Paralyzed hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by wildrose41, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. wildrose41

    wildrose41 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 2 rhody/sussex 6 months old that have the same symptoms. The 1st one that showed signs of illness was acting strangely. She would stagger around the yard or limp and I thought she had hurt her leg. I couldn't find any signs of an injury so continued to observe her. She continued to deteriorate to a point where she couldn't walk at all. I isolated her from the others and made her comfortable. She had severe diarrhea then, but has improved. She's happy as can be, eats and drinks, but can't walk. She has been like this for the past week now with no marked improvement in the paralysis. I thought it might be Coccidia so have been treating her with Sulmet. The 6 day regiment is up tomorrow and one chicken expert said to wait a week and see if there is any marked improvement and if not to start her on antibiotics.
    Now her brood mate has come down with similar symptoms, but her paralysis is a wing and leg and lethargy. I have put them both in isolation together.
    I have read up on Marek's Disease, but the 1st hen's legs are not splayed like the photos show. She just shifts her wait and uses her wings to scoot around dragging her legs with her. Most of the time they are stretched out in front of her. The second hen shows the tall tale signs with the paralyzed wing and leg.
    Could it be poisoning of some sort? It it was wouldn't it be out of the 1st hen's system by now after a week's time? HELP! THANK YOU.
     
  2. tracilee014

    tracilee014 New Egg

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    Hi Wildrose41,
    It seems we have chickens with the same syptoms and from everything I've read so far, Marek's disease sounds the most probable. As I'm new to backyard chickens I have a lot to learn yet and don't pretend that I can offer solutions to your problem but I'm going to be watching this thread closely. We had a young hen stop walking for us the other day, seemed at first like she hurt her leg somehow. So I put her in her own box and made her comfortable with straw around her holding her up. The following day the paralysis appeared to have spread to her back so I was concerned something had gotten into the coop at night and hurt her. Not wanting to see her suffer we went ahead and put her down but now I have 2 more young hens doing the same thing. They appear to be "high stepping" in order to try to walk, have little balance at all and one of them falls over if you don't sit her facing the right direction. If it is Marek's, is it safe to assume that my whole flock is infected? The breeder we bought them from said she vaccinated them young but if I understand correctly, even vaccination doesn't completely cover them if you get an infection in your flock. My other question is, with Marek's, will the grey iris show early or is that a long term sypmtom. I wish you luck with your girls.. although they are supposed to be purposeful, it's difficult not to get attached to them and very hard to watch what appears to be suffering.
     
  3. wildrose41

    wildrose41 Out Of The Brooder

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    My girls are still alive this morning. Hollie, the first hen seems to be a little stronger, but she's just skin and bones. She's drinking but not eating. Hallie, the second hen has gotten worse. She's not walking at all now and won't eat or drink. I'm making up some Ricket's Diet feed to see if that will give them back some more vigor. I made up some Electolytes water, but they didn't seem too crazy about it. All I seem to be able to do is make them comfortable and hold they talon. :(
     
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I kind of disagree with the Mareks. Some do not match what the description says in my chicken book and web research. I would consider taking a stool sample to a aviary specialist and follow the advise they give you if you have a lot of birds at stake here. If not and you birds do not mean much to you (not being harsh) it is time to considering culling an option.

    Classic Marek's disease causes paralysis of one or more limbs. It attacks nerve primarily Signs of difficulty breathing or dilation of the crop may occur. Besides lesions in the peripheral nerves, there are frequently tumors on or in the skin, skeletal muscle, & organs. Organs that are commonly affected include the ovary, spleen, liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, and adrenal glands.

    Best of luck I love my girls and a bird vet would be my personal choice but on this forum there is a wide variety of opinions. Some very cold and pragmatic and others very loving and this is one of my pets/family. tough call?

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    edit; forgot to welcome
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  5. justuschickens59

    justuschickens59 VA Royal Blues

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    How old are the hens? How long have you had them, and where did you get them? The symptoms sound a lot like Marek's. Not all birds display all the symptoms, some only display a few symptoms. Do they sit all puffed up? Do they hold their wings out to the side when they walk, like they are using them to balance themselves? When they sit, are their feet out in front of them?

    If you do have to cull, or they pass, you might want to try getting a necropsy. This can tell you for sure if it is Marek's and you will know how to proceed with the rest of your flock.
     
  6. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sorry to say that I agree with the Marek's diagnosis. The only way to get the definitive answer is to euthanize a bird and have it necropsied. I have been battling this horrible disease for almost 6 months now and the 'symptoms' often found in chicken books and even in the Merck's manual does not cover the broad range of symptoms that this disease can cause. Wildrose, your hens are exhibiting symptoms identical to that of my birds. Not all, but a few. And, I have had a diagnosis of Marek's from a necropsy.

    It's a hard thing to do but if I were you, I would have one necropsied and get your answer. That way, at least, you would have a diagnosis and know what you are dealing with.

    Marek's disease is a horrible, nasty virus that attacks in so many different ways that it is just shocking. Read some of the Marek's threads on here and you will find that often times this is the case. The vaccine is only 90% effective and I am beginning to even doubt that it is that high. As it is, the vaccine only protects against the development of the Marek's tumors, it does not prevent the paralysis or the wasting symptoms that commonly are seen with this disease.

    At present, I am using probiotics, vitamin E and poly vi sol to try and combate/prevent the spread. I am also using bleach, oxine and quaratine procedures to keep in at bay. I believe that at present I have lost over 50% of my birds....it is devastating :(

    I am so sorry that this is possibly the cause of your hens' illnesses....

    Most states have labs that will do the necropsies for a nominal fee or free. Good luck with whatever you decide to do...my heart goes out to both of you having these problems.
     
  7. wildrose41

    wildrose41 Out Of The Brooder

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    I also have 3 other chickens that have showed no signs of paralysis so it's hard to believe it's Marek's. I'm now starting to believe it could be Botulism contracted during our horrible rainstorms/flooding. These two are the smallest of the 5 and stick together like bookends so I can only assume they got into something. I've gone around my yard and cleaned up the veggie garden they were just loving, to almost to death unfortunately. I am taking them to a vet today so hopefully I can get some answers. Thanks.
    https://transact.nt.gov.au/ebiz/dbi...F6A69256EFE004F670B/$file/792.pdf?OpenElement

    I've also read about getting water into their crop to help with hydration, but HOW do you do this?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  8. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck with the vet! Please let us know the outcome, thanks!
     
  9. wildrose41

    wildrose41 Out Of The Brooder

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    After writing the above message, I went to check on the hens and Hollie was non-responsive. She died a short time later. It breaks my heart! She was my favorite little girl. She lived such a short life. I will miss her.
     
  10. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am so sorry to hear about your loss....these guys really steal your heart quickly [​IMG]
     

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