Limping - possible Marek's - help me diagnosis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mrs. Foghorn Leghorn, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Mrs. Foghorn Leghorn

    Mrs. Foghorn Leghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2008
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    History: I have 6 hens, all approx 8 mo old. They're laying good except for 1 whose been molting for 3 months now.

    About Thurs, I noticed my EE (molter) was laying down more. Didn't notice her limping until Friday evening. Today, it seems worse and then I also noticed my Lt Brahma is doing the same thing but not as severe. She is still foraging as normal.

    They free-range a little bit in my small yard but are not exposed to other hens in our neighborhood. I haven't been to any other farms in a long time.

    How do I determine if it definitely Marek's? They are not vaccinated. Do I vaccinate now? Do I have to kill them at all? I tried googling information but it seems so vague for all my questions.

    You guys are the best and I trust your wisdom here. I don't write much but I do read.
     
  2. Mrs. Foghorn Leghorn

    Mrs. Foghorn Leghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2008
    East Central FL
    It was suggested to me to look for bumble foot and I have ruled that out.
     
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    If only one bird was limping, I would suspect an injury like a strain or sprain, or perhaps a broken toenail. If you haven't done so already, I'd check their feet for injuries. But because two birds are limping and they are at an age susceptible to Mareks (its most common in 6-10 month olds), I would lean towards Marek's being the cause. A vitamin deficiency is also possible, but it usually gradually causes leg problem, not within a few days.

    As far as I know, the only way to know if a bird has Marek's is if it is necropsied, or if it has a blood test done for the disease. If you don't do either of these things, you may never know the true cause. If its Marek's, there is no point in vaccinating now-- your birds have already been exposed to the disease. Marek's is almost everywhere.

    You don't neccasarily have to kill them all. I would first try treating them for a vitamin deficiency. Either get special poultry vitamins, or polyvisol infant vitamins without iron from a supermarket. Try this for a week or two, and see if there's any improvement.

    Even if it does seem like it is Marek's, you don't have to kill them all. Not all birds exposed to Marek's will get it (many birds have a natural immunity/resistance). Some birds with Marek's will recover, if given supportive treatment like easy access to feed and water and immune builders like probiotics.

    However, keep in mind that any new birds added to your flock will be exposed to Marek's, and may get it. Make sure that any new birds are vaccinated in order to help prevent them from getting the disease.
     
  4. tofupup

    tofupup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a young hen who started limping one day, and it got worse and worse. The vet suggested Marek's or Newcastle disease. She eventually (within a few weeks) started getting curled up in a ball and her neck twisted upside down. It was a really terrible thing to watch, so she was euthanized. This was a few years ago, so I don't remember exactly why I didn't have her necropsied, but I *think* the vet stated she was almost certain it was Newcastle. There were about 20 hens in this flock and none of the others got it, so that's the good news.

    Last spring, I got a young pullet from the animal shelter and she started showing the same symptoms. I went to a different vet, she thought it was Marek's and suggested euthanasia, but I decided to take her home and give her supportive care. Within a few weeks she magically got better and today, 8 months later, she is perfect. None of the other 20 birds she was/is living with got sick -- so again, that is good news.

    So, my experience is that they can pull through and I don't think you need to kill the whole flock just because one bird has it.
     
  5. Mrs. Foghorn Leghorn

    Mrs. Foghorn Leghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2008
    East Central FL
    It has been a few days and so I am reporting back to you. I definitely have 2 lame birds. One uses a leg to balance but doesn't seem to bear weight. The other doesn't want to put the foot down.

    So, I am trying a holistic approach of putting colloidal silver in their water and some in oatmeal and fed directly. It kills bacteria and virus naturally. The next day, my EE who was so sick is up, limping but less and foraging more. She is putting her foot down for balance now. She walked all over the yard this morning.

    As for the Brahma, she is still not bearing weight unless absolutely needed. She seems worse now but definitely not looking grim. Cleaned off her bad foot, peroxide bath, rubbed with oil of oregano drops (like a massage) and that should kill any infection too.

    We wait and see. I know it seems like some crazy methods but when you only have 6 birds and kids who don't want to see their babies die, you'll try anything within reason.
     

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