Just going blind or is there more here?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by UrbanGrower, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. UrbanGrower

    UrbanGrower Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    1
    91
    Sep 29, 2010
    West Jordan, UT
    This RIR is less than a year old and is apparently going blind. There are no other injuries and the cause is unknown. No other birds have the symptom. My birds get a 20% protein grain and layer mix, clean water and scraps, nothing out of the ordinary. I did have some semi-moldy straw which was used before I knew it was a bad idea. Poops seem normal.

    I've been watching this for the past couple months. Below are some pictures. What I really want to know is if I should worry about this being something more than just simple blindness like a disease of some sort. Also how can I help accommodate her? Right now she can still see out of her other eye and she functions well enough. She is less eager to go out during low light but otherwise she seems quite healthy. If there are serious concerns of spreading disease she'll likely be culled out, I cannot afford other options.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This is the bad eye. As far as I can tell she still has some sight but it probably isn't very good.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This eye looks like the other one used to, about 3-4 weeks ago. The pupil responds to light however it's considerably smaller.

    I should note that these pictures are about a month old and the worse eye has gotten considerably more grey however it has regained it's shinyness, while the good eye actually looks a bit better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  2. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

    685
    2
    131
    Mar 22, 2010
    NH
    not really sure but i have read here that I believe grey eye can be a symptom of Marke's disease, look it up on the search engine for more info. Does she have any other symptoms? lameness, weak, sleepy, not eating? They can surive Marke's if it happens to be that, but they would be a carrier of the virus. I have also read about many blind chickens on this site, so maybe they get diseases of the eyes like us humans, maybe a cateract.
     
  3. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    8,429
    134
    331
    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    That's ocular mareks and the virus is already all over your property now.
     
  4. UrbanGrower

    UrbanGrower Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    1
    91
    Sep 29, 2010
    West Jordan, UT
    pips&peeps :

    That's ocular mareks and the virus is already all over your property now.

    Thanks for your input. My understanding is that Marek's is a virus, and that a virus requires a live host to survive. What other host would I have in my yard that the virus could survive in? If it is Marek's, what is my next step?​
     
  5. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    8,429
    134
    331
    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    Quote:Thanks for your input. My understanding is that Marek's is a virus, and that a virus requires a live host to survive. What other host would I have in my yard that the virus could survive in? If it is Marek's, what is my next step?

    The mareks virus is not only shed in bodily fluids, it is shed in dander.

    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/203602.htm&word=marek's

    There is a picture on the bottom right which shows eye involvement like your bird.
     
  6. UrbanGrower

    UrbanGrower Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    1
    91
    Sep 29, 2010
    West Jordan, UT
    Thanks again Peeps, I did read that article. So to my other question, what is the suggested response? I have 12 layers that are all less than a year old. My current thought is to let them live until egg production is too low and then cull them all, clean/sanitize and start new with tighter biological controls. However there are a lot of other small flocks in my area and the coop is not too far from walking traffic. How common is this problem among backyard flocks?
     
  7. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

    685
    2
    131
    Mar 22, 2010
    NH
    wild birds

    If they are pet chickens you can keep them if they survive the virus, but you can then transmit that virus to other flocks if you are not safe about your actions, clean boots, wash hands, just like us humans, same way to help prevent the spread of disease.
    personally, my hens are pets, I would try to keep them and just not introduce any other chickens to my flock until these ones die of , hopfully, old age, and keep them away from other chickens. you will be able to find lots of info on Marke's disease here. good luck
     
  8. blefky

    blefky life in the yard

    878
    5
    131
    Mar 18, 2010
    stamford, ct
    pips&peeps :

    Quote:Thanks for your input. My understanding is that Marek's is a virus, and that a virus requires a live host to survive. What other host would I have in my yard that the virus could survive in? If it is Marek's, what is my next step?

    The mareks virus is not only shed in bodily fluids, it is shed in dander.

    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/203602.htm&word=marek's

    There is a picture on the bottom right which shows eye involvement like your bird.​

    As one with admittedly more experience with human health than poultry, looking at the picture of Marek's eye involvement in the above link - there appears to be a substantial difference in what I'm seeing. The OP's hen has a translucent grayish film covering the entire surface of the eye- almost cataract-ish, whereas the pic in the link shows, and discusses, an irregular iris. I'm not educated enough on this to make any kind of call, I'm just commenting on what I'm seeing. Always open to learning from everyone's experience.
     
  9. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

    2,435
    15
    171
    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    I was thinking cateract. However, if this can be linked to Mareks, may want to have her tested for it just to be sure.
    Do any of the others show any symptoms?
     
  10. UrbanGrower

    UrbanGrower Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    1
    91
    Sep 29, 2010
    West Jordan, UT
    Quote:The photo actually resembles quite well the state that the eye was in prior to where it's at now, unfortunately I didn't photograph the changes. Now the eye is much darker gray and the pupil seems to be dissipating entirely. The glossed over look is gone. The hen keeps her eye closed much of the time. The other eye hasn't degraded further over these few weeks (it might be getting better). I'm fully willing to accept that this is Marek's as there are many similarities, and at this point I guess I'm looking for suggestions on what to do next.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by