Hen seems dizzy/off balance/can't hardly stand

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hawkins, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. hawkins

    hawkins Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a Black Star hen that is approx. 1 yr old that is wobbly and seems very off balance. She has been like this for 3 days now and continues to get worse. Her comb is still bright red and she continues to lay eggs & her poop is normal. I have her in a separate cage away from the other chickens. None of the others seem to be having any problems. After reading several other posts with similar problems, I started giving her Vit B complex yesterday (mixed it in with some scrambled eggs) and she continues to get worse. Now she won't even stand on her own unless you pick her up first and get her steady. I have read up on Marek's, and her symptoms don't seem to fit that either. She is still eating but not as much as normal. Any other suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. Chickens with Mareks can all have differing symptoms, but many will start of by having balance problems, using wings to help balance when walking. There can be weakness or paralysis of one or both legs or wings as it progresses. Sometimes they will continue to eat and be alert. What kind of position is she lying in? It's always good to rule out other things that can cause these neurological issues such as poisoning from lead or other chemicals, botulism, eating molded feed accidentally, or vitamin deficiency. I hope that Mareks isn't the case, and that it is something temporary. Here are some links to read about botulism and Mareks: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/19/botulism
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/avian-atlas/search/disease/502
     
  3. hawkins

    hawkins Out Of The Brooder

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    She is just sitting with her feet under her. Still looks alert, just has the balance issues. Could it be possible for just one chicken to get Marek's? Wouldn't it be affecting others if that were the problem? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Is she eating and drinking well? I would really treat her with vitamins aggressively now--poultry vitamins or PolyVisol W/O iron (3 drops daily by mouth) just in case of riboflavin or vitamin E deficiency.Have you had her or your other chickens long? Have they always been on your property? The Mareks Faq link above is very long to read, but it contains a lot of information that Nambroth has compiled. This is an excerpt about whenit can show up:

    How long after being infected will a chicken show symptoms?
    A bird may never show symptoms. Generally, Classic Marek's (with paralysis and/or lymphomas) has an incubation period of 3-25 weeks. Meaning, the 'soonest' that a chicken might show visceral symptoms after being infected is about three weeks... but on the other hand it may not show symptoms for up to 25 weeks.
    After initial infection, (when the chicken breathes the virus in), the general timeline is as follows for classic Marek's disease only:
    • Approximately 7 days: Virus latency (meaning the virus has now stored a 'blueprint' of itself in the chicken's cells).
    • Approximately 10 days - death: Full replication of the virus is carried out and the chicken begins to "shed" the virus.
    • Approximately 7 days -3 weeks: Lymphocytes carrying latent Marek's virus travel through the body, to visceral organs and nerves.
    • Approximately 3-4 weeks: In chickens that do not develop resistance, the lymphocites in the organs and nerves undergo a transformation and become gross lymphomas. It is only at this point that symptoms appear and, sadly death often follows shortly after.
    Reference: http://vir.sgmjournals.org/content/86/11/2989.long
    Infected chickens generally do not present with paralysis and tumor growth after one year of age (though some individuals still can, it is more uncommon). Infected birds may present any of the other symptoms at any age after 4 weeks, however. There are no hard and fast “rules” as to when a bird may become symptomatic.
    As it can be very hard to pinpoint the time of exposure/infection, this can be very frustrating.
     
  5. hawkins

    hawkins Out Of The Brooder

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    We have had our chickens since May of 2013. The hen that is sick is one that I got from a hatchery in Aug of 2013 (it was NOT vaccinated). We have lived on this property for almost 12 years now and never had chickens before last summer. The first few chickens we got we got locally (none of them have ever been sick) and the rest we got from Murray McMurray Hatchery. She is eating but not as much as normal and she doesn't seem to be drinking much if any at all.
    I did buy some Polvisol the first day she was sick but I wasn't sure if I should give that to her in addition to the Vit B complex. I will go give her some now. Thanks again!!!
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    -Kathy
     
  7. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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  8. hawkins

    hawkins Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, I checked her feet and they don't seem to have any external sores etc.
     
  9. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Did you scrutinize the bottom of the feet well? That is usually where Bumblefoot occurs. If there is no swelling, I'd think it is most likely Marek's Disease. I hope you find out what your bird has soon!
     
  10. hawkins

    hawkins Out Of The Brooder

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    Just checked again and I don't see anything that resembles bumble foot. No sores or swelling.
     

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