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

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

  1. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I think about 20% of my unvaccinated adults (most less than 8 months old) died , one every few months. Vaccinating exposed birds won't work. If I was showing, I would vaccinate my day old chicks because I'm sure quite a few chickens at shows are carriers. I have some links in my signature if you want some reading.

    If alamb is willing, you can send a dead bird for a necropsy to a state dept of ag vet, or a local vet can collect blood and you can send it to Texas A&M and they can test it. Terry, you could check your flock with a blood test of one. If you're negative, you have a good chance of the vaccinating work on the adults.
     
  2. TNBarnQueen

    TNBarnQueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2010
    East Tennessee
    Thank you so much Karen..,..We really do appreciate your help.
    Terry
     
  3. alamb1

    alamb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to contact the University of Tennessee vet school tomorrow to see if they can be of some assistance. If these two test positive I will cull my flock because I think it is the responsible thing to do. I don't show, however my son, who is 6, does. He has one adult who i will have a hard time culling. He's won grand champion and reserve grand champion with her in two of the 3 shows he's been to. Would it be possible to have her tested and spare her if she's negative?
     
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Alamb, culling all your birds will not end the problem. Marek's will still be on your property for years. There's no point. If you have an exposure, you can assume all of yours are exposed. The vaccine does not prevent them from getting Marek's, only the symptoms.

    The very best thing you can do is vaccinate all new day old chicks and quarantine them.

    Hopefully someone else here can chime in about showing.
     
  5. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    My Coop
    Sadly, Seminolewind has it right. If one of your birds has or had Marek's, you must assume that they have all been exposed. Even if they never become symptomatic they will still shed the live virus and can infect other birds.

    If-- IF -- it is Marek's, there isn't really a good reason to cull your birds unless you just want to get rid of them. Even if you culled them all, the virus can live in the environment... the coop, the soil, etc.. for years, waiting for a host! You could cull your flock, sanitize your coop, ruin your soil with chemicals... and it'd only take a tiny bit of missed dander or virus to reinfect any new birds you brought home. So you can see, it's pointless to cull. Unless you just want to get out of chickens (all of us with this disease have probably considered that at one point..).
    Marek's is a herpesvirus, and, as with the herpesvirus family, is very good at waiting in dormancy for a host.

    This is why testing can be so important, especially if you are not 100% sure it's Marek's. If your bird tests negative, you can reasonably expect to be Marek's free in your entire flock. If your bird tests positive, you can reasonably expect to be Marek's positive in your entire flock (and any other chicken on the property.. the dander that it is spread on can travel pretty easily).

    As far as showing, if you test positive, you can assume your son's show hen probably carries the virus as well. So, that is a personal dilemma. If she (the show hen) has developed immunity/resistance, studies suggest that she will shed much less of the live virus than an actively sick bird. But she still might shed it, and if any of the other birds at the poultry show are not vaccinated, there is a risk they could get sick. How much risk is hard to say.. there are so many variables! Stress, proximity, etc.. all can play a role. At the same time, Marek's is common enough that one can almost assume that at any given show, there is a chance that a Marek's positive bird is present, making it pointless to worry (meaning: If you take birds to shows, there is always small, maybe tiny, chance they will get the disease anyhow). I don't envy you the decision.

    A blood test could help you make better educated choices, if you are able to do one.

    I know these are a lot of hard decisions! I wish you the best. Many of us have been through this already and you have support here if you need it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. alamb1

    alamb1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I talked to the vet at UT today. She said she if the birds were vaccinated as chicks, the breeder says they were, that is unlikely for both of them to have mereks. She said vaccines are not 100%, but two failing are unlikely. I'm taking them in tomorrow for an examination, the roo passed away today, the pullet is still alive. They're going to do a necropsy on him and they will probably euthanize her and do some testing. I'll post tomorrow after our visit. Thanks so much for the help and support. So far no signs or symptoms from the other 3 I ordered. She says no one in her flock is sick and my friend that ordered some says his aren't sick either.
     
  7. BigECarter

    BigECarter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like my situation. I lost 6 of 9 vaccinated as chicks. I did have a necropsy done. The results were consistent with Marek's. I really wish they had not been vaccinated. As it is, I may be dealing with a vaccine resistant strain, with new chicks coming in a couple if weeks. (Meyer's this time. Last was a local breeder/small hatchery.)
     
  8. triton77

    triton77 Out Of The Brooder

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    For those of you who have given the super B to your mareks birds do they ever get better? Or is it just extending their misery?
    My sick lavender with wrys neck and the eye that wont open that the vet told us had mareks hasn't changed condition wise no worse no better. We are giving her 1/2 super b & vitamin e by syringe 2 times per day. She also has a super b in her water(1gal waterer) along with a vitamin e floating in there. I don't believe she is drinking her water unless we dip her beak in it .
    My other lavender who is sick just sits around she will get up and move around but not much. I have seen her eating. We stopped syringe feeding her after 2 times cause she's hard to catch and runs so we just put the super b in the water.
    None of the girls have any nasal discharge or watery eyes
    Someone here said something about adding a turkey to the flock does that actually work? I have a friend that has turkeys would it be worth a try or would I just be introducing new bugs for my already sick girls to get.
    One more: my lavender with wrys neck has lice I think(small yellowish bugs) I've been dusting her with DE is there anything else I should try? None of my other birds have the lice like her I think it's because she is unable to preen her self

    Thanks
     
  9. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah actually, I just found out that some molds can cause blindness in our birds. The worst part is, it may or may not go away depending on how bad the inhalation has been and the types of molds present in the hay.
     
  10. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, if someone has already answered this, ignore it. The reason I asked you to start the Super Bs is if it is caused by something other than Marek's, it will improve. It can help a Marek's bird, but it will never cure it. When I have had the occular form of the Marek's here, the pupil changes as does the eye color. I have never had a bird go blind with out some kind of change to the eye, either before the blindness or right afterwards, as in a couple of days. Is it possible? Oh heck yeah! You will find there are many flavors of this nasty stuff and all of us who have, have seen different symptoms in one form or another. As I said before, you may have Marek's there, but I still think there is something else going on as well. The Marek's you can't cure, something else you may or at least kick it back some.

    As for the eggs and the meat from these birds...entirely safe to eat. For one thing, Marek's doesn't transfer the eggs, for another, we cannot get chicken Marek's. That herpes virus doesn't like us, we have our own. You can even sell you eggs for eating and hatching if you clean them properly. So far this herpes virus has not mutated enough to pass from avian to mammals, so no worries. Look, do yourself a favor and buy some Oxine. You can mix this stuff up and even spray it on your birds. If it is a mold problem this can cure it and with what I've just learned, it could be one of the issues you are dealing with right now.
     

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