1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

marek's symptoms and vaccination questions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kreatura5, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. kreatura5

    kreatura5 New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Jun 29, 2013
    I am new and may not be the correct heading for this but I need some help. I have had my first flock for about a year now. It is mixed breeds and they free range 50% of the day. Some are vaccinated and some are not. While waiting for the vaccine to come, a serama hen began showing signs of marek's...the paralyzing kind (neurologic). The vaccine is here now and I have found conflicting advise about vaccinating a bird post symptomatically. I took her to the vet who (i think) officially diagnosed her but was unsure. we put her on an anti inflammatory and a anti biotic.She has been quarantined for about a month now because she was sounding garglely with her respiration. Gargle went away but she cant walk now. I am wondering if i should vaccinate her with hopes or would it make it worse? Any input? Thanks so much!
     
  2. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

    6,076
    16
    263
    Jun 27, 2008
    West Central Ohio
    Personally, I wouldn't give her the vaccine. At this point, it won't do her any good now that she has been exposed and is clinically diagnosed. Since she has it, your flock has now been exposed. Vaccinating your flock only works for day old chicks that have not been exposed to the environment. If you don't mind me asking, which Marek's vaccine are you using?
     
  3. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,818
    218
    218
    Feb 15, 2012
    Central Maine
    Were you planning on just using the vaccine on her or your whole flock? Where she's been quarantined for a month now, and is not able to walk...If you are planning on doing everyone, then I'd say add her as well. The thought behind this is if you know your bird has been exposed and is not vaccinated, or the strain is different than what they were vaccinated for, the vaccinating is supposed to kick start the bird's defences against it. Will it work after a month? I have no idea to be honest.

    Some questions.....how emaciated is she? Is she still eating and drinking on her own? Does she even try to stand and walk any more? Have you tried B Complex vitamins in her water? Even if it's marek's, the mechanics with the vitamins would work pretty much the same as a vitamin deficiency. I would give her 1 human Super B Complex vitamin in 1 gallon of water daily. Just crush it and add it. A good probiotic wouldn't hurt either.

    Not knowing what tests were done at the Vet's, or even the bird's age makes it hard to even know where to begin. A couple of pictures would help as well as some more info, please.
     
  4. kreatura5

    kreatura5 New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Jun 29, 2013
    Thank you for your responses. I was planning on vaccinating everyone but they are about a month old. Is that too old? I was reading that certain breeds are more susceptible. The quarantined hen is older..not sure maybe between 6mo. to year, i inherited her. she eats and drinks normal. i have been giving her B complex daily and probiotics weekly. Do vets do a blood test for marek's? I will try to get some pics tomorrow. I appreciate the input. What a crazy disease this is! its tragic.
     
  5. kreatura5

    kreatura5 New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    Jun 29, 2013
    The vaccine is the FR-6. what do you think? Do different ones target different strains?
     
  6. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    17,686
    494
    431
    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    If one chicken were symptomatic of Marek's , it's pointless to vaccinate. Vaccinating is about giving a "safe" exposure to build antibodies in the blood prior to getting a real exposure.

    But there are people here who vaccinate them all anyway even with symptoms because we know so little about Marek's. You can send the chicken's blood to Texas A&M and they will test it for Marek's. Haunted or Casportpony may have more details than I have. So far Texas is the only place that I know of that tests the blood.
     
  7. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

    6,076
    16
    263
    Jun 27, 2008
    West Central Ohio
    I tried searching the vaccine on Google and not a whole lot came up. Can you post what it says on the bottle? e.g. what kind of vaccine, the type of virus(es) and other constituents?
     
  8. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,818
    218
    218
    Feb 15, 2012
    Central Maine
    I am not familiar with the name but if it is something you purchase for home use and doesn't involve cryogenic cooling, it's the Turkey Marek's vaccine. If you have it, aren't planning on hatching chicks anytime in the next year....use it. I'll tell you why....last year I got hit with bad strains of the Marek's virus here. I lost almost all that I purchased vaccinated and the ones I hatched here. Some breeds total wipe out. 3,4,5 and sometimes more just dead daily. I started letting my turkeys range out with my chickens and amazingly it slowed down after a few days and in a week the sudden deaths had just about stopped. The disease had run it's course right? No, not at all. Marek's doesn't have a time frame, once it's there, it there forever if you keep birds. I talked to everyone I could think of, who could explain this to me. Vets, Researchers in this field, Hatchery Owners, Field Vets....you name them, I bugged them. The Field Vet for a pharmaceutical company explained that the exposure to the turkeys was innoculating the birds for Marek's everytime they were with them. Just as if I were giving them a small dose of the vaccine daily. He told me he had seen this many times and it was quite common for some of the bird farms to do the same thing. Okay score one for me, I had no idea.

    Over this past winter I lost a couple. The turkeys are housed separately and the chickens had no contact with them over the Winter. This was the sudden, no symptoms before hand type. There has been no more paralysis up to this point in the survivors from last Summer. If I gt a chance later today, I will hunt down the links I have that show studies about giving the marek's vaccine to older and exposed birds.
    I've seen a few posts here Seminole where people have said their Vets check for Marek's with a blood test. I haven't done a lot of checking on that because from what I was told by the people at Texas, the equipment they use to do these tests is not something a Vet would have in their offices normally. Wouldn't it be nice if it were true? I know there are protein markers in Marek's birds that show up most, some of the time, but these can also give false positives during testing. Weird thing, just because the blood has these proteins doesn't mean the bird has Marek's. Sooo.....it's the ghost again.

    edited for spelling and fingers not keeping up with the head
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  9. Bens-Hens

    Bens-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    HVT or any other vaccine is only good -pre exposure. Day 1. Even then if it does not ave time to activate the birds immunity it won't work either.

    Needs to be Day one, then the birds needs to remain exposure free for at least 3 weeks, some recommend more if it's possible.

    Most testing done on birds is in the form of a necropsy, but there has been talk of a blood test available for live testing. Nambroth had it done when she had it in her flock.
     
  10. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,818
    218
    218
    Feb 15, 2012
    Central Maine
    There are learned people out there who through testing have shown that this is not always the case. It is the best way and in fact should be practised by everyone, but not the only way. When I have finished with chores, I will hunt down the links I have that show this line of thought and the testing done to prove it. When it is given as an after exposure booster, either to already vaccinated birds or unvaccinated, it is given to kick start the immune system into recognizing that the herpes virus is in fact an enemy to the body. Herpes fools the body into thinking it is a normal cell in the body, this is how it gets in and isn't destroyed by the immune system. You flood the body with the live turkey Marek's vaccine and the immune system is going to go ape and start wiping out anything that looks like it, including chicken Marek's if it's there. It isn't given at this point to give a resistance to the bird, too late for that, it's to teach the bird's system that this isn't a normal cell and it needs to pull out all stops and kill it. This is done a lot when mutated forms of Marek's are suspected because even if a bird were vaccinated at hatch with all 3 types of vaccine, it doesn't guarantee the bird is resistant to a mutated form.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by