Paralysis (Possible Marek's Disease), Treatment, Cure?

Lola<3

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2017
14
11
34
My little girl Gina, a 3 yr old Red Star, was unwell, sitting in the coop on a sunny day on her roost with bright green diarrhea beneath her. I immediately isolated her. Within one or two days she had little to no strength or balance, easily falling hard onto her keel with each attempt to stand. (Note: keeping her on a well cushioned area was important, as damage/bruising to the keel can occur otherwise). She had no interest in eating/drinking (which also may have explained the neon green poop). I initially fed her mashed boiled egg--a full yolk, with some minced egg white (mashed with a fork), mixed together vigorously in a shot glass, adding a pinch of water if too thick for syringe suck-up. Note: egg is only boiled for 3-4 minutes with egg yolk almost raw, or at least bright yellow and mushy. I began giving her my go-to for many chicken ailments: 20ppm colloidal silver, mesosilver, (I use it for myself as well) , dosed at 1.25ml 3 times a day away from food, also using a syringe.

She had her own cut box with hay to lie comfortably in, with enough cushioning:

IMG_3830.JPG


I also made a full body sling (idea taken from other members--thank you!), enabling her to have her legs stretched, and to use whatever occasional leg movement she could, with the support of the sling.


IMG_3736.JPG


I soon upgraded to the below for better inner air circulation and easy cleaning/poop collection:

IMG_3774.JPG IMG_3776.JPG

Seeing that her recovery would take time, combined with a persistent disinterest in food, I purchased Kaytee's Exact Handfeeding Formula (containing essential enzymes, probiotics, and nutrition) and fed her appx 1.5 scoops a day, morning and night while providing her with water, always using a syringe, throughout the day (about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup a day). Her poop began to solidify. We allowed her to spend time outdoors as it was warm, and kept her indoors at night.

After about a week, I thought to add (lypospheric) Vitamin C, 500mg - 1000mg/day given in divided doses. If she had diahrrea, I reduced the C dose. (Note: lypospheric C reduces the chance of C induced loose stool in humans that other forms tend to cause at higher doses).

She began preening again, and so I kept hopeful..

And little by little after 2 weeks.. !

IMG_3807.JPG


Her balance was still fragile but day by day it improved: she'd take several steps before sitting, she could preen more, and finally lift her leg to scratch her face!

IMG_3826.JPG IMG_3828.JPG

When her appetite returned, as I would try to give her pellets occasionally to see, I noticed she could not pick up food with her beak. She would miss, and it would take a bit of time. This has persisted but has gotten a bit better. I now make sure to offer them to her in a small container as opposed to scattered on the ground, where she can get them with a lot less effort. She also began drinking on her own again.

IMG_3932.JPG


It is about one month and she continues to make progress. She eats more, drinks, walks, preens. Her energy levels can still improve. It seems she has spacial awareness issues as she walks over her food/water. Or perhaps it's her eyesight. I continue to give her colloidal silver occasionally, and the occasional vitamin C.

Will post an update soon.

References I found helpful:

http://www.compassionblooms.com/healed-sick-chicken-detailed-instructions/

Vitamin C:
https://www.dsm.com/markets/anh/en_US/Compendium/poultry/vitamin_C.html

Also, due to her having been ill and not having dust bathed, I've noticed her (white) mite issue has worsened. I've applied diatatomaceous earth throughout her feathers and will keep an eye on them.

I hope this helps someone!
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
Jun 23, 2013
8,944
12,626
967
The Big Island/Hawaii
Use a pyrethrin spray for the mites & you can also treat her sleep & areas she's kept. DE is a good preventative/deterrent but some say not to get rid of mites. Why the Vitamin C? Is her poop color still "green"? Sounds like she's on the road to recovery but perhaps some Nutri Drench & Vitamin B Complex (riboflavin deficiency). I've used PolyVisol (baby) vitamins w/out the iron when I had a chick developed paralysis & toes curled (CTP; curly toed paralysis), I also taped it's toes so it wouldn't curl. Took 2wks before he was strutting his stuff & cocky as heck. Never could add him back with his brood, tiny as he was, he was "spunky".
 

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Mar 19, 2011
7,355
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NW Oregon
I'm glad your gal has improved, and thank you for posting your TLC care regiment. I'm sure it will spur and help guide others who want to aid an ailing pet.

Just to help others who read this, there is no cure for Marek's. The most you can hope for is remission.

Marek's is a permanent viral infection that produces tumors. Where those tumors grow are determined by the type of virus. It can be in the skin, in the eye, or internally. The tumors can grow slowly or quickly. Many birds have a latent form that activates when their immune system is low. It can produce slow wasting away. (But so can many other things).

RSL's are notorious for internal cancers and even strokes as they are high production birds which can "burn out" younger. They are not bred for longevity but fast maturity and productivity. Three years of age is actually getting older for many RSL lines as commercial industry replaces them after the second molt. (Though some RSL with good care do make it into older age).

Without lab work, and in the case of Marek's, a necropsy (which would obviously not be possible until death), there is no way of knowing what she has. With her symptoms, my guess would be a stroke.

But it does show some TLC and concerted effort can go a long way to help them gain better mobility and strength from an unknown ailment.

Since you love her as a pet, I'm sure she will have a pleasant home for her geriatric years.

Good luck with her and her continued improvement.

LofMc
 

Lola<3

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2017
14
11
34
Use a pyrethrin spray for the mites & you can also treat her sleep & areas she's kept. DE is a good preventative/deterrent but some say not to get rid of mites. Why the Vitamin C? Is her poop color still "green"? Sounds like she's on the road to recovery but perhaps some Nutri Drench & Vitamin B Complex (riboflavin deficiency). I've used PolyVisol (baby) vitamins w/out the iron when I had a chick developed paralysis & toes curled (CTP; curly toed paralysis), I also taped it's toes so it wouldn't curl. Took 2wks before he was strutting his stuff & cocky as heck. Never could add him back with his brood, tiny as he was, he was "spunky".
Thank you for the info! and what a cute chick. He has a great mom : )

I checked Gina today and it seems harder to find any mites. There are several I found that seemed dried up, and others that were less mobile and seem to fall off easily. I did put the (food grade) DE at the base of her feathers using a little spoon, and then rubbed it around, taking my time to ensure as much coverage as possible. I will be preparing her an area of dirt mixed with some DE (not an excessive amount as I realize it may not be good for inhalation) for dust bathing, hoping this will help, particularly if done often. I will inform on how that goes. Otherwise I may try out the spray!

Her poop looks great. After treatment (colloidal silver + vitamin C) with the EXACT formula diet, it mostly returned to normal.

Regarding VITAMIN C:

"Although vitamin C can be synthesized by poultry, the synthesis is reduced or the requirements for vitamin C are increased during times of stress. During times of environmental, nutritional or pathological stress, the addition of ascorbic acid to the birds’ feed or to their drinking water appears to alleviate many of the undesirable physical consequences of exposure (e.g., chronic adrenocortical activation, immunosuppression, weight loss and reduced egg production) to single or multiple concurrent stressful stimuli such as high environmental temperature, beak trimming, coccidiosis challenge and transportation (Pardue and Thaxton, 1986; Satterlee et al., 1989; Kutlu and Forbes, 1993; McKee and Harrison, 1995; Jones, 1996; Whitehead and Keller, 2003, Roussan et al., 2008)."

Reference:
https://www.dsm.com/markets/anh/en_US/Compendium/poultry/vitamin_C.html

Additionally,
In looking for natural therapies for my mother's shingles (Herpes Zoster virus), I learned that Vitamin C in high enough doses could potentially eradicate them.

"Vitamin C has a general virus-inactivating effect, with herpes viruses being only one of many types of virus that vitamin C has neutralized in the test tube or has eradicated in an infected person (Levy, 2002). As with the inactivation seen with other viruses mixed with vitamin C in the test tube (in vitro), two early studies were consistent with the clinical results later seen with vitamin C in herpes infections. Vitamin C inactivated herpes viruses when mixed with them in the test tube (Holden and Resnick, 1936; Holden and Molloy, 1937)."

Reference: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v09n17.shtml

Though the Marek's virus does not relate to humans, it is a herpes strain, and so I thought, perhaps this applies here as well? I figured I'd try.

In terms of which form of vitamin C to treat with, I chose the lypospheric form as others would likely cause diarrhea (I assume, as this is the case with humans), from which she was already in the process of recovering from. And in terms of dose, I just used my judgement from articles I've read as well as from personal (human) experience. And I kept a close eye on her. I'm no doctor, but I tried my best!
 

Lola<3

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2017
14
11
34
I'm glad your gal has improved, and thank you for posting your TLC care regiment. I'm sure it will spur and help guide others who want to aid an ailing pet.

Just to help others who read this, there is no cure for Marek's. The most you can hope for is remission.

Marek's is a permanent viral infection that produces tumors. Where those tumors grow are determined by the type of virus. It can be in the skin, in the eye, or internally. The tumors can grow slowly or quickly. Many birds have a latent form that activates when their immune system is low. It can produce slow wasting away. (But so can many other things).

RSL's are notorious for internal cancers and even strokes as they are high production birds which can "burn out" younger. They are not bred for longevity but fast maturity and productivity. Three years of age is actually getting older for many RSL lines as commercial industry replaces them after the second molt. (Though some RSL with good care do make it into older age).

Without lab work, and in the case of Marek's, a necropsy (which would obviously not be possible until death), there is no way of knowing what she has. With her symptoms, my guess would be a stroke.

But it does show some TLC and concerted effort can go a long way to help them gain better mobility and strength from an unknown ailment.

Since you love her as a pet, I'm sure she will have a pleasant home for her geriatric years.

Good luck with her and her continued improvement.

LofMc
Thank you so much for your feedback. I honestly wonder if Marek's really is incurable. As with humans, many illnesses are called incurable only to have cures be discovered in the alternative medical realm!

Yes, I've become sadly aware that many of these girls are often afflicted with illnesses like cancer, and that their lives are generally short-lived because of breeding : (

I'll continue monitoring and treating Gina. While I don't expect a full recovery, so long as she can enjoy her life, even in the smallest of ways, I'm not too worried : )
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
13,585
17,959
782
California's Redwood Coast
@Lola<3 Hi,welcome to BYC! :frow

Wow, you did great helping that girl recover! :highfive:

I agree, Permethrin spray works well, is affordable, easy to use, and safe to eat eggs with no withdrawal if used according to directions.

Please note, I am in the anti DE camp. Not just because it's dangerous to breath, but because it is strip mined and over rated as a miracle cure for many things. Anyways, I realize we all will do what we believe works for us and that's OK! For one thing, I wonder if being rubbed on the chicken skin creates like micro derm abrasion for them and just something else for them to recover from? Another thing is let me share this link from a fairly reputable site, about the second paragraph is regarding DE used to control parasites...
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html

@Lady of McCamley I hear your sentiment about sex links all the time. What I wonder is... if it's a cross between a RIR rooster and a White rock... both hardy breeds, why does crossing them suddenly make them notorious for issues? Same question for BSL.. RIR cross BR, are they not both hardy breeds? And are they just more notorious for issues because it gets reported more? Been wondering this for a while, thanks for sharing your thoughts. :confused:
 
Mar 19, 2011
7,355
5,265
492
NW Oregon
@EggSighted4Life
" I hear your sentiment about sex links all the time. What I wonder is... if it's a cross between a RIR rooster and a White rock... both hardy breeds, why does crossing them suddenly make them notorious for issues? Same question for BSL.. RIR cross BR, are they not both hardy breeds? And are they just more notorious for issues because it gets reported more? Been wondering this for a while, thanks for sharing your thoughts. :confused:[/QUOTE]

If you take a top notch breeder quality RIR and breed that over a top notch breeder quality White Rock, yes, you should get a strong bird with hybrid vigor.

However, that is not what the hatcheries do. They select year after year to develop lines for egg production. Long term longevity is not the industry's concern as most commercial practices retire out (cull) birds over 2 years of age to avoid treating common illnesses/parasites that crop up after that.

So, in time, the hatcheries have selected for birds that mature quickly and lay madly for 2 years.

I have had quite a few RSL/GSL and overall have seen them consistently downgrade substantially after 2 years of age. By 4, most of mine have succumbed to some illness, most likely ovarian cancer or such.

So the hybrid vigor you are expecting hasn't happened as those lines have been commercially tweaked for a very specific purpose that also has specific side effects.

Another example is the Cornish Cross. While you would think just a simple cross of Cornish game with other breeds, they have been mathematically selected for very fast, abnormal, development. Their body shape has also been selected for abnormally large breast muscle development. My guess is they have been bred selectively choosing birds with over active pituitary glands that produces abnormally fast growth. That of course causes side effects. The Cornish Cross is a hard bird to raise beyond its intended slaughter date without specific care and management.

The hatcheries work years to perfect their particular lines. Some lines are hardier than others, but as any animal breeder knows, when you focus on one particular feature, there is always something else that is affected and/or lost.

LofMc
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
Jun 23, 2013
8,944
12,626
967
The Big Island/Hawaii
Thank you for the info! and what a cute chick. He has a great mom : )

I checked Gina today and it seems harder to find any mites. There are several I found that seemed dried up, and others that were less mobile and seem to fall off easily. I did put the (food grade) DE at the base of her feathers using a little spoon, and then rubbed it around, taking my time to ensure as much coverage as possible. I will be preparing her an area of dirt mixed with some DE (not an excessive amount as I realize it may not be good for inhalation) for dust bathing, hoping this will help, particularly if done often. I will inform on how that goes. Otherwise I may try out the spray!

Her poop looks great. After treatment (colloidal silver + vitamin C) with the EXACT formula diet, it mostly returned to normal.

Regarding VITAMIN C:

"Although vitamin C can be synthesized by poultry, the synthesis is reduced or the requirements for vitamin C are increased during times of stress. During times of environmental, nutritional or pathological stress, the addition of ascorbic acid to the birds’ feed or to their drinking water appears to alleviate many of the undesirable physical consequences of exposure (e.g., chronic adrenocortical activation, immunosuppression, weight loss and reduced egg production) to single or multiple concurrent stressful stimuli such as high environmental temperature, beak trimming, coccidiosis challenge and transportation (Pardue and Thaxton, 1986; Satterlee et al., 1989; Kutlu and Forbes, 1993; McKee and Harrison, 1995; Jones, 1996; Whitehead and Keller, 2003, Roussan et al., 2008)."

Reference:
https://www.dsm.com/markets/anh/en_US/Compendium/poultry/vitamin_C.html

Additionally,
In looking for natural therapies for my mother's shingles (Herpes Zoster virus), I learned that Vitamin C in high enough doses could potentially eradicate them.

"Vitamin C has a general virus-inactivating effect, with herpes viruses being only one of many types of virus that vitamin C has neutralized in the test tube or has eradicated in an infected person (Levy, 2002). As with the inactivation seen with other viruses mixed with vitamin C in the test tube (in vitro), two early studies were consistent with the clinical results later seen with vitamin C in herpes infections. Vitamin C inactivated herpes viruses when mixed with them in the test tube (Holden and Resnick, 1936; Holden and Molloy, 1937)."

Reference: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v09n17.shtml

Though the Marek's virus does not relate to humans, it is a herpes strain, and so I thought, perhaps this applies here as well? I figured I'd try.

In terms of which form of vitamin C to treat with, I chose the lypospheric form as others would likely cause diarrhea (I assume, as this is the case with humans), from which she was already in the process of recovering from. And in terms of dose, I just used my judgement from articles I've read as well as from personal (human) experience. And I kept a close eye on her. I'm no doctor, but I tried my best!

Appreciate the info links to Vitamin C very informative. My Mom (as well as other older family members) had/has shingles, will get her on a Vitamin C regime. Thank you for your research sharing! Hope your girl continues to improve.
 

Lola<3

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2017
14
11
34
Appreciate the info links to Vitamin C very informative. My Mom (as well as other older family members) had/has shingles, will get her on a Vitamin C regime. Thank you for your research sharing! Hope your girl continues to improve.
You're welcome! Dr. Levy has a great article on shingles & vitamin C:

https://www.peakenergy.com/articles/nh20131003/Reverse-shingles-with-vitamin-C

In addition to having had a couple of vitamin C IV's, my mother also took lypospheric vitamin C, about 10-12 grams in divided doses throughout the day. She also took L-Lysine, also documented to stop the replication of the virus, taking 3,000mg per day. And finally, she bathed manuka honey (medical grade--manuka doctor 24) on her lesions and set it with gauze so it wouldn't run (Dr. Mercola suggests this, but a basic search will reveal it is good as well). It took about two weeks, but her lesions have dried up, although she still is experiencing some burning and pain but not nearly as bad. I hope this helps!
 

Lola<3

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2017
14
11
34
@Lola<3 Hi,welcome to BYC! :frow

Wow, you did great helping that girl recover! :highfive:

I agree, Permethrin spray works well, is affordable, easy to use, and safe to eat eggs with no withdrawal if used according to directions.

Please note, I am in the anti DE camp. Not just because it's dangerous to breath, but because it is strip mined and over rated as a miracle cure for many things. Anyways, I realize we all will do what we believe works for us and that's OK! For one thing, I wonder if being rubbed on the chicken skin creates like micro derm abrasion for them and just something else for them to recover from? Another thing is let me share this link from a fairly reputable site, about the second paragraph is regarding DE used to control parasites...
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html

@Lady of McCamley I hear your sentiment about sex links all the time. What I wonder is... if it's a cross between a RIR rooster and a White rock... both hardy breeds, why does crossing them suddenly make them notorious for issues? Same question for BSL.. RIR cross BR, are they not both hardy breeds? And are they just more notorious for issues because it gets reported more? Been wondering this for a while, thanks for sharing your thoughts. :confused:
Thanks for filling me in. Maybe I'll switch to the pyrethrin spray. I briefly read that permethrin is the synthetic version of pyrethrin. Please inform on which is best.. thank you!
 

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