Not an Emergency...Marek's in the Flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Haunted55, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Something to report...we processed some of my birds a few days ago. Meaties, extra roos, a couple of ducks and a goose. Odd thing, the meaties showed internal signs of Marek's. Not vaccinated for it as they should never have been around this long, they should have been done July 1st or round about. Long story.....

    Anyways, these birds were walking except for 3 of them. They had gotten so big, I thought they just couldn't do it anymore because of their weight.. They would take a few steps if they were moved by picking them up, or when the feeder was filled and water changed. I had no idea at all they had Marek's. One of the biggest, who went outside into their run everyday, was the worst. Pronounced markings on his liver and cysts? Gaglions? Tumors? Along the sciatic nerves. He had no symptoms, nadda, zip, that would have let me know he had Marek's. Now I have done down and dirty home necropsies before, last summer and never saw things as bad as this. Because they were smaller birds? No idea. The liver markings I had seen in the past were close, but this poor guy was really riddled. The 'things' along the nerves were the size of lima beans and hard, not fluid filled, whitish in color. Anybody got any ideas on this? This guy was still walking!
     
  2. hogster160

    hogster160 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Were these the meat roosters with the lima bean growths? Just wondering if because their metabolism is so fast that it pushed the disease as hard as their body pushed to grow. I'm not sure I'm explaining my thought right. Meaties metabolism is so different from a regular chicken, it seems like they are on steroids. So would that do something more for the disease? Merecks on steroids is a very scary thought. But he was still walking? With growths on his sciatic nerve? He sounds like he was superman of the chicken world. Maybe you have all the answers to md right there.

    What have you done with this set of meaties? Anything different? Did they forage? On any plant in particular? Were they given any type of additive herb wise? I only ask because to be riddled with tumor of that size and walking just seems to me to be like beating md.

    Deb
     
  3. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah Deb, they were, sorry not to clarify. At first we thought...fatty tumors and a part of me is still up in the air about that, but then we found smaller ones, about the size of a kidney bean in one of the other meatie roos. He couldn't or wouldn't walk unless encouraged. The thing that threw me off about all of this is the non typical symptoms[?] or the ability to even tell there was something going on. I had mentioned a while back that I thought the meat birds were showing signs of Marek's, but then found the broken leg on the bird in question. This was in July? Can't remember. Towards the end, in August, up to process, figured it was because of size and how long over their normal time that was causing the hesitancy to walk. They were big, I mean really big. There was no wasting with these birds....med. lg. turkey shrink bags was the only thing the largest ones would fit in after process. These will take a 20-25 lbs. turkey and these birds were filling the bag. The more smaller birds still needed the med. turkey bag to fit. As I said, no wasting.

    They got nothing special, grower and after the 8 weeks mark, were put on a 15% feed to maintain them. There was no need for a finisher. The grass their run sat on is no different than anywhere else the regular chickens forage, the only thing I can think of is they were close to where the meat turkeys are housed. Maybe, 30' away from those birds and their pen. I know that letting the meat turkeys run with the chickens last year calmed the out break in them, to almost gone. It might be as simple as that, duh! Still the tumor size, fatty or otherwise...right on the spine and nerves? Got me some phone calls to make. The liver though, large dark purple almost black in places, the rings, the whitish lump/nodules, not as many as I figured there would be, this threw me. This bird shouldn't have been alive or at the very least, not able to move and have been extremely emaciated. This is what bothers me the most about this stupid disease! You think you know what to look for and then another curve is thrown your way. There is just no way to keep up with it. Whatever happened here Deb, it isn't a cure, obviously with the internal signs. The turkeys? Maybe a tool, but again, not a cure. As for a list of what's growing in their run, I'll see about doing that today. Again, I doubt there's anything there that could do this. This is just another weird thing that will probably never have an answer.
     
  4. hogster160

    hogster160 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Let me know what the phone calls produce. I've got some ideas, but really need to see if they make sense. lol. Yea that doesn't make sense, but its early and my thoughts are scattered atm lmao

    Kind of thinking their metabolism runs so fast, that it out run the results of the tumors. One being stronger than the other. In combination with being so close to the turkeys. See need to think on this a bit.
     
  5. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well the first phone call has raised some interesting things. It probably wasn't Marek's rather Lymphoid Leukosis instead. Now to be honest, I knew about this disease and had read a little bit about it, but it not being a problem here, didn't give it my all as I have tried to do with the Marek's. Big mistake...the leukosis is basically the sister disease of Marek's, what I didn't know was it could be direct line transferred from the hen to the albumen of the egg. I knew that it's symptoms showed later, around 14-16 weeks, what I didn't know again, was that they are not as readily apparent as Marek's would show. As in there can be no signs at all and the birds are still dropping virus. These birds can come infected from the hatchery and most would never know they may have inadvertently exposed their other birds to it because most of us do their meaties when they are supposed to do them , at 7-10 weeks. Long before the disease would give any signs at all, probably even internally. Still have to check into that. Wow, I feel so darned stupid about now....

    Good news, if you want to call it that, lol, this virus is not as virulent as Marek's and so isn't passed around as easily. Simple cleaning with a good disinfectant will kill it and wait times are less. As I said, this is the first call...I have more to make and more to come in. Kicking myself now, that I didn't get a camera at least, but in the middle of processing and time constraints and believing it was Marek's...stupid.

    A word of advice for anyone reading this. If you raise the Cornish Rocks for meat, please do everything possible to keep them away from the other birds you may have. These were hatchery birds I purchased this May and if the person I spoke with is correct, they came with something extra and were dropping the virus long before I knew anything was up. The 2 necropsies I had done last year showed no signs of this present and the symptoms then were in keeping with a Marek's disease infection. I'm not even sure if the diseases can infect concurrently. Gee, I was having a good day too.
     
  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Yes, ALL is a problem that most people don't even know about. It is also sneaky, as it is a retrovirus, and actually attaches itself into the DNA chain of its host. This is how it can be transmitted vertically! It can be transmitted vertically through many generations.

    It's also sneaky because gross necropsy is most often going to be diagnosed with Marek's because the visceral form looks so similar, visually. A really good vet or person doing a necropsy will say "suggests Marek's and/or Avian Lymphoid Leukosis", instead of just "Marek's". This happened with my rooster, but the virus markers were not active. What this means is that somewhere in his line, way back when, one of his ancestors had ALL and he carried the marker for it, but the virus was not active in his system and therefore he was not shedding it, etc.

    Essentially, ALL can be endogenous, meaning it is non-pathogenic and simply the DNA marker, or it can be exogenous, which is pathogenic and active. Meaning that the bird contained an active infection of the virus.
    Complicating this is that these tests are done via DNA sequencing, and are complicated and expensive tests! (I won't tell you how much I paid...)

    Here's some medical papers on his results: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...umor-thymus-response-mareks/210#post_10973574

    In the end, if you suspect ALL, you can't sell hatching eggs or chicks raised in isolation. When I researched it last year, there was at that time no effective vaccination for this disease. There is not much research into breeding for resistance, and what you do with your flock is of course your own decision, but all of the resources I had read suggested that birds carrying ALL not be bred and that the line should be allowed to die out to attempt to eradicate the disease.
     
  7. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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  8. hogster160

    hogster160 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow and here I was hoping for good news. I've got meat bird now and they are no where near my coop.

    Which hatchery did you get them from, if you don't mind me asking. And are you going to contact them?
     
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    sounds like good reasoning.
     
  10. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well since they were meaties, they're dead right now. They were isolated and even though the ducks, geese and even the layers went near their house and pen, I feel pretty confident that there was transmission between them. Am I positive? Oh heck no! Me thinks I am going to be contacting Texas A&M and seeing what they offer for testing on this.

    Now, the questions, as I haven't had a chance to even breathe today, been so busy, can the two diseses occur at the same time? I remember reading somewhere that if one is present, the other can't be. Is Marek's a blessing in disguise here? Now what's really scary, we who have, are aware of the discrepansies with the Marek's virus. Lymphoid Leukosis has always been the 'sister' virus to Marek's. I've always thought of the two as being closely related but the LL being a lesser worry as the symptoms were not as bad as the Marek's which in some strains, if not all, cause fairly significant death tolls. Lymphoid Leukosis doesn't from what I have read. 20% over the lifetime of the flock? That's nothing after what I went through with Marek's. But the retrovirus part? Now that is some scary doo-doo. These were hatchery birds, plain and simple. Even knowing that the first necropsy I had done had some issues, shall we say...the second one proved the Marek's and was quite comprehensive in it's testing and findings. Time of onset of symptoms, severity of symptoms and duration or death of bird. It showed Marek's, no question. Now I am faced with having to have more testing done and from what you have said and what I remember reading, testing is nonconclusive. Now, if someone knows the answer to this one...please sing it out! As a retrovirus, LL isn't destroyed by freezing as a virus would be, correct? It would be present in all tissue of the body and still able to be found after processing and freezing. Not like Marek's which lives in the spinal fluid. I may just have to give up Sunday dinner and have a couple of birds tested. One good thing, I processed out both the meaties and the extra roos. The roos, have never been outside of their house, ever. They would be a good test subject for this, I am thinking.

    Ya know? Just when I thought things were settling down.....I have no idea what to do at this stage of the venture. I am going to have to research a good lab to send these samples to and get some answers.
     

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