Paralysis, bloody poop, Please help me Diagnose!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CSisley, May 21, 2012.

  1. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    Aug 25, 2011
    Eastern NC
    I have 5 chicks that I hatched in an incubator 19 days ago so they are almost 3 weeks old. Two of them have suddenly become partially paralyzed in their legs which was discovered last night. They can't seem to walk and if they do, it's usually backwards although I've seen them stumble forward occasionally. Most of their poop looks normal but this morning I saw that one of them had left a small poop that looked mostly bloody, more than just intestinal lining being shed, I'm sure of it. I've isolated them together with their own food and water. The water has Avia charge 2000 and this morning I added amprolium to it after I saw the bloody poop. One chick willingly eats and drinks with enthusiasm and the other doesn't seem interested at all. The chicks, when they were healthy, were being housed near adults so cross contamination through dust in air is a definite possibility.

    I've had a similar case happen with a hatchery chick that was about two months old. She became suddenly paralyzed but would still eat and drink and after about a month she got better. I don't remember her having bloody poop though, I'm pretty sure it was normal.

    The bloody poop makes me think coccidiosis but I don't believe that causes sudden paralysis. The paralysis makes me think mereks, but I've never heard of mereks causing bloody poop. There are no other symptoms presently. Normal weight, no labored breathing, no discharges etc.

    Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  2. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

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    North Eastern Arizona
    I had a few chicks with the same symptoms, and I lost one because I didn't treat it in time. A friend of mine recommended that I use Poly Vi Sol without iron to treat the remaining chicks, and it worked. I just gave them each a drop in the morning and at night until their symptoms went away. I would just give them their chick food and water, and some Poly Vi Sol. See if that helps.
     
  3. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    Thanks Azenhen, I've got some polyvisol on hand without iron; I gave them each a drop last night so I'll continue that. So you saw bloody poop and paralysis? About how long did it take for you to see an improvement and total recovery?
     
  4. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

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    North Eastern Arizona

    It took just a couple of days to start seeing improvement.
     
  5. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

    744
    9
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    Jul 12, 2010
    North Eastern Arizona
  6. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    Yes I've seen that link, it is very helpful. Before seeing those pictures I thought the intestinal lining poops weren't normal but I can recognize them now. I'm afraid the poop I saw this morning was a little more than intestinal lining but I hope I'm wrong. It looked more red than pink. I'll know more when I see more poop.
     
  7. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    Aug 25, 2011
    Eastern NC
    UPDATE:
    I could use some more suggestions/advice.
    One chick has gotten worse. His legs have become rigidly straight and he will do a complete split position, both legs spread way out, straight out from his sides. Not one in front and one in back like the classical Merak's position I've seen but straight out from his sides. This stresses him out and he tries to flap his wings to right himself but his legs just won't listen to him. He eats a little but not nearly enough and he went the whole night without making one poo.

    The other chick seems much less stressed. He eats and drinks in abundance and left about 7 or 8 poos overnight which I discovered this morning. They also look to be very normal, no blood. His legs tend to splay out from his sides too but he can move them a little and they aren't ridged straight.

    I've made them slings that hold them a little off the ground so their legs don't splay out and I have positioned them both in front of food and water. I've also continued to give them drops of polyvisol without iron. I also do a little physical therapy with their legs which seems to soften the rigidity for a little while.

    I'm leaning towards thinking they have Merak's disease but they are so young! They are only 20 days old today and I've never heard of Merak's striking so early, heck it's life cycle is longer than that!

    They both started showing symptoms the same exact day, as if they were both exposed at the same time, could it be a toxin? If so, why weren't the other chicks affected?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  8. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

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    Jul 12, 2010
    North Eastern Arizona
    How's the are the chicks doing today? Do you really think it's Mareks? This is what I read about the symptoms of the disease. It "affects birds under 20 weeks primarily; causes tumors externally and internally; paralysis; iris of the eye turns gray, doesn't react to light". It is contracted through by "inhaling shed skin cells or feather dust from other infected birds".

    Could they have spraddled legs?

    http://www.poultryhelp.com/spraddle.html

    Also, try giving them three drops a day of the Poly Vi Sol.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  9. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    Aug 25, 2011
    Eastern NC
    Both chicks had a full crop yesterday evening and the one that hadn't been eating had pooped a few good poops. One is a silkie and one is a Brahma so I'll refer to them that way from now on. I was pretty pleased until this morning when I saw that the Brahma seemed rather lethargic and was taking deeper breaths than normal. The Brahma is the one that's been eating much less. His legs have absolutely no mobility and they are very ridged as if the muscles are in constant contraction. I can also see him twitch occasionally especially if he gets addled.

    The silkie is in much better condition. He has a very big appetite and poops a lot. He's very alert and his legs have a little mobility in them and they aren't ridged.

    I really wish they had spraddle legs because that would be much easier to treat but that's not the problem. At this point if I had to make an educated guess I would say they have Avian Encephalomyelitis because the age range is a better match and the symptoms appear to match especially with the twitching I've observed. It could be marek's but marek's doesn't usually strike chicks that young based on what I've researched.

    I've continued to give the polyvisol drops and a few other things. I'll continue to treat them the best way I know how and I'll just have to wait and see what develops. I've considered putting the Brahma down but the Silkie immediately gets upset if he can't see the Brahma so for his sake I'll give the Brahma some more time. I've never had to put a chick down and I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that.
     
  10. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    Aug 25, 2011
    Eastern NC
    Well I haven't seen any more bloody poop but I had another silkie come down this morning with the same type issue; that makes three altogether. Just last night I was able to take Silkie #1 out of the sling because he is starting to be able to walk again. The Brahma isn't showing any improvement. This evening I'm going to disinfect the brooder and move it and the remaining healthy chicks to a new location. Hopefully if they aren't infected already it will keep them from having the same problem.
     

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