Is this Marek? Please help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by behealthy, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. behealthy

    behealthy In the Brooder

    Jan 20, 2015
    My situation with the girls has got worse.. I realize they might not have a problem with worms or mites but something more deadly.

    I have 3 brown shavers: Pinky, Brownie & Fluffy. They have been with me for over a year now. They are my first chickens and I love them.

    3 weeks ago, Pinky stopped eating and was kind of lifeless. I thought she had a sour crop (which felt watery) so I separated her from the flock and treated her with Clotrimazole (similar to what is in Monistat), syringe fed yoghurt, water and she got better after a week. The week after that she seemed fine, I let her out to the garden to scratch for a few hours a day. She didn't produce any egg. She was still separated.

    Last week, she was sitting down all the time, tail down, excessively groomed herself and pulled her feathers out. Also one morning out of the blue, she started walking with a limp and started standing with only her left leg. I found this weird long poo in her coop that morning and even though the coop seemed secure, I thought some animals/rodents? might had got in and scared her, which led to the limping leg (I'm now not sure if it was other animal's poo or her poo and if it is related to her sickness). Here is a photo.

    Is it possible for a chicken poo to be this long?

    Her right leg seemed very weak and didn't hold much strength. Sometimes I also felt like she shivered a little although the weather has been hot (summer here in New Zealand). Tail down when standing and sitting. She still ate and drank a little. I thought she had worms/mites so I set up another spot for her in the garden (still by herself). I then sprinkled Diatomaceous Earth all over this coop and herself and treated her for worms with Aviverm. That was earlier this week. This is now Sunday and she seemed better for the last 2 days, walking around and scratching in the garden. Tail has also came pointing back up although she still has it down sometimes. I let her free range almost the whole day. She is separated from the other 2 chickens by a fence.

    Yesterday, I noticed Brownie's right eye is abnormal. The pupil is not round!!! Scared the hell out of me I immediately thought of Marek. I'm not sure how long has her eye been like this as I was giving Pinky all the attention. But she has been acting normal. She is in the main coop with Fluffy. Fluffy doesn't show any symptoms.

    Brownie's right eye. Odd shape pupil.

    I then went to check on Pinky's (the sick chicken) eye (why I hadn't thought of checking her eyes earlier..) and I found that although her pupils are round shape, the edge is quite blurry and there is a gray ring around it.

    Pinky eye. Blurry pupil with gray ring around it. She has this on both eyes.

    Now I don't know what to do. Please help!! Is this definitely Marek? or it could be something else?

    Pinky seems to be getting better, scratching in the garden, eating and drinking (though not much). She loves sweet corn but hasn't shown much enthusiasm with pellets. Her walking is also getting better. She doesn't lay any egg so far.

    Brownie and Fluffy are in the same coop, laying 1 egg each everyday and haven't shown any other obvious symptoms that I can see. In case they have Marek, if I separate Fluffy now (she's the only one haven't got anything abnormal), would I be able to save her? Or is she already infected but not showing anything out yet? Brownie seems to be eating less than Fluffy. I just went out to check on them, fed them some grapes and cat dry biscuits. Brownie ate less than Fluffy and when I checked their crops, Brownie crop seemed quite empty. There was also a wet poop I don't know from which one. Color looks quite normal but it was wet, could it be diarreah?..

    This all seems very weird to me as the girls are at least 1 and a half year old, may be even nearly 2 years old, so they seem old enough not to catch Marek? However I don't think they was vaccinated. I really need some guidance please.. what should I do from here? What is the best thing I can do for them?

    I also would like to ask, if this is Marek, would it affect CATS? I have 2 cats and they like hanging out with the chickens! (even drink water out of the same bowl sometimes). I would really like to keep them safe from harm..

    Thank you all very much!! Since the start of 2015, this ordeal has been stressing me out to the max. I just wish they were all well and healthy :(
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I have never heard of Marek's being passed to cats by birds.

    If I were in your shoes, I would phone up an agricultural lab, universities have them, and ask what kind of samples you should send them to test for Marek's and other diseases. They will tell you how to collect them and package them.

    Some diseases can only be tested for after the bird dies, though. If that happens, freeze the body and then call the lab to inquire about testing procedures.

    From what I know about Marek's your hen does have many of the symptoms. That makes it crucial to get tests done so you know what to treat the flock for.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    It is possible this is Mareks. The strangely shaped eye is not a good sign. I agree with azygous here and that you might get them tested by your local agriculture lab or an avian vet. If your birds start to develop lameness than I would definitely suspect Mareks.
  4. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Songster

    Jun 13, 2013
    Just wanted to add if the girls have all been together in the same conditions then, they all already have been exposed/ subjected, if there is Mereks, so separation by this point may not make a difference. If it is that, I've read some could get it, others will not, but could be carriers. Hopefully it's not...

    She may have pulled her feathers out by stress... or, maybe mites?
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    It's important to test the flock because many diseases do have treatments and Marek's is one of them. While other diseases do not have cures, it is still crucial to know if your flock has a contagious disease because it's good flock management practices so you don't export the disease.
  6. marneypoo

    marneypoo Songster

    Apr 24, 2010
    If you have one die and want it tested, DO NOT freeze. Needs to be refrigerated and sent in for testing as soon as possible. Get in touch with your state vet. Good luck.
  7. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Yes, If she dies send her for a necropsy. I have a link at the bottom of my posts of how to send them and where. The instructions were put together by Casportpony. If it's Marek's, they've all been exposed already and there's nothing you can do.

    If it's Marek's, I wonder she got it. With the shivers , I wonder if you have any problem in your area with Eastern Equine Encephalitis? It's carried by mosquitos and kills horses. But chickens can get it and it resembles Marek's.
    One symptom of EEE can be shivers.

  8. behealthy

    behealthy In the Brooder

    Jan 20, 2015
    Thank you all so much for your help. I'm still crossing fingers hoping for the best but would send her for necropsy if she dies..

    How long does it take for a hen to die from Marek's, counting from the day she starts showing symptoms? Does it count by days/weeks or months? Thank you. Pinky is actually doing a bit better so I hope she will make it..
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
  10. CedarCrestFarm

    CedarCrestFarm In the Brooder

    Jun 30, 2014
    Kirtland Hills, Ohio
    Agree that the eye could be a defect at birth. The color of her comb appears to be pale; which could be a sign on a digestive disorder. As for the feces, I have NEVER seen anything like that from a chicken. I have found that when I notice an illness that does not present as any one distinct illness, I use Brewer's yeast in a scrambled eggs. The Brewer's yeast is packed with nutrients and vitamins and which seems to offer a boost in immunity.

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