Helping a flock survive Marek's after exposure?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by phat chick, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. phat chick

    phat chick Chirping

    Nov 3, 2013
    Pasadena, CA
    Hello all.

    I recently lost a chicken that was about 9 months old in a sudden death. Externally she appeared very healthy, and I had not noticed any sickness or symptoms. I sent her to a lab for a necropsy and it is "presumed" to be Marek's Disease. They stated she was in good nutritional condition and I had not noticed any weight loss. Apparently, they found lesions inside her consistent with the disease. Since Marek's is so common and is highly contagious, it seems safe to assume the rest of my flock is also infected. None of them have been showing any signs of sickness so far. They are four hens, and are all around the same age, 9 - 10 months old.

    I don't know if they were vaccinated as chicks for Marek's. My question now is what I could do to help the rest of my flock survive this exposure to the disease. I get the impression that much of survival is based on an individual chicken's genetics. Their lives are pretty stress-free, so maybe there isn't much I can do, but I want to improve their chances if it's possible. Is it too late for vaccination? Should I get a blood test from one of them to be certain it is Marek's?

    Thank you all for any information or suggestions.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  2. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Songster

    Mar 6, 2013

    It is my understanding that if one of your chickens has Mareks, then the rest of the flock has already been exposed. They will either survive it or not. I don't think there is anything you can really do for them at this point other than just feed them well and hope for the best. Nothing is going to stop the tumor development that I know of. There may be some home remedies out there that I haven't heard about. You can do a search on Mareks here. There are many threads on it I'm sure.
    One thing you do want to make sure of. If you bring any more chickens on your property, whether you still have those or not, you will want to make sure they are all ready vaccinated. Mareks stays on your property for years is my understanding.
  3. Quote:
    Mareks is everywhere in the environment. My understanding is that every bird from a chicken to a canary can carry or spread Mareks Disease. While vaccinations help there are several strains of the Mareks virus and it is difficult to vaccinate for every possible strain or variety of Mareks Disease.

    The smart thing to do is contact your state land grant university's poultry department and find out which strains are most common in your area and then vaccinate at the hatchery for that strain. The only practical long term solution I can see for Mareks is inbred resistance.

    Therefor I would discourage anyone from hatching from eggs fertilized by or laid by a rooster or a hen whose brothers or sisters either one were ever diagnosed with or expressed symptoms of Mareks Disease.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014

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