Marek's question

Emmasmom

Songster
Apr 14, 2012
94
13
116
Buckeye, AZ
I had to have my three week old chick put down today.
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I originally suspected and the vet agreed that she had two slipped tendons. I agreed to let them do a necroscopy. Afterwards I started thinking about her eyes - they were a greyish color and she seemed to have a hard time seeing food unless it was large or dropped in front of her so it created a vibration. She couldn't walk - both legs were folded underneath. She had started off with pasty butt. I'm starting to worry that she may have had Marek's but I'm not sure - the necroscopy should tell. However, I have two other chicks inside the house (where she was) and eight adults outside. If Marek's is possible where should I go from here? The other chicks are very healthy. Thanks for the help!
 

HumbleHen207

Songster
6 Years
Apr 16, 2013
275
27
103
Maine
I myself am no expert on the disease, but according to The Chicken Health Handbook, the symptom of greyish eyes is a sign of Marek's. This is some of the information I uncovered in the book.
Symptoms include but are not limited too:
Growing thin while eating well
Stilted gait or lack of coordination
Pale skin
Wing or leg paralysis
Sudden death of apparently healthy birds
In breeds with reddish bay eyes:
cloudy grayish eyes
dilated eyes
irregular pupil
distorted or blinded eye.
There is no cure, some birds do recover but they remain carriers.

Sorry to hear about you chick, hope this helps!
 

Emmasmom

Songster
Apr 14, 2012
94
13
116
Buckeye, AZ
Thank you for the reply. I guess I mainly want to know if I have to put down the other chicks that seem healthy. It was devastating enough to lose this one, I'd hate to lose the others. If I keep them separated from the flock long enough, can they be integrated?
 

HumbleHen207

Songster
6 Years
Apr 16, 2013
275
27
103
Maine
For now I would just keep an eye on them. I wouldn't worry about putting down any more chicks unless they begin to show signs of the disease as well. I would keep them seperate for now and wait for the results of the necropsy to return. If other's begin to show signs the best thing you can do is cull them. I have little information other than that but here is an excellent link: http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
The best thing you can do is not jump to conclusions. Just keep an eye on them for now.

Hope all works out!
 

Emmasmom

Songster
Apr 14, 2012
94
13
116
Buckeye, AZ
I definitely won't put them down without the necroscopy results, I just meant that if the results come back positive but the chicks showed no symptoms do they still have to be put down? Can they carry without ever having symptoms? But I certainly don't want to get ahead of myself - I think it's more of a "prepare myself for the worst " situation. Thank you for the well-wishes and the link! The vet's office sent me a little memorial for her - it was so sweet.

 

HumbleHen207

Songster
6 Years
Apr 16, 2013
275
27
103
Maine
The incubation period for Mareks is two weeks, if they show no sign of the disease (even if the necropsy comes back positive) by then they are probably fine. I would recommend looking into Mareks vaccinations for future chicks, ever since we started having ours vaccinated the mortality rates in young birds have decreased by up to 100%. My books says that you can safely assume your flock is infected, even if your chickens don't show any symptoms. Despite this still wouldn't put them down, I know we have had it in the past, in both turkeys and chickens, yet we have chickens going on ten. Unless you wind up with a severe, visible out-break you should be alright. I love the memorial for her; reminds me of the one received from the vet when our dog passed on.
 

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