Marek's? Should I cull? I'd like to resolve tonight if possible...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by LoriC, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. LoriC

    LoriC Out Of The Brooder

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    Let me preface by saying I'm a bit of a newbie with this. I just started raising chickens last summer....

    I noticed tonight that one of my chicken's had two different colored eyes. This chicken is also looking quite ratty, but I attributed that to moulting. Upon googling I found that Marek's can be the cause of the eye problem. When I caught her and looked at her more closely, I do see that her pupil is smaller and cloudy, and the eye is definitely a different color. She's got a lot of new feathers coming in, but she is just covered in dander.

    Earlier this summer I had a chick that developed a problem with it's leg. He could not walk on it, but it didn't seem to be in any pain. I actually took it to a vet, and no break was detected. The leg has since gotten better, and that chick is thriving.

    This hen was one of 6 that I got from someone on Craiglist. I never actually met the person - they put the chickens in boxes and put them in the bed of my truck at the feedstore where I had agreed to meet her. I thought that was kind of odd, and got very worried when I got the chickens home and saw how ratty they were. I texted her and she claimed they were not ill, but just henpecked. They improved a lot over last summer, and I haven't had any problems.

    Putting the info together, I'm close to convinced that the hen has Marek's. However, before I cull her, I would like a second opinion before I put her down. Here are some pictures of her.





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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  2. LoriC

    LoriC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2012
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    Some additional photos:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dander is normal,even the amount you show in picture. If she is eating/drinking then i see no reason to cull her. Your other chickens have no symptoms of anything,so why cull her.
     
  4. LoriC

    LoriC Out Of The Brooder

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    I've seen various threads (here and elsewhere) and Extension websites that indicate that the disease is highly contagious, and recommend culling. However, I'd be kidding myself to think that my other birds have not already been exposed, so I'm not sure that culling her would make any difference. I have her isolated in a dog carrier tonight. I may watch her for a couple of days and see if she has any other symptoms. She did poop in the carrier, and it was very soft/runny, but I'm thinking that may be a result of the stress of being caught and handled.

    I do not like the idea of culling a bird (I've never had to do it before), but I want to do what is best for the overall health of my flock.
     
  5. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Completely understand. Keep an eye on her,watch for any other symptoms. You are correct they would all have already been exposed if it is Marek's. I agree runny poop is probably from stress.
     
  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Keep her in quarantine for now, but IF it is Marek's and if she has already been in your yard, or coop, or near the other birds.. it's too late. They are all exposed, so there'd be no reason to cull her.

    Her dander is nothing to be concerned about-- all chickens have dander, and a lot more when they are growing in new feathers. Marek's does not cause dander-- it only spreads via dander. Your girl has a lot of pinfeathers coming in and the keratin sheath on those breaks off and makes a TON of dander. My own girls are molting right now and they shed a lot of the flaky white stuff (feather sheaths).
    Her feather follicles look healthy to me in that last photo-- I am not a vet, but you would generally see a cutaneous buildup around each follicle... something like this: http://www.poultrymed.com/Poultry/UploadFiles/PGallery/5160927722.jpg

    It is hard to tell in the second photo... is her pupil itself misshapen? It might look as if it were "melting" or otherwise a strange shape. Sometimes they look like a blob shape, sometimes they look like a "keyhole".

    How old is she, do you have any idea? Does she have any other symptoms or weirdness about her, other than the strange eyes and the fact that she's molting?
     
  7. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    By the way, follow your instincts! That situation is a giant, giant red flag to me. You may be safe (thank heavens) but if you are ever in this situation again, follow your gut. Who knows how they were kept, if they are well, or any history on the birds! There are enough fatal, contagious chicken diseases out there that even just reading about your situation put my hair on end, haha! I truly do hope that the hens are totally well and were just pecked.
     
  8. LoriC

    LoriC Out Of The Brooder

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    I kept her in a dog kennel overnight, then gave her some food and water this morning and left her in the kennel. I came home at lunch and checked on her, and there were normal poo's in the kennel. I decided to go ahead and let her out. I figured the horse was already out of the barn, so there was no real good reason to keep her in there.

    In regards to her eye, it's definitely a different color, and the pupil is smaller and cloudy. I don't think it's actually misshapen.

    I have no clue how old she is, and I'm not even sure if she is still laying (or if she ever has). I'm wishing I had set something up over the summer to keep the girls separated so I could figure out who is laying and who is not.

    Other than being rather unattractive, I didn't see anything else that looked really wrong with her. I handled her quite a bit last night, and I can see she is covered with pinfeathers. From a distance she just looks moth eaten - lol!

    Needless to say, I will *not* be getting any more chickens off Craigslist. They definitely look 1000% better than they did when I got them, but I want to start being a bit more selective moving forward. :)

    Thank you for your reply. I'm glad I didn't cull her. I panicked when I started reading about the disease. Once I figured out that it would not solve anything to cull her, and that she's not suffering (at least than I can tell - she's definitely energetic and noisy!), I calmed down. I'm glad I took a bit of time to find out more first :)
     
  9. roostorf

    roostorf Out Of The Brooder

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    I just found out I have marek's as well. Sent a 36 wk old ISA brown that died in my flock to the lab at uc Davis and they quickly got back to me with the results. I got really scared at first because I always thought mareks was one of the worst diseases you could get, but after talking to the vet and the technician I started to feel much better.

    The bad news is that once a bird develops tumors it is 100% lethal, I had read that before and took that to mean that 100% of my flock was gonna die, but the good news is most birds don't develop tumors and even the ones experiencing paralysis usually only die from starvation/dehydration or getting trampled so the technician advised to put any affected birds in a cage with food and water and they will frequently recover, but will always be carriers.

    This sounded bad too, I didn't want my birds to always be carriers of some untreatable disease. So I did some more research and found out that mareks is so common that almost every chicken on the planet has been exposed to it or will be sooner or later, so almost every adult chicken is a possible "carrier". Most chickens develop a natural resistance to mareks by sexual maturity, so adult chickens are generally not affected.


    So it turns out mareks isn't as bad as I thought, it's everywhere and if your chicks are vaccinated you don't have anything to worry about, and if they aren't you only have to worry about them getting it until about 5 months. My birds are getting it at 9 months but that is because it has a long incubation period and my birds were integrated with the adult birds too early so they probably caught the disease at 4-5 months and are just now exhibiting symptoms.

    Also roosters are less susceptible.
    All my favorite chickens are roosters well over a year old so I'm hoping they are past the point of being susceptiblity.

    THere is a lot of helpful information, however I have read a lot of conflicting data about culling and vaccinating. Some people say cull and or never breed affected, so say the affected will breed more resistant offspring. I have also read that the vaccine is useless in birds over a few days old, a few weeks old, and some study's say it works on adult birds too and that giving the vaccine to birds already infected and exhibiting symptoms may actually help it produce antibodies and recover. Like the rest of poultry keeping there is a mix of information, all of it good but its best to sift though all of it and use your best judgment on the best approach for your individual flock.



    http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    http://www.shagbarkbantams.com/page9.htm
    http://www.examiner.com/article/how...mareks-disease-michigans-small-chicken-flocks
    http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/avian/mareks2.pdf
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/90/mareks-disease
    http://www.nadis.org.uk/bulletins/d...rol-of-marek's-disease-and-other-tumours.aspx
     
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  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I also have Marek's in my very large flock and lose 6-10 every year to it, 1/2 hens, 1/2 roosters, most under six months old.

    -Kathy
     

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