Mereks, Wyr Neck or something else?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Midgit2230, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Midgit2230

    Midgit2230 New Egg

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    May 13, 2016
    A little background on the hen...she was Merek vaccinated at birth and had been getting along with all the other hens in the coop.

    Then almost a week ago I go out to the coop in the morning and she is sitting in the run getting pecked on the top of the head. I picked her up, separated her and treated the head wound, which appeared to be superficial. One eye was swollen shut, which she now has opened up and used again. I have been giving her Poly-vi-sol vitamins 2 drops 3 x a day for just over a day now and vitamin E as well. She eats like a pig when she eats, scrambled egg and mash. However, she throws her neck back and can not walk or stand. She sits with her legs out in front of her or one leg out and one under if I position her that way. She can't walk or balance. I have to clean the poop off of her because of this.

    Merek's, wry neck, broken neck, nerve damage have all been suggested. I hate seeing her like this, she is my favorite hen. Unfortunately the vet is not an option. As a first time chicken owner and all the ideas thrown my way as to what it could be I'm at a loss. I've been doing a ton of reading but can't find anything pointing to one specific thing. Any idea what is wrong with her? Can she recover from this?

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  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC.

    Without testing or a vet's care/advice, there is really no way to determine what is wrong.

    IF she were perfectly "normal" before the pecking, then IMHO I would suspect, brain injury/nerve damage.

    If she was having trouble before this, then the suggestions you received such as Marek's, wry neck, mycoplasma s. or a number of other illnesses or conditions would be considered.

    How do her hocks/leg joints look - any swelling, discoloration, bruising?
    Is she new to your flock?
    Any other illnesses in your flock in the last 6months - respiratory illness, cocci, Peritonitis, bacterial infections, worms, etc.?

    Check her ears to make sure they are clear of any lice/mites or pus/infection.

    I am assuming she is not laying eggs yet, she looks fairly young. Feed her chick starter or an all flock/flock raiser feed (18-20% protein), scrambled/hard boiled egg or tuna (for Selenium). Poly-Vi-Sol (without iron) and the Vitamin E is fine. Also make sure she is getting some B2 (Riboflavin).

    Marek's vaccination will prevent the formation of tumors, but won't prevent infection from the disease, so even though she was vaccinated, she could still develop symptoms that you are seeing.


    One of the best sources of information on Marek's I have found - includes info on illnesses/deficiencies that also "mimic" Marek's:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq

    Common Poultry Diseases:
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Was she vaccinated for Mareks at the hatchery, or by a breeder? She is a pretty pullet--what breed is she? I agree with Wyorp Rock. If her symptoms developed suddenly, it may be from her injuries, but sometimes other illnesses can cause lameness and other neurological symptoms. Coccidiosis and dehydration has even been known to cause these symptoms. Sleepiness, weakness, runny poops or blood in stools, and puffing up can be signs of cocci. Corid is the treatment for coccidiosis. Don't overuse the PolyVisol--the usual dosage given is 2-3 drops daily. I prefer poultry vitamins, such as Poultry Cell 1 ml per every 3 pounds of weight, given orally daily. There is plenty of selenium in eggs and tuna, so even a poultry powder added to the water would be good enough. Durvet and Rooster Booster make several brands, but make sure they contain rivoflavin (vitamin B2.) Hopefully, she will recover with TLC and vitamins, but if she should die or be put down, I would get a necropsy by your local poultry lab or state vet. You can contact them ahead of time in case to see what costs are involved. Some states are free, while most charge a fee. Here are 2 good links to read about that:
    http://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
    http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Midgit2230

    Midgit2230 New Egg

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    Thanks for responses.
    She was fine before the pecking and was integrated with the rest of my flock about a month and a half ago with 2 other hatch mates. She seems fine other than the parallelization and neck weakness. Joints look good, no discoloration or bruising, though her toes are cold and curled. When I hold them to warm them I can feel some movement in her leg and foot it just doesn't seem to be working. Knock on wood, we've had no other illnesses, injuries or diseases in the flock. No worm, mites, or infections that I can see. She did have an eye swollen shut, which I contributed from the pecking, but that is fine now and she is using it.

    I have been giving her Poly-vi-sol vitamins 2 drops a day, but not sure if I'm giving her enough and the liquid from a vitamin E capsule. Her water also has vitamin and electrolytes mixed in. She stopped eating the scrambled egg so I'll try tuna later. Any suggestions for the B2, my daughter takes capsules but the inside is powder...can I mix that in her water?

    I didn't realized that the vaccination only prevented the tumors. Thanks for the web sites, I have some reading to do.
    I got her from a local breeder back in June, she was 4 months old last week. She is a red laced wyandotte and the sweetest hen. Everything other than the current symptoms seems fine. Poop looks fine. I'll have to check tractor supply for the poultry powder, she hates taking anything orally. Thank fully our state school does the necropsies and I've already decided that if I cull her or she dies then I will definitely have one done no matter the cost, I need to know what it is that is wrong. Thanks for the links I will check them out too.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    When a breeder gives a Mareks vaccine, the chick has to be kept from any dust or dander or environmental danger of Mareks (if they have had Mareks nearby or in the flock) for 2-3 weeks. Mareks is fairly widespread, so we never really know if we have it in out environment or not, until we see a bird with it. I have never seen it in my flock, having both vaccinated and unvaccinated chickens, but have seen a couple of wild birds with lameness who later died. Hopefully it is not the dreaded Mareks, but good to know about if one dies unexplainedly, for future plans. So many other things can mimic Mareks, so always good to treat with vitamins and get a necropsy.
     

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