Mareks...what now?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cocosandy, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. cocosandy

    cocosandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Stamford, CT
    I finally got the necropsy results back from UConn and the two little birds that died had what looks like Mareks.
    So, what do I do?...Ive been reading and reading and it appears to me that all chickens have this in some latent form and that it can come up
    during stress or...? And also that 5% of vaccinated chicks are not really safe, and thats IF they handle the vaccine correctly./
    I have a number of chickens that are definitely immune and it seems like its only struck a few hybrid young birds (showgirls and frizzles) tho quite a few of those are OK.

    If I put down my entire flock and started over I could easily have a reinfection in that the vaccine isnt 100%...
    I do have 2 turkeys with my flock now and supposedly that will give some immunity to the newer birds, because they have to pick it up early in life.

    But otherwise, I am getting alot of conflicting information.
    The "doc" on first state vet supply says that you can vaccinate older birds and sick birds...that it may work...but having live virus around is a big no-no if you order vaccinated chicks...so whats up with that advice..."doc" is not a real Dr, and it seems like if the idea with vaccinated chicks is that you only get them if you can keep them totally separate from your unvaccinated birds for 10-15 days lest they infect them....

    I need some advice.
    I have 2 runner ducks who seem just fine, 2 heritage turkeys who seem just fine, and 25 4-5 wk old americuana chicks in the basement who have been in the same room with dust and shoes that were around the sick birds. I have my original flock and all of the birds, my original roo, some young birds from this year, and new chicks hatched by broody moms, etc...are fine.
    Ive just lost a few birds all of the same age and strain of hybrid silky/showgirl/sizzle line....the few birds who have gotten sick and died were spaced out over the past months of the late summer into fall. I also lost a turken but she seems to have had some sort of obesity problem that is not really diagnosed in the necropsy.

    I have a marans with bumblefoot and very liquid diarrhea in the basement and have wormed and treated everyone for cocci for a few weeks because of cecal orange material in their poo and also because the UConn tech reports round worm nematodes in the intestines...but not anything highly out of the ordinary or that would kill the chickens. I have not seen any huge die off or shedding and I hope that the infestation was small enough that its just been absorbed and is gone. It is possible that the amt of worms seen in these birds was enough for a delicate breed to get stressed enough to bring on the mareks that is dormant.

    So I used corrid for a couple of weeks and then off....I used eprinex pour on and then took a week rest...now I used sulmet and everyone's poo looks OK except for some Barnesvelders who perch in one spot and are pooing some orange material still...and some normal poo, so it could be that the sulmet was a little strong for their symptoms and that will get better.

    I used eprinex on the young chicks in the basement just in case and 24 hours of sulmet just in case...and the same on the ill marans.
    I have one showgirl roo who is outside in a dog house who has the neuro disease which is probably mareks. I had to put his sister down a few days ago as she got much worse and her quality of life went to zero. he seems better and is eating and drinking voraciously, etc...he just has a bit of parkinsonian shaking in his legs and cant walk. he sort of scoots around but stays in this doghouse.
    The dust has already gotten on all of my other chickens, so Im not too worried about infecting anyone.

    Id love any suggestions....everyone has a different take on this ...what do I do??
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I'm not going to try to tell you what to do, but I'll pass on some information. It may help you.

    When they vaccinate chickens for Marek's, they actually use turkey Marek's. That's why having the turkeys around will help get them immune. They are not actually immune, however. The turkey Marek's does not prevent chicken Marek's. It prevents the lesions that cause the damage to chickens. Chickens that have been vaccinated can still get Marek's and can give the disease to other chickens. Once you get Marek's in your flock, assume that all have it and can pass it on.

    It takes a while for the turkey virus to work on the chicks to prevent the lesions. If the chicks are exposed to other chickens that have Marek's before the turkey virus has done it's thing, your chicks can get the lesions. The virus is spread by the dander the chickens give off. I think the virus can live a long time in your coop in the dust and dirt, so once you have Marek's it is in your flock.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. sebright guy

    sebright guy Out Of The Brooder

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    I just posted a similar topic to this on marecks.
    In my sebright manual it say you can raise a turkey with the chicks you hatch. or you can brood the chicks on turkey manure after they are 1 day old. this gives them the same immunity as the vaccine.

    Im still struggling with what to do because in the manual it says to use white turkeys but im not sure if it says that because white turkeys are the only ones with the Herpes virus. I would like to get some standard Bronze Turkeys if they will work.

    Some people never vaccinate but they do have turkeys around and little Mareck desease. In my sebrights I get some Marecks. I don't think the vaccine is worth it though for the few chicks i raise at a time.
     
  4. cocosandy

    cocosandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well, so you have it in your flock too. The chicken health handbook and everything else official Ive read (ie checked over by vets) says little of what to do and indicates directly that it is actually in EVERY flock and its just a matter of who gets it according to their immune systems, conditions, and possibly breed.
    The vaccine is so iffy...I was reading here or somewhere from someone who got it in a vaccinated flock....no one wants to say how delicate the vaccine is and how it can get too hot and die or be kept around too long at a hatchery.
    and also how careful you have to be with it.
    If you cull your whole flock and get all new vaccinated chicks then the 5% that the vaccine wont work on could be infected...and if you necropsied them and culled your flock...etc...

    My friend, who is actually here now, went to an ag school and works with poultry. She says that the extension vet will say to cull for hatcheries or production businesses.....Im sure that it doesnt effect eggs, not sure about meat but I cant imagine what is in the meat we eat (just cook the heck out of it!) but if youre selling birds you supposedly have to think twice to prevent something that they are sure is everywhere already....hmmmm...

    I am sure that if they are talking white turkeys they are talking midgets or some sort of white heritage breed. the whites that are raised for meat dont live that long and their breasts get awfully big.
    I have 2 huge brown heritage turkeys that a friend gave me...so it was by accident that I have them. if they are helping my other birds then I thank them!. They decided to move into the little barn and now roost with the chickens (they used to live on top of the barn) the hen is laying in a chicken nest box in the pile of eggs that everyone lays....its really funny because she has to stick her butt in there to lay! Ive got a broody hen sitting on a turkey egg right now...
    My runner duck hens think that my tom is their drake and they offer themselves to him all the time. He keeps stepping up on them only to fall off....its pretty funny. They cant possibly do it, but it would be cool to breed a real turduck.
    I love the turkeys.

    so if you have mareks in your flock can you sell your birds? people who dont have necropsies on their birds that die now and then sell their's all the time on eggbid and the like....
    Ive passed on birds, heaven knows, and its the difference between culling roosters or putting them at a petting zoo or whatever...
     
  5. ultasol

    ultasol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    I read in a book I checked out from the library called "The joy of keeping chickens" that mareks disease, being spread by dander, can spread via wind/be airborne and therefore can be hard to prevent. As I hope to show starting this Spring, I decided to vaccinate after much reading.

    If you assume the worst, that at some point all your birds might be exposed to Mareks, then vaccinating makes sense. I wonder, if the Mareks vaccine doesn't prevent mareks but only prevents the tumors, and with the large number of vaccinated birds- how many birds are asymptomatic carriers?
     
  6. cherylcohen

    cherylcohen The Omelet Ranch

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    we've had 4 die of meraks, no need to cull your flock, the rest of the flock with survive based on their immunity. The strong will survive, it's a crappy situation to have to watch the others die, but we've even after the fact we've introduced other older girls and they have survived fine.
     
  7. cherylcohen

    cherylcohen The Omelet Ranch

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    SF East Bay CA
    Quote:I would not sell chickens/roos or eggs because you have meraks on your property, that's responsible in my opinion
     
  8. cocosandy

    cocosandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Stamford, CT
    But doesnt everyone have it in its latent form? Im not a chicken seller, but I do pass on extra roos rather than kill them.
    Everyone has some birds die here and there, bit those of us who want to know whats up get necropsies....maybe then its better not to know...?
    Ive never had 3 birds die like this; usually one bird dies of some illness that is sudden wasting or gets frozen or in an accident. I am just keenly interested in
    medical subjects about animals so I went the extra mile to find out exactly.
    But if the others are immune and Mareks is everywhere, why not just move on like always.
    If you vaccinate there will be a 5% failure of the vaccination, so then you to might have to say that you have mareks on your land and have to stop showing, selling or anything.
    I think this is blown way out of proportion in that its spread already and they dont have a good vaccine that works on older birds.
    Im still at a loss and wishing I didnt know now....
     
  9. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Mareks disease is found in Nature. Most vets will say it is a race to see which will infect the chicken sooner the virus or the vaccine. If Mareks is conformed, then I would get the vaccine and vaccinate all your birds, young and old and all new chicks. There is no def. research the the vaccine will make chicks carriers. Read Horsejodys post on it. The vaccine does not keep them from getting Mareks but stops the tumors that kill the bird. Many chickens get it w/o you even knowing and build up resistance to it. You are giving the vaccine to those so encase they do not.
     
  10. ultasol

    ultasol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    Good luck with your situation. I have not had mareks, and I would probably cull all affected animals if I did, even if they began to recover, in an effort to prevent spread. I don't want to knowingly expose other poultry in my area to the chicken mareks, and I am hoping the vaccine (the turkey mareks) works to keep it from being an issue in my flock.
     

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