Marek's Disease??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BinaryChicken, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. BinaryChicken

    BinaryChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay. So two days ago a 7 month old ameraucana/silkie cross rooster that I hatched and raised, started to look very droopy and was just sitting hunched around in the house and was not looking well. In the evening when I came to close the house up for the night, he was just lying on his side not moving, but he was still alive because he was looking at me and the other birds. So I moved him into a shed so that he would not get pecked at if he died, and when I put him down all he could do was just lie on the ground, he could not move his legs or anything. When I came back from the Christmas eve service I attended, he was dead. There had been no previous signs of him being unhealthy, but he was getting slightly bullied by another rooster who was in the same coop. I did notice that his head feathers seemed to have disapeared over the day, but that may have just been from the other birds pecking him.
    I have been doing some research and it sounds like the main symptoms of Marek's are paralysis, swollen feather follicles and droopiness.
    Are there any other diseases that can cause these same symptoms?
    The other birds in the same coop as him were vaccinated against Marek's at the hatchery, so I am not too concerned about them getting it, but the rooster that died was a bird that I raised and hatched myself, and did not vaccinate, so I am worried about the other large flock of chickens I have on the other side of the lawn.
    How is it contracted to other birds?
    And are there any things I can do to help prevent the disease, apart from vaccinating the chickens?

  2. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    Quote: Marek's can take on many looks. What I refer to as "classic Marek's" is the paralysis form (and what you are asking). It starts very gradual. First few days or week, the bird is unsteady on their feet, like they are drunk, first one leg, then GRADUALLY the other leg. The bird then progresses to losing most use of both legs & cannot stand, then their wings -- all during this time, the bird otherwise seems happy and normal -- they eat, are not droopy, are alert, do not appear to be in pain. Finally, they are paralyzed so much, they cannot reach food or water. You have to put them down.

    This is NOT what you describe. You describe a sick bird who does not feel well. The ONLY way to KNOW what it is by sending the bird to the lab once it dies. Once a bird is droopy and showing sickness, it is usually too late for whatever the ailment -- chickens are great at hiding illness and injury until it is too late. Usually, what I think is wrong, when I have sent birds to the lab, it turned out to be something totally different . . . except Marek's as I describe above -- the lab confirmed what I was seeing was "classic Marek's" -- this does not sound like what you have going on . . . but as I started out, Marek's takes on different forms, but only a lab can confirm what it is

    If you choose to send to lab, put the bird in the refrigerator NOT the freezer -- freezing does something to the blood and makes some tests no good . . .

    Marek's is everywhere, cosmopolitan, worldwide. It is carried by dander, dust and the virus is long-lived -- one should assume, all flocks have been exposed. Again, though, what you describe does not seem like the Marek's I have seen in my birds (and had confirmed by a lab).
  3. BinaryChicken

    BinaryChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay, thanks, any more advice anyone??
  4. pwand

    pwand Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 10, 2007
    BC Canada
    Have him sent for a necropsy so you know what your dealing with.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
    1 person likes this.

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