Hen with cloudy eye-What is it?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rhodies Rock, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Rhodies Rock

    Rhodies Rock Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 10, 2010
    My 1 year old rhode island red hen named Hoppy (because she was a hop-along after being injured in a dog attack last year) seemed to be fine this morning, but when I got home one of her eyes was closed, and when she opened it, it was kind of milky. You could see her pupil and everything else in her eye, and it looked normal, except for the cloudiness. She can not see out of it as she has to bend her neck around to see what is on the bad eye's side. I tried to give her a worm and frozen fruit, but she had little interest in it. When I threw scratch to the chickens, she seemed to want to go and eat, just to be with her friends. So I gave her some scratch where she was and she got up and ate some. Then she ate some frozen fruit and an hour later some layer pellets mashed up in water. I was out to check on her this afternoon and she was drinking some water. Tonight, when she could not get in the tree to roost with the other chickens, I put her in the tree. I also felt her crop, and it was about 2/3 full. She is now up in the tree roosting.

    What has me worried is the possibility of disease. Could it be Mareks or Newcastle? She was definitely not feeling her best-she just sat around and did nothing. I'm not sure if it was disease or if she was getting used to only having one good eye. Or is it physical: maybe my rooster pecked it when he was doing what roosters do. It came up very suddenly. If it is physical, what can I do to prevent infection?

    Any input is greatly appreciated.
  2. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation



    From: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/90/mareks-disease

    Marek's disease is a Herpes virus infection of chickens, and rarely turkeys in close association with chickens, seen worldwide. From the 1980s and 1990s highly virulent strains have become a problem in North America and Europe.

    The disease has various manifestations: a) Neurological - Acute infiltration of the CNS and nerves resulting in 'floppy broiler syndrome' and transient paralysis, as well as more long-standing paralysis of legs or wings and eye lesions; b) Visceral - Tumours in heart, ovary, tests, muscles, lungs; c) Cutaneous - Tumours of feather follicles.

    Morbidity is 10-50% and mortality up to 100%. Mortality in an affected flock typically continues at a moderate or high rate for quite a few weeks. In 'late' Marek's the mortality can extend to 40 weeks of age. Affected birds are more susceptible to other diseases, both parasitic and bacterial.

    The route of infection is usually respiratory and the disease is highly contagious being spread by infective feather-follicle dander, fomites, etc. Infected birds remain viraemic for life. Vertical transmission is not considered to be important.

    The virus survives at ambient temperature for a long time (65 weeks) when cell associated and is resistant to some disinfectants (quaternary ammonium and phenol). It is inactivated rapidly when frozen and thawed.


    Paralysis of legs, wings and neck.
    Loss of weight.
    Grey iris or irregular pupil.
    Vision impairment.
    Skin around feather follicles raised and roughened.
    Post-mortem lesions

    Grey-white foci of neoplastic tissue in liver, spleen, kidney, lung, gonads, heart, and skeletal muscle.
    Thickening of nerve trunks and loss of striation.
    Microscopically - lymphoid infiltration is polymorphic.
    History, clinical signs, distribution of lesions, age affected, histopathology.
    Differentiate from Lymphoid leukosis, botulism, deficiency of thiamine, deficiency of Ca/Phosphorus/Vitamin D, especially at the start of lay.


    Hygiene, all-in/all-out production, resistant strains, vaccination generally with 1500 PFU of HVT at day old (but increasingly by in-ovo application at transfer), association with other strains (SB1 Sero-type 2) and Rispen's.

    It is common practice to use combinations of the different vaccine types in an effort to broaden the protection achieved. Genetics can help by increasing the frequency of the B21 gene that confers increased resistance to Marek's disease challenge.​
  3. Rhodies Rock

    Rhodies Rock Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 10, 2010
    Thank you kathyinmo for the info on Marek's. I will look into it.
    This morning when I went out to feed, Hoppy was the first chicken I saw. She was really hungry too, and ate a handful of layer pellets mashed up in water. Then we put her out in the garden to scratch around with the other rhodies and she seemed to enjoy it. Her eye is still cloudy, but not as cloudy as yesterday, and she is keeping it open. She can detect motion and light from dark, I think, but still has to move her head around to see my hand when I pick her up. I'll try to post pics of it later today, and see what others think it is.
    The only thing right now that has me really concerned is that Hoppy just started stretching her neck up and opening her mouth, like a huge and fast yawn. It's almost like she's trying to cough something up. She's not really showing other symptoms of Mareks besides her eye, but I'm still worried. If anyone has another idea of what this could be I would really appreciate it.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by