Hen cannot walk

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by rabitrun, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. rabitrun

    rabitrun New Egg

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    I am wondering if someone has a clue about a 3 year Golden Comet hen's health issues. I found her in my barn 4 days ago, ruffled feathers, hunkered down and was not able to maintain her balance. I brought her into the house to warm up and monitor her behavior/eating. She is perky, will eat some food (although NOT any regular pellets), and drinks. She is eating bread, veggies and fruit. ~~She had no issues walking or flying up to the roost the night before I found her.
    She had massive diarrhea 12 hours after I brought her inside. Since then, normal.
    She cannot stand, her legs go out to one side, but she can kick quite forcefully.
    She is painfully thin.
    I had her in the house when she was acting strange about 6 weeks ago and she passed some very odd "not egg, but who knows" stuff. Since the weather turned bitterly cold, I kept her in the house until it moderated (about 10 days). She was eating, drinking and acting fine, but she never layed an egg.
    Sorry to ramble, but wanted to try for the whole story. Any ideas? Hope for recovery?
     
  2. hensintheHOUse

    hensintheHOUse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is her belly between legs bigger than usual? I hope some experts here will answer to you, but it sounds like she has internal layer to me.

    Do her poops are like string and green with a lot of water? if say so, she may have some blockages and not digested.


    Keep us update, please.
     
  3. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    I'm very sorry to say this sounds like it could very well be Mareks disease. Signs of Mareks can be as subtle as a limp or as vigerous as full blown paralysis. Usually the legs are out to one side or in a unusual position. Mareks causes tumors that sit on the nerves causing the symptoms. Mareks is a highly contagious airborne disease that can travel miles in the wind and live on land for years. It is littlerly evetywhere. Are only defence is to vaccinate. Vaccnatation is not 100 percent effective but is our only defence as of now. Was she vaccinated for Mareks? If it is mareks it does not mean the rest of your flock will become symptomatic. But it does mean that if it is mareks the flock even though not symptomatic can be carriers and infect other birds brought on to the property. Its recommended that new birds be vaccinated and given at least 14 days to develop antibodies and immunity before exposure. Exposure would be the outside and adult birds. If the time is not given and they are exposed they can catch the virus before the antibodies had a chance to form. The only real way to know for certain that its mareks is through testing of the bird. But the symptoms do seem similar. Another thing it could be is a lack of vitamin. That can sometimes bring these symptoms as well. You can try a good multi vitamin and see if she improves. If she does not i think it may be more serious like mareks . Sadly there is no cure for mareks disease. Can you post a picture of her and her legs so we can actually see her? That might help with the diagonosis and help see if it does in fact look like mareks disease. It does sound like mareks symptoms but a picture would be very helpful so we can actually see the bird. Many people are living with mareks in their flock. If it is mareks a good thread to visit is "not a emergency mareks in my flock" they can answer your questions and help you move foward in a positive direction if you do have the mareks virus in your flock. I hope this was helpful and wish you the best. I'm not saying she has mareks but I'm saying the symptoms do sound similiar. If you can post that picture it would be a great help. I wish you the very best. You might want to do some research on mareks in debth and see what you think. The symptoms do sound very similiar. Hope this was helpful and i wish you the best.
     
  4. rabitrun

    rabitrun New Egg

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    Here are 2 pictures of the hen. I also included the pics I took of the stuff that came out of here about 6 weeks ago. To answer both posters...her belly is not bigger between her legs. Her poop is normal now. The diarrhea 4 days ago was brown and tan and very smelly, more in line with dog vomit (sorry....). It poured out of her as I held her when we were giving her some water by dropper.
    I am sorry to say I do not know if this hen was vaccinated for Mareks. When I bring in new hens or new chicks (once a year) they are always quarantined for at least three weeks. That said, I have brought adults who needed new homes, and although I did quarantine them, I really don't know their vaccine history. My hens free range in the summer months when I can supervise as we have plenty of predators here.

    I read several posts about Mareks and I agree it could be that but it all doesn't fit for me since my last additions to the coop were in early November after a 3 week quarantine with no visible issues (these were 5 mnth olds just starting to lay). This hen has been with me since she was 2 days old, and is now approaching 3.5 yrs of age.

    The Mareks question I have is about paralysis...her legs are not paralyzed. She has some control, just cannot stand. She uses them to sort of sideways swim to maneuver in the crate to drink. But she doesn't move very far at all. Her legs are always out to her right hand side.

    She is still very alert, no discharges.

    Thanks for your help! I have a friend who is willing to necropsy her if we go that way. He did chicken research in graduate school and has a PhD in microbiology.
     
  5. REDNECK TRAPPER

    REDNECK TRAPPER Out Of The Brooder

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    looks like the hen might be getting old and wont be laying any more eggs. if she is not a pet I would just butcher her because if she cant walk she will just die to a predator. if you kill her don't bury her, eat the meat.
     
  6. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Her legs/feet have been checked for sprains/tendon issues or anything unusual? Pick her up in both hands so that her legs are dangling and feet touching ground,how does she react,now feel up and down legs while she is in this position,feel front and back of both legs,anything unusual?
     
  7. rabitrun

    rabitrun New Egg

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    I do not feel anything abnormal when I feel her legs. My more experienced chicken friend did not either. When I pick her up she moves her legs a lot, kicking as in "put me down." When you put her down she falls right over.
     
  8. hensintheHOUse

    hensintheHOUse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Her droppings are like egg stuff came out, which means she may be suffering from internal layer / egg yolk peritonitis just like my chicken who passed away today.
    Your hen doesn't look good indeed. My chicken was 3 years old... I wonder if these age of hens more likely have reproductive problems, especially they are good egg layers sadly.

    I hope you can find out the result why she has been suffering for, which will be helpful for you and us to take care of our chickens who has the same illness.

    I am so sorry that you have been through this. hugs to you and your family.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  9. pwand

    pwand Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do an internal exam to see if she has any lumps inside. Definately egg stuff she passed. You could try to give her vitamines in case of any deficiency.
     
  10. rabitrun

    rabitrun New Egg

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    I realized that I never posted how this all turned out. We did euthanize her, and then necropsied her. She unfortunately had internally laid. I was glad we decided to put her out of her misery.
     

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