Marek's help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cluckey, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. cluckey

    cluckey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Back around Christmas one of my Weslummer chickens started getting the "curled toe paralysis". I took her to the vet, we tried Vitamin B complex shots, put her on chick feed and she never regained her reflexes and use of her leg. We ended up putting her down. The vet was 50/50 on giving her a diagnosis of Mareks. The only symptom she had was the curling of the toes. Now, 2 1/2 months later...my other Weslummer chicken has slight curling of her toes. I pulled her inside in isolation, put a home made splint on her and started her on chick feed. Talked to the vet and she is going to give me anti-inflammatory meds to try for a week. Again, no other symptoms of Mareks, she's eating, drinking and seems fine other than her toes are starting to cur under on one foot. Does anyone have any experience with this!! I am in Desperate need of help please!! I dont know how long to wait on this before we cull her, i dont know if i should be expecting this with the rest of the flock!! Please any help would be appreciated! I posted a picture of the first chicken so you can see what i'm talking about.[​IMG]
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    With a riboflavin deficiency, the sooner the vitamin B2 is started, the better the chance to help the curled toes. If it is Mareks or you suspect it, you can get a necropsy done by the state vet or have your vet to draw blood and send it off to Texas A&M for a PCR test (around $30) to test for Mareks.
     
  3. cluckey

    cluckey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I may have to send her in if she ends up dying. Right now her toes are straight and when she stands her foot is flat like it should be, but when she walks she still walks on her toes on that leg. Her croup isnt very big at the end of the day which makes me suspect Mareks over a vitamin deficiency. She still has full reflexes with her toes though, she tries to roost and can, but she gets stressed out and starts panting when she does. I wish Mareks was easier to diagnose and more consistent! Thanks for the info for the necropsy.
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi

    Sorry to hear you had to cull one pullet and now have another showing symptoms.

    I had to cull one pullet in October with Marek's but I have 2 others that are surviving despite paralysis. One lost the use of her leg in Sept but has had no further degeneration and just hops about. It took her several weeks of tripping over herself to learn to hold that foot up out of the way, but once she figured it out her balance and coordination has improved tremendously. She has been living in a brooder with the other pullet with it as she lost confidence within the flock, but just recently she has been wanting to be out and when I come to lock up on a night she is up on the roost with the rest of my flock. My hen house is an old stable and they insisted on roosting on the old hay hecks, so the roost is probably about 5ft 5 off the ground, which tells you how agile she is.
    The other had her first attack in Sept/October, fully recovered after a week or so and then had a second attack in Jan. She is still paralysed but can walk in a fashion but her left leg has a tendency to get left behind so she is very unsteady and she has also developed wry tail to a small extent, perhaps as a result of trying to use it to counter balance. Both look healthy and eat pretty well although I have a tendency to give them a lot more soaked mixed corn than they should have as they eat that more enthusiastically than layers feed and I decided that it was better to ensure that they were eating plenty than to worry about the correct nutrition. I get an egg every 2-3 days from one of them, but I'm not certain which one is laying or if they are taking turns. Both should lay blue/green eggs, so I can't identify the origin from that. and never caught them in the act.
    I've also had 2 cockerels that have shown the leg paralysis and completely recovered months ago.
    I've got 26 other chickens under the age of 1 year that have all been reared together and so far no more have shown symptoms and most of the pullets are now laying.

    Anyway, I really just wanted to say that, if it is Marek's, from my experience the prognosis is not as bad as I expected from my initial reading into the disease and if you are prepared to give the poorly ones a little tlc and patience, culling may not be necessary. Having said that, the one that I did cull had no quality of life and when I opened her up she had two huge tumours and would probably not have survived much longer anyway. I appreciate that I am by no means an expert on this and I am only in my first 6 months of dealing with it, but to lose just one or 2 to it out of 30+ chicks that were reared last year is less than many people lose to coccidiosis and certainly less than the number of chickens I have lost to dog attacks or accidents.


    I really hope my post has given you a little hope and that your second girl will make a good recovery or at least hold her own as my little girls are doing.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
  5. cluckey

    cluckey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This gives me a glimmer of hope! Marek's sounds absolutely awful!! And of course I'm extremely worried about the rest of my chickens! I only have 12, so loosing even one is a big deal to me. I think this little chicken if she can keep weight on will be okay gimping around on her own. I just dont want her starving to death. Thank you for sharing your story! I'd much rather hear about people that have it than reading all the information online.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm please it helped a little. I know how hard it is to see them suffer but I am really pleased I gave this other girl a few more weeks before I made "the difficult decision" as she has definitely made some progress and like yours, she can put her foot down flat when she isn't in too much of a rush, but it also has a tendency to trail behind if she doesn't concentrate.

    I tried treating the her with turmeric and black pepper (believed to be beneficial for tumours) and she ate her food for a couple of weeks with it in, but then started to get sick of it and I was really having to coax her to eat several times a day, even with scrambled eggs and yoghurt mixed in, so I stopped and opted to feed her whatever she most liked. These two current invalids will eat a bit of fermented layers pellets particularly if I hand feed them (they won't eat it dry), but they really do love soaked/fermented mixed corn and they seem to be doing very well on it and a few mealworms and I put them out on the grass whenever we have a fine enough day. I have a little cage that I can leave them in if I'm not about to supervise. Getting a bit of sunshine, fresh air, grass and exercise definitely helps them.
    I do wonder if the higher protein in the layer pellets might "feed" any developing tumours, so perhaps the mixed corn could be beneficial but really I just like to see them eating enthusiastically and going to bed with a full crop.

    One of the other members of this forum is trying an anti viral (herpes) drug (marketed for humans) on her Marek's pullet and others have suggested St John's Wort, but I haven't tried either myself.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  7. cluckey

    cluckey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe I'll try wetting her food. She is outside all day and when i bring her in she doesnt seem very interested in eating. Maybe wetting it will help. I am determined not to loose another one!
     
  8. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Insufficient calcium can cause a type of paralysis and also lead to death. If your layers are not eating layer feed like they should or getting calcium from a different source, that could be your problem. It can mimic Mareks. Food for thought.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  9. cluckey

    cluckey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm thats an interesting thought. They are on layer feed and once a week i'll put oyster shell crumbles out for them too. Maybe I need to put them out more or make it so she eats them. I'll give it a try! Thank you!
     
  10. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even if you are feeding a complete layer feed, it can't hurt to leave oyster shell out 24/7 for your girls. Mine have a bowl of oyster shell in the coop, and one in the garden near the feeding station. I see a couple of them eating from it most days - always the same chickens, so they must need more calcium than the others for some reason. Chickens seem to know when they need something extra - the girls that don't need it don't touch it.
     

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