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Please help! Marek's Disease?!?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Harmony Homestead, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Harmony Homestead

    Harmony Homestead In the Brooder

    May 21, 2017
    Hello and thank you in advance for your help.

    Please forgive the length of this post, but I want to be sure to get all the details so that hopefully someone can help.

    My question involves a chicken, named Eleven that was recently egg bound. She had not laid for a few days, but we've had high temperatures which I read can affect egg laying. We've also had a substantial amount of rain which according to one post any extreme weather can at times affect egg laying. We've been watching our girl carefully. We have never had an egg bound chicken before we were doing our best to look for signs. She wasn't really frequenting the nesting boxes and didn't have the "penguin" waddle. She seemed to lay more in the run, but it was hot and I caught a few of our other chickens doing this as well.

    Late yesterday afternoon (day 4 without an egg), she finally went into the nesting box twice, but no egg. We decided to give it a night and see what the morning would bring because she was moving fine and her pooing had not been affected. Well, this morning there was no egg and she would only stand on her right leg. Her left was folded under her with curled fingers. She still used it to scratch, but would not put weight on it.

    Then the panic set in. We just had an Easter Egger that we had to cull because of Marek's. The Easter Egger had the more classic muscle symptoms. Her legs would do splits and she had an increasing lack of muscle control. Other than also being the left leg, Eleven's leg movements are very different than the Easter Egger.

    Not wanting to give into fear, I decided to first deal with the egg bound problem. I soaked her in the tub while massaging her abdomen. I definitely felt an egg and I felt it as it shifted a little! As I massaged her, her leg also seemed to relax and she began to stand on it. I'm not sure how much weight was on it, but it was relaxed and in the appropriate standing position. She even flew out of the tub and landed on the edge when I turned to get her a towel.

    I gave her some calm alone time and then went to check on her 30 mins later. Sure enough we had an egg! Because I had seen her use her leg after the egg had moved and an egg had passed I excitedly thought we were out of the woods. I decided to see if she could run around the yard before putting her in with the other girls, just in case as Marek's was still lurking in my brain. However, when I took her out she wouldn't put her leg down. She hopped around the yard on her right leg. I wanted to see what would happen in the tub so after checking that the water temp was still ok, I put her back in. Sure enough her leg relaxed and she "stood" on it.

    What is happening with our girl?!?! Is it possible to get nerve damage from a trapped egg? Or is this Marek's? Here are some important facts to know:

    * The chicken in question is just over a year old.
    * The infected Easter Egger never shared a coop with this chicken, however, both coops were close because we were beginning the integration process.
    * We thoroughly cleaned both coops with a bleach water solution.

    Please help. Because we live in the city finding a vet isn't really possible. Everyone we've called has quoted us the exotic bird price which is over $100 just to get in the door. Beyond not having the money for such an expenditure, I'm not sure I trust the advice of a vet who considers a chicken exotic.

    Thanks again.

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Funny that I recently saw something similar on a vet show on tv. There was a hen with a large egg in her, apparently it was pushing on a nerve and affected her legs similar to your hen. Could be she just needs a few days to normalize or could be another egg coming. Beyond that I have no advice, except to wait and see, and not necessarily worry about Mareks as either she has that or doesn't, not really nothing you can do about Mareks except cull when your chicken becomes too weak or paralyzed, so until that happens worrying about it doesn't help and just stresses you out.
  3. Harmony Homestead

    Harmony Homestead In the Brooder

    May 21, 2017
    Thank you so much! I've never been so grateful for someone else's tv habitats! Thank you for sharing. At least I know there are other possibilities for this symptom other than Marek's. I will try to remain hopeful.
    oldhenlikesdogs likes this.
  4. Marek's Disease is cancer that is caused by a virus and Marek's can be expressed in or by any organ or part of an organ in a chickens body from the tip top of the comb to the souls of a chickens' feet.

    It is pointless to isolate a chicken with Marek's Disease because it is spread by duff or the castoff sheaths from the blood feathers of an infected bird and it is spread by the wind. About the only action that will prevent an infected bird from spreading this disease is to cull it and bury the body deep. Sorry, but I don't think that enough of us properly understand the nature of Marek's Disease.
  5. Harmony Homestead

    Harmony Homestead In the Brooder

    May 21, 2017
    Unfortunately, whatever it was we lost her during the night. She was well loved and will be sadly missed. Thank you for your help.
  6. RoosterCogburn7

    RoosterCogburn7 Chicken Atlas Farm NPIP 74-4231

    Dec 5, 2014
    If all your chickens start dying off then it is probably Merek's. One loss by what is apparently an egg bound chicken is not a case of Merek's. Don't panic yet.
  7. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    I'm sorry for your loss.

    My guess is it was egg peritonitis or internal problems.

    But even if Mareks, all your flick won't die. Different breeds have different resistance as does the individual bird.

    In the typical back yard set up, you may lose a few, but others never show symptoms.

    Keep a variety flock. Choose some birds that have been vaccinated as chicks for replacements (though the vaccine is imperfect and merely prevents tumors from the common strains). Breed from those that show natural resistance.

    Mareks is a changing virus and the best thing is diversity which most backyard flock owners naturally do.

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