? Marek's Disease

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sfsutton, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. sfsutton

    sfsutton New Egg

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    On July 22nd I noticed 1 of my 3 hens, 4 1/2 months old did not get out of it's nest when I came outside to water and feed. Very unusual! I got it out of it's nesting box and assessed it to be very lethargic and "hurt". I stayed awake and held the chicken giving it sugar water and a lil' olive oil for 3 hours. When I placed it back in the coop it was more alert but I figured it would be dead by morning. The next morning I had to go out of town. Before I left looked at chick again. It was alive! But not much better than after I nursed it the night before. My husband informed me that that evening it was miraculously out of it's "deathnest" and walking, eating, and socializing! You can only imagine how excited I was b/c I honestly considered the night before, while nursing it, that maybe I could figure out a way for my daughter to fly home from horse camp in KY b/c I needed to be here for my sick/hurt chicken! Typical irrational thought of an animal lover!!!

    The following afternoon my husband called and informed us that she'd taken a turn for the worse. I arrived home the next afternoon. This would now be 3 full days after I first noticed her sick. She was on death's step! I got her out the coop, read 50 different things you could give a sick chicken, tried to give her as many as I could find in my house and got her out of an almost unconscious state. I placed her inside in the bathroom and I slept w her, almost cause for a divorce the following morning when my husband found me and Dixie Chick asleep in the downstairs bathroom with blankets and pillows!!! Unfortunately, if I have a sick animal it takes precedence!!

    That evening I notice it was not gripping well w it's left leg. Figured it must have broke it. When I examined it, noticed no swelling or pain when I touched it. I also could not see any visible break. At this stage it would not use the leg and kept it tucked up inside her.

    Talked to my dog/cat vet (who does have chickens) and when I told him about the left leg not gripping he suggested Marek's disease. I read online and she seemed to be a classic case at that time.

    Today is day 6 that I noticed something "wrong". Her left leg does/did seem to be paralyzed. But, as of today she has stood, hopped, and even put a lil pressure on her bad leg. She is still in my downstairs bathroom in the A/C and my husband hasn't left me yet!

    Presently she'll pick the bad leg up and stretch and move it around. For the first time tonight she placed a tiny bit of weight on the leg and took 5 half a** steps!!! I was so excited!

    She now eats and drinks on her own. Just difficulty moving. A lil' bit ago I did go check on her during her short stay (I hope) at my 5 star accommodations to find her on top
    of her nesting box. WOW!!!!

    Have I nursed her back, and shouldn't have? Does she have Marek's? Is it poisoning? Yard man did come 36 hrs before I noticed she was sick to fertilize my grass. I am so confused from everything I have read and researched. Can't find a vet in my town that sees chickens.

    She is alert, hopping on 1 leg and now placing a lil pressure on bad leg if she's able to place it on floor. She stands on her own. She is plucking her feathers. She scratched her face w her bad leg tonight. These are all great gains as she would do nothing other than lay even yesterday am. Just went to the b/room and she was on top of the wooden box again. Still searching for where to put bad leg, however, is still placing it on the ground and barely using it. But!!!! Big improvement from when I placed her in ICU in my downstairs b/room.

    Please ask ?'s if needed.
     
  2. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like some injury? I don't know, maybe they get little blood clots too. I'm afraid to suggest anything. If it were me, I might try a little baby aspirin. You are obviously doing a really good job caring for this little girl so you'll have to be the one to decide. I suppose they could get broken blood vessels too in which case aspirin wouldn't be good. You can always feed her little bits of fruit. She must be loving the attention.
     
  3. sfsutton

    sfsutton New Egg

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Also forgot to mention, comb is laying down but good color. She has not laid an egg since sick. She still talks good. If Mareks comes from the dirt and I have never had chickens, is it possible for her to get it. Got hens at 3-4 days old from nice quality feed store. She did have thick tar-like diarrhea for one day. Next day had big poo most shaped like an egg incased in white but and thick. Now poo is normal.
     
  4. Spring Chook

    Spring Chook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First thing I would do is check with feed store where you got her. DO they vaccinate for Mareks? Many hatcheries do as a matter of course, and though occasionally the vaccine doesnt work or is administered badly, generally your hen will be protected. It would be a huge relief to rule out Mareks. Unfortunatley, it can come from anywhere so just because you havent had chickens before doesnt mean your lady hasnt got Mareks. The sad think about Mareks is that older birds seem to last a long time with it, and even appear to recover after a few days, before getting ill again.

    On a positive note, if her comb looks good that is hopeful. A seriously ill chicken will usually go grey round the wattles and comb. What do her eyes look like? are they clear and bright?

    Try giving her some yogurt or scramble egg. If the wings and other leg remain ok, I'd suggest its an injury rather than Mareks

    Keep her separated just in case

    Good luck

    Spring Chook
    www.beloveforall.com
    check out these clothes!
     
  5. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Chickens get alot of their diseases and illnesses from Wild Birds. There isn't anything you can do about the Wild Birds. There are several vaccinations that you can give your chickens to help prevent the diseases.

    Some of the Vaccines are pretty costly. You have to discard any vaccine that is left. Some vaccinate and some do not. Some just prefer to cull any sick birds.

    From what I have read, it seems that with Mareks one leg is in front and the other is facing backwards.

    She may have injured it in some way. I would give her plenty of protein; eggs, peanut butter, etc. and vit/electrolytes in her water.
     
  6. sfsutton

    sfsutton New Egg

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    I have checked with where I purchased her. She did not receive the Marek's vaccine. Her eyes are bright and clear. However, she has one small black dot on the edge of her comb. It is slightly raised. No other marks on face, beak, comb or waddle. Her waddle and comb are nice and red but flopped to the side. Any suggestions on how long I should keep caring for her before I know what I'm dealing with? If she was with the other chickens for first 4 days she was sick are they doomed? Today she is putting more pressure on the leg and taking small steps frequently. She is eating and drinking on her own. She is clucking and talking. She has control of both wings and right leg. Any suggestions?
     
  7. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    As soon as you see a sick bird you should get them out ASAP. The others are always at risk when there is a sick bird.

    A raised black spot? Could be fowl pox or a peck mark. The only way you are going to know for sure what is wrong is to have a necropsy done, but that means the bird would be killed.

    Not trying to sound cold hearted but, if I were to get a sick bird, I would cull immediately. It just isn't worth risking the others.

    If you have no intentions of selling hatching eggs or offspring, then you can try and save her and hope for the best. But, if she has something and is a carrier, then all future birds will be exposed. Some diseases are also transferred through hatching eggs.
     
  8. sfsutton

    sfsutton New Egg

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    Jul 28, 2010
    All hens and have no plans for hatchlings. Each one of my children received one as an early Easter present. Only plan is to eat fresh eggs and watch the happiest lil faces when the children find an egg in the coop. I don't know what it means to cull a chick. Kill it I'm sure. How does one cull a chicken when it has turned into a pet? How do you cull a chicken? What is a necropsy and where do you take dead chicken to have it done? Is it costly? I don't understand the facing of the legs thing regarding Marek's disease. Both her legs face forward. I live in Macon, GA if anyone knows where it can go.
     
  9. australorpchick

    australorpchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This sounds similar to what happened to my Tuck-Tuck, a 6 month old turken. She started limping and since the chickens have to hop in and out of the coop, I decided to take her home to heal. Then she got fowl pox, so I treated that. She had some open sores, so I treated that. She got wry neck and her ability to walk continued to deteriorate, but she could move all her limbs. She was also losing weight. We brought her in, set her up in the pillowed cat bed, handfed her, rolled her over several times a day to prevent sores, bathed her daily and did what I called Chicken PT to try to strengthen her legs. After 2 months, she wasn't getting better and her life consisted of sleeping, laying on her sides and eating. I took her to the vet and had her put down. The vet was pretty sure she had some form of cancer.

    I sure hope you don't have to go through anything like this. Make sure you separate her from the rest of the flock, just in case it is something contagious.
     
  10. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Culling can mean two different things. To cull is to give away (of course only if they are healthy) or cull is to kill (if they are sick or your processing them). I have an axe, so that is probably what I would use.

    But, if they are only for pets and eating eggs, then I would just keep her inside and see how she does.
     

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