Marek's disease diagnosis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by msshepherdess, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. msshepherdess

    msshepherdess Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2007
    Just got the lab results back from the 2 chickens that died a few weeks ago. It was Marek's Disease and I've lost several others from the same symtoms this summer. Do I really need to get rid of all my chickens? I just bought 20 new chicks! They're isolated so far. The vet said I need to get rid of all of them and not have chickens for several years!!! Since the last chicken died we've poured a concrete floor in the chicken coop so it will be easier to disinfect, but they free range during the day.
    Is eating the eggs a problem?
     
  2. hsm5grls

    hsm5grls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    tucson
    Oh thats horrible, I'm so sorry.
     
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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  4. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    Oh, what a nightmare for you. I am so very sorry.
    From the little I know about Marek's, if you did keep your birds you would never, ever be able to expose them to any other poultry, and probably you should stay away from other people's birds as well as other poultry-keepers never visiting your birds. Eeee.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
  5. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good for you for getting them analyzed.

    You're at a tough place. As I see it, no sense euthanizing the chicks you have unless you see a problem. There's no known human risk (according to Damerow). And please take caution when visiting other people's chickens!

    What I'm unclear about is the vaccinating and if you could vaccinate the chicks now.

    Please keep us posted and best of luck to you
     
  6. snugglepup

    snugglepup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't have to kill all your chickens, but know that you have the disease on your property. You could vaccinate, or what a lot of people with small flocks do is just let the disease run its course. Some of your flock will have a natural resistance that will prevent them from developing tumors. In the long run, your flock will be stronger for it, but you have to be prepared to lose some birds.
     
  7. msshepherdess

    msshepherdess Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, thanks everyone for responding. I just can't quit crying!!! My new chicks still have not been exposed (they are in a separate out building). The only vaccination available seems to be for 1,000 doses. Anybody know anything else about that????
    Where did we get such a thing? I've never brought any other birds in except for the new chicks I buy in the spring from a reputable hatchery.
    I never take my birds anywhere and now I'm even being careful not to wear the same shoes.
    snugglepup and BlueMoon: you've both offered more encourage than all the sites I've visited. Should we stop eating the eggs?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2007
  8. jeaucamom

    jeaucamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2007
    Ophir, CA
    How old were the chickens that died? Maybe you should contact the hatchery and let them know. Maybe they shouldn't be selling chickens from that area/flock etc? Maybe it is just naive of me to think they wouold care, or maybe there would be no way to know where they came from. Either way, good luck with your chicks. Keep us posted about your decision and how it is going.
     
  9. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could call the company that produces the vaccine and ask if it's effective on chicks of the age of yours and what is the dosage for twenty. They should be able to help you with the math.

    I don't know about the eggs.

    How about contacting the local cooperative extension? I don't believe Marek's is on the list of mandatory reportable diseases, but they may have suggestions for you.
     
  10. snugglepup

    snugglepup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, we eat the eggs from our survivors. I can't think why they would be affected. I'm guessing that if your flock has followed the usual course of the disease most of your chickens are going down between 3-5 months? So if they make into laying age, they are usually ok. Marek's is spread by dust and dander from infected chickens, and can hang around in the environment for ever.

    My understanding of the vaccine after asking a lot of questions:

    You CAN give it to chickens of any age, but it will not be as effective if the chicks have already been exposed to the disease. Thats why in big hatcheries they vaccinate the chicks as they take them out of the incubator. I talked to several small breeders that do vaccinate, and if they purchase chicks that are unvaccinated, they go ahead and vaccinate them before putting them with the flock. There is some evidence that vaccination of infected chickens may help reduce the tumor formation, but there aren't any real good studies on that yet. Of course, if your chicken already has tumors, you can't do much to hurt it at that point, so I'd be tempted to try vaccinating.
     

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