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Leg Paralysis in Barnevelders

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gypsymom, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. gypsymom

    gypsymom Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a mixed laying flock that had two one-year old Barnevelder hens. A few months ago I found one of the Barnevelders on the floor of the coop with her legs paralyzed. I put her on oxytetracyclene and encouraged her to eat and drink, but after a few days she gave up trying and died. I learned that Mareks can cause this, but not one of my other chickens has been ill. Today I just found my second Barnevelder on the floor of the coop with her legs paralyzed, just like the first. This would seem to indicate there is a genetic problem with these birds. They were acquired together and probably from the same hatching, so hopefully this isn't a general problem with the breed but rather I got a bad genetic strain. Anyone have any similar experiences with this breed? I really like the Barnevelders, but certainly don't want to go through this again.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Were your other birds vaccinated for Mareks? Other things can cause sudden paralysis, such as botulism, moldy feed, or vitamin/mineral deficiencies, usually from feed that is outdated. Are both legs paralyzed? Botulism is caused by eating a toxin found in maggots, dead animals or rotted vegetation. It starts with paralysis of both legs spreading upward to the wings, then neck. Mareks is different in every case, but many times only one leg or wing is paralyzed at first. I would arrange to get a necropsy done by your state vet if this chicken dies to look for Mareks. Here is a list of state vets that you can call for information, and a link about sending a bird for a necropsy:
    http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/799747/how-to-send-a-bird-for-a-necropsy-pictures
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd also recommend a necropsy. What are the ages of the other birds in your flock?

    I have a Barnevelder flock and have not had any health issues in my birds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
  4. gypsymom

    gypsymom Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the links. I am really curious what hit these two hens, so I think I will do the necropsy if this bird doesn't survive either. I don't know whether any of my birds were vaccinated for Mareks, but I doubt most of them were. It does seem strange that the paralysis only hit the two Barnevelders, and that there was about three months between the cases. My flock is all different ages, but all healthy. They get fresh high quality feed, free range in a large outdoor area, and have a well-ventilated house. If other people are not having issues with Barnevelders particularly, I suspect mine just happened to be genetically susceptible to whatever caused the paralysis.
     
  5. PertyGertie

    PertyGertie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is the status of your hen? I have a pullet that I found lying on her back and couldn't get up. She was kicking her legs, toes curled and one wing a bit lazy at times. I brought her inside and fed her and she walked a bit wobbly but she is going downhill fast. I am terrified this could be Mareks.
     
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Mareks vaccination does not stop the disease, only the progression of the tumors, and then only if the vaccine covered the strain in your area.

    Different breeds, and yes different lines, have different tolerance and resistance to Mareks, which is prevelant in the environment.

    So having only 2 birds hit can happen especially if you have a mixed flock. To have 2 of the same breed from the same line can be indicative of low resistance to Mareks (if indeed it is, only necropsy will indicate if their are tumors present).

    Mareks can take different forms, and only one strain produces the neural tumors that create the paralysis.

    And Mareks is not the end of your flock. It can be the end of one breed or one line in your flock that was not resistant to Mareks.

    The industry is breeding for resistance as the virus is morphing faster than the vaccine, and there is evidence the vaccine is creating a "super" virus that is more lethal...again leaving the industry desiring to breed for resistance rather than to vaccinate.

    A bird vaccinated still "catches" Mareks, and can pass Mareks along to others. It simply does not display the symptoms if the vaccine is of the right strain.

    LofMc
     
  7. PertyGertie

    PertyGertie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had 6 pullets shipped from a breeder in California in September. One of the Marans pullets didn't make it. Of the 5 remaining The one that is sick is the Marans. Not sure what to do with the paralysis and panting. She stopped eating today so I've tube fed her 3 separate times. She seems to be dwindling. If she doesn't make it I will have a necropsy done. I need to know what I'm dealing with. I'm going to give the vet a call in the morning to see if there's any appointments open.
     
  8. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Generally best to start your own thread so that it doesn't get buried in someone else's.

    Marek's tends to come on more slowly, and they slowly waste away while yet eagerly eating and drinking. It can be very frustrating to see a bird who otherwise seems eager to live finally waste away. Paralysis tends to keep them from being able to eat/drink simply because they can't move. Although, it all depends on the type of tumor and where the tumor is. Some internal tumors can bring about a quicker end.

    If it comes on quickly, and they go down quickly, I suspicion other things at work like botulism or toxin of some sort. Possibly injury or even bacterial/viral and/or coccidiosis. Only toxins will produce a paralysis though. The others a sudden weakness and wasting....but generally there are other symptoms such as sneezing, nasal drainage, or diarrhea.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can affect a chicken.

    If you are the mindset to seek vet help, that is generally the best diagnostic avenue.

    Good luck with her.

    LofMc
     
  9. PertyGertie

    PertyGertie Chillin' With My Peeps

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