Mereks Disease Questions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jaj121159, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After doing a lot of research, it looks like I have an outbreak of Mereks among my 8 month old pullets. Is this something they got from their current coop or invitro? One thing I have noticed is the birds that have gotten sick, their combs are smaller and I don't think those birds have begun laying. Does anyone have any insight on this?
     
  2. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northeast Nebraska
    Just a couple of things I missed. There have been other birds in these coops in the recent past, but none of those birds got sick. No birds with larger combs have gotten sick. These are hatchery birds.
     
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I would take one for necropsy to make sure.

    There are other things that can seem like Mareks from what I have read- like botulism:

    "Leg paralysis is the only sign in mild intoxications, which must be differentiated from Marek’s disease, drug and chemical toxicities, or appendicular skeletal problems. In waterfowl, botulism must be differentiated from fowl cholera and chemical toxicities, especially lead poisoning."
    from:
    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/205400.htm
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  4. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    According to one of the UC Davis avian pathologists, Merek's is one of the most common causes of death in chickens that they see here in CA. I know from personal experience that it presents in many ways and affects birds of all ages... That's all I really know about it. Good luck.
     
  5. Sweetened

    Sweetened Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I've learned (after losing my one pet chicken to it), Mereks is a herpes virus that is most commonly introduced by the wild bird population and is practically unavoidable. There are immunizations for it, however the results are very mixed. After speaking with quite a few people who had lost a significantly higher number of their hatching flock WITH immunization (people who make half their living off their stock), I thought it would be best to breed natural immunity/carriers. I acknowledge from hereon out, I will struggle with this disease and will likely lose a few to it.

    My boy declined rapidly. He went from having an unexplained limp, to getting better to being unable to walk in the span of a week. He could not move to feed and water himself and that is where I draw the line. It was a hard decision, but he was put down and buried on the property.

    Mereks has similar symptoms to botulism (and to upper respiratory and every other chicken disease out there). My understanding is a way to keep your birds 'immunized' is to keep a turkey or two with them. Turkey's carry a form of herpes that builds immunity in the chickens but cannot be caught by them. Those who don't build immunity to it are naturally weak and lacking resistance on the Mereks front. It really is how I feel I have to handle my situation, and there are others who feel the same.

    Mereks is easy to see under a necropsy -- lesions form on the internal organs and sometimes the chest cavity. You can look up Mereks Lesions in google. I did so after I cut him open, however even for my very inexperienced eye, I saw something was wrong before I looked up the pictures to compare.

    Best of luck.
     
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  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Thanks for sharing that... next time I have one die, maybe I'll do my own necropsy.
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

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