Lymphoid leukosis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sue Gremlin, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. Sue Gremlin

    Sue Gremlin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In the last month, I've lost two of my chickens (about 6 years old). The pattern was the same, they just started wasting away for no apparent reason and died in a few weeks. I have free-ranged them for their entire lives.

    Necropsy revealed liver nodules, abdominal adhesions, weird lymphoid masses all through the mesentery, very diseased gizzards, and one one of the two, a massive and diseased bursa, which is pretty much diagnostic of LL.

    From what I read online, LL is pretty much endemic, so there's no guarantee I will be able to find chickens that are not infected. So my question: Would I be a moron to get more chickens now? Or do you think I'd be better off waiting until the last two are gone and cleaning out the coop as thoroughly as I can?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    From what I understand, Lymphoid Leukosis is becoming more and more common in poultry flocks now a days. It's bears resemblance to a nearly similar viral infection Mareks Disease....If Mareks doesn't get them when they are younger, Lymphoid Leokosis gets them when they are older. It is a virus that is passed in several ways...through albumen or yolk as well as horizontal infection after hatching although they say it is not highly contagious and is easily killed with disinfectants. I have also read that chicks fare far better with very early exposure and can develop antibodies so as to not develop tumors later in life. And strict sanitation can control if not completely eliminated from your adult flocks as well. I am sure many of us are dealing with this virus and don't even know it's there.

    If you were dealing with a virus that killed off your birds at 1 or 2 years old, I would say you might not want to introduce new birds to your flock only to see them die so quickly. However from what I understand, 70% of all hatchery hens will die from reproductive cancer, internal laying or other reproductive issues. So bearing this in mind, I don't think 6 years of age is all that uncommon to have lost birds. (Heritage breeds do live much longer) Even if you waited for this flock to all die off, you might still run into this issue with a new flock at this very same age. Internal laying is incredibly common in hatchery birds and there is no guarantee any of your birds will make it past 2 years of age.

    If I were contemplating this issue and was interested in adding to my flock, I would go ahead and do so if I had many more older birds. Unless I was interested in good breeder stock of a Heritage breed who may be certified completely clean, hatchery stock has it's issues and since these are the types of birds I tend to go with, or if I only had one old bird left with this disease you are dealing with, I personally would go ahead and add to my stock. Just my humble opinion. [​IMG]
     
  3. Sue Gremlin

    Sue Gremlin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your input, TwoCrows. I really appreciate your perspective.
     
  4. Sue Gremlin

    Sue Gremlin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought I'd share what I've learned from the very knowledgeable poultry veterinarian I spoke to about this:

    In a backyard chicken situation, LL isn't commonly transmitted horizontally, especially from adults to adults. Hatcheries, unless specifically leukosis-free, are likely to be breeding birds with the virus, which they pass to their offspring. So I have no need to depopulate.
     

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