My Welsumer rooster is paralyzed! Can anyone offer assistance?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Kansas Gal, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Kansas Gal

    Kansas Gal Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 15, 2009
    Hutchinson, Kansas
    Hello, all! I am a new poster, and a fairly new 'chicken mom', and could use the advice of experts on this board! On Friday, I found my rooster (Elijah), age 2 1/2 months, in the corner of the coop. My husband had been taking care of the chickens for a couple days, so I do not know how long he had been in the corner. I picked him up, stroked him a bit, then set him back down, and found he could not walk or stand. I took him to the vet, who gave him a quick exam. He said he did not feel any broken bones, or have any suggestions, other than to keep him separated from the other chickens in a warm place and watch him. He said chickens can be quite resiliant, and it takes time. Elijah is in a dog kennel in the house, and he is eating. However, today (Monday), his legs are still not working. Both legs are sticking out straight in front of him, and he is very quiet. I am sure he is getting used to his new environment, but the only sound he makes is when he is flapping his wings around to move about the small kennel.We got Elijah and 25 other chicks at one-day old, on October 2, and up until now, have not had any problems with any of our chickens! We are new to raising chickens, and I am quite frustrated that this little guy cannot walk or stand! I noticed, too, that the rooster's comb is quite pale. We have been feeding medicated chick starter, and I throw in some bread crumbs for them as a treat every day or so. I have been trying to search the internet about this malady, but cannot find anything thus far that describes our rooster's particular situation! He is eating, and I think he is drinking water. I put in fresh water each day, and take him out and gently 'work' his legs, to try to get movement in them, but they appear just stiff and paralyzed, though I think tonight, I felt one of his feet grip my finger just a tad. It could have been an involuntary reaction. I am not sure. Any advice would be most appreciated! We love all our critters as if they were our kids, and cannot stand it when one of them is suffering! Thanks in advance for any help on where to turn! By the way, our chicks are confined to a shed heated by 3 heat lamps during the cold snap we are having. I change bedding every couple of weeks. I use wood shavings, and use a weak solution of scalding clorox water to clean the waterer, and rinse it well with fresh hot water. All of our other chickens appear healthy and happy, and Colijah, the other rooster, crows proudly all the time. (There is a marked difference between Colijah's bright red comb and waddle, compared to Elijah's) Elijah did crow before this happened to him. How long should we continue to try to nurse him before we have to maybe take further action? Our vet suggested we worm the entire flock, which we are going to do tomorrow.

    Parents to 3 Boston Terriers, 1 Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland mix, 2 barn cats and 26 chickens
     
  2. The Chickens' Maid

    The Chickens' Maid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2009
    CT
    Can you post a picture?
     
  3. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Marek's can cause paralysis. The only treatment is intensive care. Keep him in a dog crate with food and water right in front of him. Some go into remission, and some don't. If it is Mareks it may progress to his wings and neck. If it gets to his neck, all hope is lost because he will no longer be able to eat or drink. I truly hope that it isn't Marek's, but it's probably the most common chicken disease on the planet and the herpes virus that causes it can be found everywhere.
     
  4. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    This is a picture of a Marek's sufferer with only one paralyzed leg. Does it look like this?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Kansas Gal

    Kansas Gal Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 15, 2009
    Hutchinson, Kansas
    Sorry, I haven't been online since I made my initial post. And yes, Elijah's legs are both out in front of him. He also often has his head down on the floor of the kennel. Today, I gently dunked his beak in the water, and when he finally figured it out, he drank quite a bit (I feel quite guilty, as apparently, the pan I was using was too big, and he didn't know how, or couldn't drink out of it!) I have taken him out a few times today and gotten him to drink more water with vitamins and electrolytes in the water. He also seemed ravenous tonight when I set a small dish of chick starter in front of him. He has in the past few days, eaten a few small pieces of wheat bread. He has had food available to him, but I had not seen him eat like this since this happened until this evening! He appears to not have any control over his legs, but gets around the small kennel by flapping his wings wildly to move himself. I do worry about his head, as sometimes, he can keep it up, other times it is just resting between his legs on the floor. I did read about Marek's disease, but did not see any of the other symptoms listed,except the paralyzed legs. If it is Marek's disease, how long does it take if he comes out of it? When will I know when all is hopeless, if it comes to that? Thank you for any responses! I can try to get some pictures of him, but not sure if I can figure out how to post them. Currently, the camera is not here, but I can say, he looks like the chicken in the picture on one of the posts, except that both legs are out in front of him. One more thing! A few times a day, I have been holding him and trying to gently 'work' his legs, such as physical therapy, trying to get some movement in them to keep atrophy from setting in. Is this a good thing to do, or a bad? Thank you for any other advice, and for those who have posted to my initial post!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009

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