Marek's Disease - am I understanding this right.

Fancie

Songster
11 Years
Oct 31, 2008
795
3
151
Illinois
Okay so one of my birds is showing the classic sign of Marek's Disease. Basically the leg thing. Her eyes haven't changed colors or anything.

Well one thing will saw basically all chickens should be "expected" to have it. It basically an aireal type of herpies (kinda like chicken pox) and once they have it they always well and can shed the virus at anytime. But another article will say to distroy infected birds??? But am I only distroying birds with syptoms even thou most likely all my birds carry it?

Also they have a vaccine, but the vaccine is the live virus, being so... dosen't that infect my flock with the virus, they can shed and carry it still?
 

horsejody

Squeaky Wheel
11 Years
Feb 11, 2008
6,923
39
271
Waterloo, Nebraska
The vaccine virus is not the actual Marek's vurus. It is a closely related virus. It is close enough to produce an immune response to Mareks but is not contagious. Most unvaccinated birds are carriers even if the disease has not manifested itself. Whether or not you cull depends on if the birds are pets or just livestock to you. Birds with Marek's do not ever become Marek's free, but with intensive care they can go into remission and live a happy life. If you choose to save the bird, put it in a small cage with the food and water right in front of it. Take it out every day to clean the cage and check for improvement. There is more than one type of marek's. The vaccine is only for the paralysis type. If the paralysis makes it to the neck, all hope is lost because the bird can't eat or drink. If just the leg(s) or wing(s), are effected there is hope for remission. It can take days, weeks or occasionally months. Marek's is painless. The pain and suffering occurs from the bird trying to get around while paralysed. That's why it should be put into a small cage. I would strongly recommend that all your future birds be vaccinated and properly quarantined as chicks.
Good luck.
 

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