Is Marke's always fatal?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RavenStorm, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. RavenStorm

    RavenStorm Songster

    Jun 1, 2008
    Southern CA
    Yesterday, my smallest Barred Rock got pecked on her foot and it started to bleed. I separated her from the others to clean the wound and let it stop bleeding. I noticed that she was slipping and sliding around a bit like someone trying to walk on slippery ice but I thought that it was just because she was on uneven plastic flooring in her separation cage. It rained heavily, was cold and windy last night and when I go out this morning to feed them I find that my injured girl can't stand up. She was just laying on her side, and every now and then kicks her legs (but it's more like a spasm). She can still move her neck, she pecks at her food that I put under her head and when I hold her to her water she drinks. Aside from not being able to move she seems very alert. I rushed her to the feed store where I bought them because the owner will give free health care to animals he has sold. He told me it is Marek's and that currently she has a 50-50% chance of living. He told me to crush half an aspirin into her water, keep her warm and dry, and to try feeding her medicated feed again. If she makes it to Tuesday he wants me to bring her back and he will give her some antibiotics (Terrimyacin? SP?) . Anyone else pull your chicken out of Marek's? Any tips you can give me, a first-time chicken owner?
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop

    I'd have her on Teramycin right NOW.

    Sometimes they sell it at PetSmart in their bird section. If she can drink, get it into her.
    Lots of secondary infections can't set in soon after Mareks.
  3. RavenStorm

    RavenStorm Songster

    Jun 1, 2008
    Southern CA
    Oh, I forgot to add some details.

    Age of Chicken: 7.5 weeks
    # of chickens in my flock: 6
    Housing: Currently living in a 3'x6' coop and it has two walls that are just chicken wire. No free-ranging, and no run yet as it is under construction.
    Is sick chicken eating/drinking?: Yes/Yes, but only in very small amounts.
    Feeding history: I started them off their first week on medicated feed, but them due to a purchasing mistake by my DBF had to switch to non-medicated feed and have been feeding them that for the past 6.5 weeks. I bring them treats like broccoli stalks, spinach, tomatoes, cantaloupe rinds, pumpkin rinds, squid, spent grain from beer-making, guavas, and sunflower seeds.
    Treatment: so far just the aspirin in the water. There are no avian vets that I can take her too, so I need to be able to care for her myself.

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    Mareck's is a form of the Herpes virus & as everyone should know antibiotics aren't effective against a virus.
    The medication in medicated feed is: a Coccidiostat if we're talking about starter or an antibiotic in some broiler growers & layer feeds. Neither would do anything to "treat" Mareck's.
    Some birds recover from the symptoms of Mareck's, some do not. That said consider that the ones that do recover from the symptoms of Mareck's are carriers who will infect other birds they come in contact with. The sensible thing to do is to cull her immediately.
    Since she contracted what sounds like Mareck's it is obviously active in your area. If your other birds remain healthy it is because the have a natural immunity.
  5. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

    Jan 1, 2008
    I second everything NYREDS says. It may be hard to cull, yet even harder still to see more and more birds contract the disease in future years. With more deaths.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  6. RavenStorm

    RavenStorm Songster

    Jun 1, 2008
    Southern CA
    I understand that Marek's isn't curable (or even treatable) with antibiotics. Yet from my readings it seemed like once they got Marek's other infections and illnesses were quick to creep up on them so it and the medicated feed were mostly to try to hold off any other problems.

    I'm not emotionally attached to these birds; they were for eggs and meat someday so I while enjoyed them I never thought of them as pets. This girl is still alive and kicking, but I think that you are right and I might just go ahead and cull her. Once I got home today I removed all of the chickens from the coop and hosed down the whole alley, then disinfected the coop. I've already been cleaning the coop every week but for a little while I'm going to continue to wash and disinfect weekly because I also read that the disease can remain contagious in dust/dirt for up to 6 months.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: