1. Mintatheena

    Mintatheena Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2014
    Orlando
    Okay, so one of my young ameraucanas has always seemed to have a slight limp but nothing major, she ate fine and everything. We never could find out what caused it or how to help her, but since she was thriving we figured it hopefully wouldn't get worse. Within the past two days, her state deteriorated. Yesterday she was on her side the majority of the day and only stood when she absolutely needed to, holding her leg up like a flamingo. Today, she's barely moving and lying on her side with her eyes closed. We discovered a huge infected fluid filled mass on her leg this morning, but we aren't so sure what it is and if we should drain it. Please help, we don't wanna loose her. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. orumpoultry

    orumpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Trinity, TX
    I would drain it. Use a scalpel or a razor. Small incision on the side and drain all liquid that's not blood.
     
  3. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    I'm sorry to say but this sounds like Marek's disease and that lump will most likely be a tumour. I say this for the following reasons....
    It is very common although most people don't get it diagnosed and/or don't want to admit that their flock has been infected
    She is a young pullet.... they are particularly prone to it.
    She went mildly lame but was otherwise fine.... Marek's often causes lameness or paralysis of one leg, but they continue to look well and eat well.
    It sometimes shows symptoms like lameness which get completely better or no worse and then they can suffer a second attack a few weeks/months later, usually when they are stressed.... maybe due to reaching point of lay or receiving unwanted attention from a rooster.

    I currently have two in sick bay with it. The first is a pullet that went lame with it 3 months ago and got no worse so far. She happily hops around and looks the picture of health(bright eyes and red comb) apart from being petite and lame..... she holds it up like a flamingo with the foot clenched and facing backwards. The other went lame 2.5 months ago. Was lame for a week or so and at one stage was lying in classic Marek's splits posture. A few days later, she was back to normal and I thought she was fine but just as her sister has started laying, she has had a second attack and is now unable to stand for more than a couple of seconds and can't balance. She is bright eyed and eating well but not getting any better this time. I had another young pullet that went lame around the same time (2-3 months ago) and she deteriorated fast and I had to cull her as she also developed wry neck as well as paralysis of both legs. I found a tumour on one of her legs very similar to what you describe and another huge one the size of a duck egg on her abdomen when I did a post mortem. I have had 2 young cockerels of the same age get it but they have come sound again.

    I am treating the recurrent pullet with turmeric and black pepper in the hope that it will inhibit the tumours. She is holding her own at the moment. I am thinking of making a frame and sling/hammock for her as she is lying down all the time and as a consequence, soiling herself. The hammock may also enable her to use her other leg a bit with support if I keep it low enough and/or enable me to reach under and do physio on her legs.

    There is no official treatment for Marek's and conventional advice is to cull as it is very infectious. Your other birds will now have been exposed to it so I wouldn't worry too much about isolating her now if she can be kept within the flock as this will also stress her. My sick bay/brooder is within the hen house, so that they can remain in contact with the flock but safe from being bullied.

    What makes you think it is fluid filled and infected?

    Personally I would advise against lancing the mass, as, if I am right and it is a tumour, it will not help and may lay the bird open to infection when her immune system is compromised as it will be with Mareks.

    I hope some of what I have said will be of help. I am on a steep learning curve with this as my young flock just started showing symptoms late last summer, but if you have any questions about what I have written, please feel free to ask.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  4. Mintatheena

    Mintatheena Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2014
    Orlando
    Thanks for all the help. She passed this morning. She seemed fine yesterday but she indeed did have a limp for about 2 months. After she passed, we cut open the wound and it was filled with a white smelly pus. I really hope it doesn't pass to the others. How is it typically passed? My chickens were all hatched from my incubator (except one, who was purchased as a 1 week old chick with them) and I live pretty far away from anyone else with chickens, I live in the suburbs
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi again.

    So sorry to hear she died. At least she is no longer suffering. Perhaps it was just an injury that got infected and eventually poisoned her system. Chickens are very good at hiding an illness until it is sometimes to late to treat.

    Marek's is a virus that is spread from infected birds (sometimes carriers that display no symptoms and look perfectly healthy) in their dander dust and infects other birds when they inhale it. Dander dust can be carried on the wind, by other birds or even on your clothing and hair. I think the term ubiquitous was used when I did my initial research. The one week old chick might have been a carrier. It's not passed on through eggs. But you could just as easily have picked it up on your clothes at the local feed store by brushing past someone else whose flock has it or had handled a bag of feed that you bought and passed it to your chickens when you returned home. Vaccination can help but chicks need to be vaccinated at hatch for it and even then they need to be kept free of contamination with it for 3 weeks afterwards for the vaccine to be effective. Because there are numerous strains the vaccine will not work for all so they can still get it but it is less likely to be fatal.

    My flock is made up of hens bought at auction or gifted from friends. Any of them could have been the source of my outbreak or it could have been carried from a neighbouring poultry man on the wind. He is into showing and takes his birds to shows every weekend, or I might have picked it up at the feed store. There is no knowing My youngsters are home bred and therefore not vaccinated and indeed I didn't even know about Mareks until they were about 10 weeks old and I had 3 go lame in the space of 10 days. The first I assumed was an injury, but by the 3rd I realised that it was too much of a coincidence and started doing research. Once I found the tumours on the one I had to cull, that confirmed to me that I was dealing with Mareks.

    On a positive note, the majority of my young birds have reached maturity without showing any symptoms and are happily laying and it is unlikely they will succumb to it now as it predominantly affects adolescent chickens, but they may well still be carriers.

    Anyway, that's pretty much what I know about it. It is useful to be aware of it even if your hen didn't have it. A necropsy would confirm it I believe, but it's up to you if you want to know and/or can afford to have it done. Personally I prefer to know what I'm dealing with so I can be prepared and make informed decisions and take preventative action when necessary.

    Regards

    Barbara
     

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