Marek's disease

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CTGirls, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. CTGirls

    CTGirls Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2012
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    I have 1 girl who is very sick, and 2 who are not. All were supposed to be vaccinated when I got them as day old chicks, they are now around 24 weeks. I think it might be Markes but not sure. If so can they others get it if they were vaccinated?
    I think I keep a pretty clean coop and run,what else can I do to try and keep the others from getting sick? If she does live and she go back with the others?
     
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi CTGirls,

    So sorry that you have a sick hen. Marek's is awful and a heartbreaking thing to hit anyone's flock.

    There is a link at the bottom to a page that has a lot of Marek's references. From research I have done, it seems that some chickens will be resistant to Marek's. (this info largely from Gail Damerow who has written several books on chickens and has a LOT of expertise).

    Definitely isolate your sick hen, and tend to your others before that one--- try to keep as much separation as possible including clothing, pails, scoops, feed cups etc. Lessen stress as much as possible on everyone, feed them well. (Basically everything that you are doing, I know)....

    I had a pullet die of Marek's but the two chickens in the same cage with her did not. There is some research that the B21 gene has some resistance to the disease. Chickens with Leghorn in their background may be more resistant. Chickens with Rhode Island Red in their background may be more susceptible.

    Vaccination sometimes doesn't protect a chicken from Marek's, although there is a 90% success rate with the vaccine, 10% of vaccinated chicks may contract the disease. The only way to confirm Marek's is a Necropsy. There is also some info on that toward the bottom of the page in this link.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mareks-disease-fact-site

    I'm very sorry if this is Marek's. If you learn some things that may help other BYC members, please click the edit button and add it to the Marek's facts page. Thank you, and good luck with your hen.

    ETA one symptom that sometimes goes unnoticed is that the chicken with Marek's seems to not be growing as rapidly as counter parts and not gaining weight as much/fast.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  3. CTGirls

    CTGirls Out Of The Brooder

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    The sad news is she died :(
    ChicKat, Thank you for your reply, great info. I am brand new at this, these are my first chickens so I am learning as I go I guess. I like to think I take great care of them, my husband says that Robin Leach will be here any day now.
    That last part is very interesting! I ordered Buff Orpington and Easter Eggers from the local farm supply. This one was normal size at first but never seemed to gain wait or grow with the others, I thought they gave me a Bantam Easter Egger by mistake.
    I'm glad to have BYC.com
     
  4. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    I am so sorry for your loss. One place I read a quote by a agricultural university professor and he said...'there are two kinds of flocks in America, those that have had Marek's and those that will get Marek's'. It is just a ubiquitous thing that is going to hit chicken(s) and sadly some of them will die because of it.

    It is not a matter of not doing good chicken management. It sounds like your chickens are getting the best of care. It is a chickens-in-nature thing. Some of them will die on us, and break our hearts. Maybe that is one of the reasons that chickens are so prolific in making more babies.

    You will live through this and even the worst of chicken-related problems.

    If it was Marek's there is just about a case of absolutely nothing that you can/could do. Just be in comfort that she isn't suffering. hugs.
     
  5. lcatty

    lcatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Las Cruces, NM
    [​IMG]
    Here is a photo of a hen I thought had Marek's but I had a blood test done and she did NOT. This gal never got any better so I ended up putting her down. I believe what she had was curly-toe paralysis. Another hen came down with the same symptoms and I gave her infant vitamins in her water from the very first and she got better! I had read an article about it on the web. It is a B-12 deficiency that causes nerve damage. You have to nip it in the bud early on, though. I gave Poly-vi-sol (without added iron), about a dropper-full- or maybe one and a half droppers- per gallon of water. These are liquid infant vitamins you can purchase at the drug store.

    If this happens again get a blood test from vet to make sure what you are dealing with. I have heard numerous diseases have similar symptoms to Marek's disease. In the interim, it cannot hurt to give your other chickens vitamins in their water. I have been doing it ever since with all my young ones (under a year old) and no more chickens with paralysis.

    I am so sorry you lost your chicken. I cried for days over Sandy, above. She was so pretty. I wish had known about the vitamin issue in time to help her. A lot of this IS a learning process, though.

    Take care!
     
  6. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    So interesting. Could you supply specifics on the blood test? Maybe specific name and source for getting the test done. Also, what age was your pullet at the time, do you recall? Thanks.

    ETA - in the Gail Damerow Chicken Health Handbook p.31, and p.33 It says Curled Toe Paralysis is a B2 (riboflavin) deficiency...green grass as a source of riboflavin...

    The book goes on to say that it presents in chicks 10-14 days old, death occurs at 3-weeks. The rations fed to the hen seem to be the cause of the deficiency. If your chick was past 3-weeks old then it may not have been curled toe paralysis. JMO.

    Sorry that you lost a pet. Thank you for posting, but It could still have been Marek's if your pullet was past the 3-weeks mark. .
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  7. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My best advice for you is to put your hen in a plastic bag. Stick her in the fridge. Monday morning, find someone to do a necropsy for you. Call your local government extension agent to find out labs in your state that do chicken necropsies.

    ChicKat...I asked the for the same exact information on another post this morning. It would be great if there is a blood test available.

    Icatty...if another comes down with the same symptoms, I would look into have a necropsy performed. Blood tests aren't 100% reliable for any disease. The necropsy would still be the best and most reliable way to find out what is causing the problems in your chickens. I would be very concerned if I had two chickens showing Marek's like symptoms. Negative blood tests or, not. The paralysis that is exhibited in Marek's chickens can be transient. Meaning, it can go into remission and come back again later...or, never come back and the chicken dies later from the Marek's tumors.

    The vaccine is only 90% effective IF the vaccine they were given covers the type of Marek's that your bird has. There are 3 strains of Marek's. Most hatcheries do not vaccinate for all 3...it just isn't cost effective. For example: If your birds have type 1 Marek's and the vaccine they were given only covers type 2 and 3 then your vaccine is worthless in your flock. The best you can do is make sure that the hatchery you purchase from vaccinates for all 3 viral strains. That will give you the best possible coverage. Then, if you have Marek's on your property, you need to isolate those chicks for up to 6 months for their immunity to be its best from the vaccine.
     
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  8. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi leadwolf1

    great minds think alike. ;O)

    I did find this google, which may have been the test
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21793449

    At the end it says there a lot of false negatives, which would reinforce your theory that blood samples don't always find the answers. How great that lcatty found a vet who would even take a sample from a chicken and get a blood test processed....but I wonder the percentage of false negatives. That would almost be worse than not knowing.

    The battle goes on against MD in the chicken world. But if a test could be done.... I guess a positive would conclude proir to necropsy if it was MD.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  9. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Okay back with another lead that may have been the blood test:

    " There are certain 'B factors' contained in the blood of some chickens that make them resistant to Mareks. If you have access to a lab for 'B type' blood testing, 'B factor' birds are desirable for breeding for a 'Mareks-free' flock."

    So perhaps the blood test was for B-factor.

    It's from this article
    http://www.shagbarkbantams.com/page9.htm

    this article link is also posted in the Marek's Fact page https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mareks-disease-fact-site
     
  10. lcatty

    lcatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Las Cruces, NM
    No, blood test was specifically for Marek's disease and the blood came back negative. Vet's new associate thought it might be Marek's. Sandy (shown in the photo) was one month old when she began to show symptoms and almost two months old when I put her down. I did not have a necropsy done on Sandy.

    This other hen was about one month when she showed symptoms and when I gave her vitamins and meat she was better in about a week, 10 days. Running around like everyone else- no problems. She is now almost 6 months old.


    I don't know if it matters, but both of the aforementioned were Swedish Flower Hens.
     

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