Marek's? Need help!

Seaecho

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Oct 12, 2017
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High Desert, S. CA.
We lost a pullet to what I think was Marek's last October, so it's been ten months. My four remaining chickens have been fine. The one in question is a year and a half old now, and I noticed symptoms that look neurological to me this morning. Not limping like the one we lost did initially, but unsteady in gait and occasionally stumbles. She's eating and drinking fine. I am scared to death that it's Marek's again.

I have Vitamin E, B complex and Nutri-Drench. Which should I start her with, in case it's a vitamin deficiency? She's a frizzle bantam, and weighs about 2.5 lbs. I'm not sure which, and how much to give her of the vitamins I have. I read I should be giving her about 1/4 of a B complex pill. Is that too much for her size?

I can't even take her to a vet. We are in a quarantine area for Newcastle's, and no chickens can be moved. Please help!
 

Eggcessive

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NutriDrench has most everything she would need vitamin and mineral-wise. Dosage is 1 ml for every 3 pounds of weight daily. You can give extra E 400 IU daily if you feel she is having neurological issues. I would switch to the B complex 1/4 tablet daily, since PND may cause runny droppings if used more than a few days. It is always best to get a necropsy by the state poultry on a chicken that dies to look for a cause of death. In CA, UC Davis will do them for $20 at least recently, and if you need to ship the body rather than drive it there, they can send a shipping label for overnight shipping. Here is a link for contact info:
https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/animal_health/pdfs/CAHFS_NecropsyFactsheet.pdf

Keep her near food and water. Offer her some favorite foods with mostly chicken feed as the basis. Hopefully your chicken does not have Mareks, but if you lose her, refrigerate her body-don’t freeze it, and contact the state vet.
 

Seaecho

Songster
Oct 12, 2017
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High Desert, S. CA.
Thank you so much for your input, Eggcessive! She is worse today. Stumbling around and falling, and not balanced enough to eat or drink on her own. Didn't even try. I held her and fed her scrambled eggs with cottage cheese and canned cat food. She did eat, but now her head will occasionally go backward, and the underside of her neck is sticking out. Looks like she may be beginning to twist her neck. Could it be wry neck? I couldn't get her to drink any water, which worries me. It's been in the nineties here. I have NutriDrench already, but I don't see Vitamin B listed on the bottle. So you are saying I should give NutriDrench plus vitamin E tomorrow, and also 1/4 tablet of B complex? I don't want to overdose her on anything! I will bring her in the house tomorrow if she's not drinking so I can force some water every hour or so, slowly so she won't aspirate.
 

Seaecho

Songster
Oct 12, 2017
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High Desert, S. CA.
Update: I am following your instructions to the letter, Eggcessive. She is still very wobbly and stumbling most of the time, but can get around. Takes a while to get her to eat. So far, it's scrambled eggs, grapes, tuna and cat food. She won't eat anything with chicken feed in it. But at least she's eating. I get about 6 mls of water in her via syringe twice daily, but she won't drink on her own. Her head has not twisted much at all as of last night. She is bright and alert, but does get tired out quickly. I have her in the parrot room, which stays about 80 degrees. She seems comfortable. I'm hoping for the best. Thank you again! You have no idea how much you have helped!
 

Eggcessive

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I am glad that she is eating some. I treated a sick hen back a few months ago, who could not walk to food. She would not drink a drop of water for about 5 weeks, but I was able to drip water on all of her food, enough that she survived. She finally was able to balance again, and now walks all over the yard daily. The vitamin E and B complex will help to treat if she has a deficiency, but if her symptoms are due to Mareks, time will tell. I thought my sick hen might ave had Mareks, but it must have been something else, since she is doing well. Hopefully your hen will get better as well.
 

Seaecho

Songster
Oct 12, 2017
662
673
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High Desert, S. CA.
Eggcessive, she is (I think) showing signs of pain. She will try to go over backward, which is the same thing our other Marek's baby did. Sometimes her head will go forward as if she can't keep it up. When she cried when I lifted her, I realized she needed more than aspirin. I web-searched for hours one night and found out chickens can be given Rimadryl! As it happens, our old, arthritis German Shepherd is on it. I read 4 mg for a bantam, but I don't remember if it said twice a day, or once a day. I don't want to overdose her! She seemed so much better after her first dose, which we gave tonight. "Talking" a lot to me, and not falling asleep at all. I am thrilled that I can finally do something for her. But do you know if the 4mg is to be once daily, or twice daily? Thanks so much!
 

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