareks vaccine is blindness.

Chris .
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My eye doctor told me that if something is swelling and pressing on the optic nerve it can give you temporary vision loss. Maybe she hurt her head?

I had swelling of my optic nerve (did not create blindness, but created major dizziness), and my pupils were dilating and constricting very rapidly with nothing to do with light.
Have you noticed if she's been scratching her eyes? If so it could possibly be eyeworm. Check her eyes especially around the tearduct area for a white in color, very thin worm. If you dont see any, and if it's not marek's, it could be some type of abnormality or a genetic issue. Here's a pic of eyeworm, one is above the thumbnail and the other is near the tearduct:

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