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Mareks: Long-term prognosis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by centrarchid, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have had a small percentage of my birds come down with what I suspect is Mareks disease. All but one has been put down. Remaining bird is being maintained since it still retains some value as a display bird. A coop will be set up the physically challenged since bird in question is unable to fly and has reduced walking ability. Free-range keeping is no longer an option since he would even be able to evade an oppossum during daylight.

    Bird (cockerel April 2011 hatch) in question is a first generation hybrid between a red jungle fowl hen and an American game rooster. I am already babying him nutritionally and he has shown modest improvement in motor skills since worst. He has been affected visibly for about a month.

    Before infection.
    [​IMG]


    Present showing reduced walking / standing ability.
    [​IMG]

    Anyone ever keep a Mareks infected bird long term?
     
  2. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an OEGB pullet that I have had in a 'nursing home' since early October and an OEGB cockeral that I have had in a 'nursing home' since before Thanksgiving. I have been hand feeding a vitamin enriched diet of poly vi sol, vitamin E, flock raiser, yogurt and probiotics twice a day. I am also using Hypericum 30 twice a day since early November. Although there is some improvement in the pullet, she still can not stand or eat on her own. She doesn't appear to be in any pain and she has shown some regrowth of her muscles, the improvement is slow and the work is hard and tedious. The cockeral has continued to go downhill and is almost ready to join the pullet in the intensive care unit. Both these birds were immunized and I was hoping if I could get them through the paralysis stage that I could save them. They are our favorites and I will continue to fight until it becomes hopeless. These are the only two that I have managed to keep alive for more than a few weeks. I attribute that to the fact that they were vaccinated.

    Good luck with your little boy....
     
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I let mine live until it was more humane to let them go. Sorry this is happening to you.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am feeding my cockerel layer pellets with daily offerings of BOSS and scratch grains. A mixture of chopped leafy greens (fresh spinach), chunked smelt, parrot chick feed and olive oil is also applied to satiation every other day. Logic is the mixture stimulates appettite. He is in very good muscle tone despite duration of condition.

    Best indications of partial recovery is he again has ability to walk and the restoration of his normal voice. Just tonight I handled him and he is on verge of being able to perch on my fingers. His flapping is not normal yet but wings are becoming increasingly synchronized when he flaps them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Just watch his weight-even tho he eats.
     
  6. babsbag

    babsbag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't believe they will ever be cured. I have had this in my flock and it is very sad to watch. The bird my "recover" and go into remission, but eventually they will succumb, if it is indeed Marek's. The disease forms tumors in the body and affects the nerves. Infected birds are always carriers, and vaccinated birds can have the disease and have no symptoms.

    Wish I could say something positive about the disease, but in my experience, that would only be a lie.

    What I can say is that I vaccinated my birds, young and old, and it has only reared its ugly head a few times in the last 2 years.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Most of my birds do not become symptomatic and vaccination does not work with all forms of the Marek's virus. What I am doing is simply using birds that are not symptomatic as broodstock. It may never be fully realized by my selection efforts but at least a level of resistance can be achieved. It is my opinion that this the most sustainable option. Vaccines must be outsourced and the virus can defeat a given vaccine; both are characteristics of something that is not sustainable.

    I will be satisfied if all my birds are carriers but losses are not incurred. Many viruses start out virulent when entering a new population but over time the virus and host co-evolve to produce a relationship that is not lethal to the host.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  8. babsbag

    babsbag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that raising chicks from non-vaccinated resistant hens is an awesome idea and one of the best things you could do. At the time I had my first sick ones I ran scared and vaccinated everyone so now I don't know if my flock has it or not, and I going to suspect that it does. I don't sell chicks so I am not passing it on, but it would be nice to know how infected my flock really is.

    I hope your program works...my hat off to you for trying.
     
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Gawd!!! You all have some good solid up to date information!

    My silkies got it first from the only silkie I bought and didn't hatch myself. My roo died at 2 yrs old with classic paralysis, eye, wasting, symptoms. My non bird vet called it "encephalitis". I didn't know any better.

    My silkies went on to have 7 more silkies + the exposed hen and roo. The 7 offspring were resistant. Never a problem. (this added to not knowing any better). Then my silkies hatched some bought Polish eggs, and they all died from Marek's , one by one, starting at 8 weeks.

    I guess them and the rest of my flock (25 LF) are resistant and will produce resistant offspring. But they will still carry the virus ?
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I do not know if the exposed but otherwise assymptomatic birds will be long-term carriers although literature I have suggest they will be. I am also not confident that true resistance will be case in all assymptomatic birds since environmental stress can cause birds to come down with condition. My outbreaks have been very consistently occuring during fall so weather changes may be important. Another possibility is another reservoir for disease operates in my situation, not just my flock. Outbreaks also coincide with fall migration of songbirds that by free-ranging flocks do come into contact with. Some of those birds are dying on my property each year and the chickens will at least play with bodies if not consume them. When I discussed this possibility with one of our state poultry health experts he discounted that possibility out of hand but his thought processes seemed restricted to commericial producers operating intensive indoor systems. The contact between migrant songbirds and chickens did not seem to register. When outbreak is repeated next season I will take dead / sick songbird and symptomatic chicken samples for analysis. According to how they charge, the number of birds does not matter and rules say nothing about species either so should all be done for same price. I may need to get permit for songbirds so they can be legally handled.
     

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