Low-grade Marek's? Advice needed from anyone who really knows about diseases with paralysis.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Tamara119, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Tamara119

    Tamara119 Songster

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    Jul 14, 2012
    Bariloche, Patagonia
    I live very far from any vet capable of doing necroscopies and blood tests, so I'm hoping I can explain my situation well enough to get some accurate feedback.

    In total, over the last 2 years, I have had 56 chickens, 36 of which are with me now. I have had the following four cases that resemble Marek's:

    - about 1 1/2 years ago, a 3 or 4 month old male chick started resting on its hocks while eating, over the course of three weeks the chick lost the ability to walk and rested on its hocks all the time, eventually laying down with its legs out straight. The wings and neck were fine, it had no outward look of sickliness, wanted to eat and drink and its eye were bright and normal. I put this chick down.

    - about 1 year ago, a 6 month old rooster (related to the one above), had progressive wry neck. When he tried to crow his neck would twist fully around and he couldn't undo it. As a month-old chick he was trampled by a larger chick and temporarily held his head turned to one side. That seemed to heal, but the later wry-neck might have been related to this initial injury. My friend sacrificed him and said his neck tendons were atypical. She isn't a vet or anything and didn't know to look for anything suggesting Marek's but she probably would have told me if she saw what looked like tumours. The roo ate and drank normally and his eyes were normal. At one point I had even put polysporin in his ears thinking it was related to an ear infection. I also had him on extra B-vitamins and other supplements said to help wry neck.

    - about 4 months ago a 2 month old female chick was unable to straighten one leg and walked with a waddle. This happened basically overnight. Perhaps there was swelling. Soon it appeared that the wing on the same side was also affected. I was fearful of paralysis and had her sacrificed right away. Afterwards, it occurred to me that she might have been caught by a cat and have infected puncture wounds. Had I tried antibiotics I might have known for sure.

    - right now, I have a 3 month old male blue copper marans. In the last 10 days or so I've noticed him sitting a lot; I figured he was enjoying the sun. Then yesterday I noticed he was unbalanced when walking, like a stiffening in his pelvis. He cannot run quickly, when he wants to run he ends up flopping around or trying to hop while flapping. Basically, he looks like there's some paralysis starting in his legs/hips. He doesn't fall on his hocks like the first chick above. He eats and drinks well and has no outwardly sickly signs. Eyes are bright and normal. He does seem to be growing and feathering more slowly than usual. I have him in a pet carrier now.

    So, these are the four cases I have had that in some way resemble Marek's. My flocks get balanced pellets free-choice and my homemade mix of grains and seeds (with Brewer's yeast) twice a day. They also free-range in a huge yard, so I really doubt there are any vitamin deficiencies. There is also no respiratory distress. All the rest of my flock are healthy and gorgeous. Could I be experiencing a low-level occurrence of Marek's? This is 4 birds in 56, that's only about 7% infection rate.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014

  2. Tamara119

    Tamara119 Songster

    188
    45
    103
    Jul 14, 2012
    Bariloche, Patagonia
    Anyone? Someone who has seen various forms of Marek's firsthand?
     

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