Merrik 's Disease

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by WiseOwl5, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. WiseOwl5

    WiseOwl5 Out Of The Brooder

    A few weeks ago we had a unknown disease go though our coop. The following thread gives more information.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1128670/carriers-for-life/

    Following suggestions from @heatherlaw and @Wyorp Rock, we sent two chickens away for a necropsy. Now after more dying and one with a leg problem. The poultry lab is finished and they have said it is Merrik's Disease.

    The vet said any new chickens should be vaccinated and that we should kill chickens that show signs. Has anyone dealt with the same problem? How did you deal with it?

    I am regreting getting the vaccines from the hatchery now, that's for sure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I'm sorry for your loss. [​IMG]

    I hope others will give their point of view.

    I'm glad you were able to get a clear answer through necropsy.

    Marek's is everywhere, so sometimes it is unavoidable. Even with vaccination chickens can have infections and symptoms of the virus, the vaccine only prevents tumors.

    @Nambroth has a very good article on Marek's, you may be able to pm them for tips on dealing with Marek's in your flock.

    There is also a thread that may be helpful "Moving Forward" https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/894589/moving-forward-breeding-for-resistance-to-mareks-disease

    Birds can sometimes recover, but will still be carriers. It really depends on what your goals of chicken keeping are. Selling/giving away chicks, started pullets or possibly hatching eggs would not be a good idea at all. If you have them for your own pleasure and for eggs, then keeping a closed flock may be practical in your situation.

    I wish you well.


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
     
  3. WiseOwl5

    WiseOwl5 Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you for your support. The vet said once these chickens die we could disinfect the coop and get vaccinated chickens. That's all we can do at this point is wait.
     
  4. SweetandSavory

    SweetandSavory Out Of The Brooder

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    I would do a bit more research on your own. My understanding is you can't just disinfect an area to get rid of Marreks. Also my understanding the vaccination does not stop your chickens from getting Mareks it only stops the growth of the tumors.

    We have Mareks and Personally I don't euthanize my chickens unless their quality of like is effected. The song birds in the trees above your coop can have it. What would stop reinfection?
     
  5. WiseOwl5

    WiseOwl5 Out Of The Brooder

    Ya, from the research I've done you can get rid of it in the coop using a virucide, but it is almost impossible to get rid of it in the ground for example. It sucks that vaccines don't prevent them from getting it.

    We are in the same situation. We can't euthanize our chickens, we are too attached. We have three now showing symptoms. One was so bad we had to isolate her, I'm not sure what will happen with her.

    I have question though, if they start showing the "classic" leg paralysis, can they recover? We have this chicken isolated with electrolyte/vitamin mixture inside the house, is there anything more we could do for her?
     
  6. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    You were saying it sucks that vaccines dont prevent Mareks. The vaccine, if i am correct WILL KEEP THE TUMMORS FROM APPEARING. That in itself is HUGE. The tummors are what cause paralysis and internal issues. It also will prevent the disease in most cases if antibodies had a chance to mature before exposure. Its not 100% but as of now it is the best defence other than breeding for immunities that we have right now. If the vaccine will prevent the tummors that is also a good protection. Mareks is everywhere so by doing what we can with the vaccines is better than no protection at all.Hopefully in the near future they have a method available to everyone that can be 100%. Until then, the vaccine is better than nothing unless you have a breeding program that breeds for total resistance.
     
  7. SweetandSavory

    SweetandSavory Out Of The Brooder

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    In he very beginning I isolated one that got sick but then it seemed that made them sicker. We free range during the day so I allow them to stay with everyone. They'll either get better or they start isolating themselves then I know it's time for us to help them find peace. I use rooster booster and everyone gets it.
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a 5'x5' pen that mine go into during the day if they can't manage to free range or are getting picked on. I scatter feed on the grass in and around the pen so that the other birds come and feed with them. This means that they feel like they have competition for food which is always good for encouraging them to eat and have to move around which is good therapy but in a safe environment where they are not getting harassed by the others. Plenty of fresh air, grass and sunshine when possible and on an evening I encourage them to walk back to the hen house after the others have gone to bed. I find this helps to build their confidence back up and allows them to learn to manage their disability. Sometimes it seems a little cruel to make them walk when they struggle but I find that once it becomes a daily routine they get better at it. I don't think they suffer pain with the lameness with Marek's, just frustration that things don't work properly and panic when they fall over and can't get back up. Once they stop panicking, they usually find ways to manoeuvre themselves back into an upright position. Of course there are birds that don't make it and deteriorate to the point that they have to be euthanized but giving them their own protected place within the flock and keeping them moving and encouraging them to eat by feeding them whatever they will eat (soaked mixed corn, scrambled egg, meal worms, soaked bread) rather than trying to ensure a balanced diet of grower pellets or pump medication into them that they don't want and get sick of, seems to be working for me.

    So in regard to your question about can they recover from leg paralysis..... Yes. I've had some make a full recovery in a matter of a few days and others take months of TLC to make a partial recovery which was enough for them to return to free ranging with the flock and even laying. Secondary attacks weeks, months or even years later can happen and are usually more severe, but quality of life in the interim is usually good once they have regained their confidence. I find isolating them usually causes them to give up hope after a few days/weeks and deteriorate no matter how much TLC you lavish on them.

    I have read articles recently regarding problems with the Marek's vaccine being an "imperfect vaccine" that may actually be causing more virulent strains to become prevalent. I don't vaccinate my birds and I allow my broody hens to rear chicks within the flock. I have a relatively mild strain which seems to be the norm here in the UK and I lose 2 or 3 birds to it each year, but I hatched about 30 chicks last year and 50 this year, so in the scheme of things, that is not a big loss although I feel each individual death in my heart.

    Good luck with your remaining birds. Keeping them happy and stress free is the key to fighting the virus.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. WiseOwl5

    WiseOwl5 Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks for all your kind words and support. We took the isolated chicken with the paralyzed leg out to visit the others yesterday. She is doing better. So much so that she walked to the other side of the coop to see her other Orpington friend. They were laid down together. Her friend was lathargic and we figured we'd bring her into the house too. Today we discovered that she died, yet the one with the paralyzed leg is ok. :( We have another one now with a slight limp. I'm starting to give up hope that we will have any chickens left. It's really sad when each one dies.
     
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    So sorry to hear you lost another bird. [​IMG]At least her final night was safe and comfortable with her pal. I went to put mine away last night and she was tipped on her side and couldn't get back up. Don't know how long she had been like that but once I picked her up and stood her upright she was able to maintain that position but she sidles up to a solid object to keep from toppling over again. She has eaten well this morning but is really struggling for coordination once she is out in the open. The cockerel seems to be hugely improved and gets himself out of the cage and into the hen house before I get there, which probably causes her to panic and then fall over. Will need to get there earlier tonight to hopefully prevent that.
    It really is an awful disease. Hope your girl continues to improve and that you have no more come down with it.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     

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