Possible abscess on pullet's neck

Gizabelle

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Dec 30, 2018
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I just updated the other thread about my suspected Marek's case. Gross necropsy and histopathology findings were consistent with MD.
I find myself numb thinking about the rest of my girls even though I pretty much knew this was coming.
DH and I will have a talk when he gets home and decide what this means for Maude.
 

HeatherKellyB

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May 31, 2019
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I just updated the other thread about my suspected Marek's case. Gross necropsy and histopathology findings were consistent with MD.
I find myself numb thinking about the rest of my girls even though I pretty much knew this was coming.
DH and I will have a talk when he gets home and decide what this means for Maude.
I'm so sorry. I hate this for you and your birds. Was the actual blood test for Mareks done? I've read posts from @Banana01 about this and he explains how many things can look like MD and ends up being a possibility on many necropsy. Getting a definitive diagnosis is helpful for your remaining flock. Hopefully he'll chime in. Please know that you'll be in my thoughts and 🙏🏻
 
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Wyorp Rock

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I just updated the other thread about my suspected Marek's case. Gross necropsy and histopathology findings were consistent with MD.
I find myself numb thinking about the rest of my girls even though I pretty much knew this was coming.
DH and I will have a talk when he gets home and decide what this means for Maude.
:hugs
 

microchick

2 Dozen Chickens Past Normal!
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Not knowing is horrible. Knowing is even worse. :hugs

I know how you are feeling right now. Just remember all is not lost and there is life with MD in your flock. You are already on the path to knowing what you have to look for and what you have facing you if and when you see it.

So now it looks as though Maude is likely to have a tumor on her neck. I am so sorry for what she, you and the rest of your flock is going through. But you aren't alone and you can get through this. We are here to help and you can always PM me if you need to just vent to somebody who has been in your shoes and has strong shoulders. Hang in there.
 

Gizabelle

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Dec 30, 2018
331
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North Florida
Hello everyone. Thank you all for the kind words.
I've been putting off this post for a few days because I just wasn't ready to "talk" about it yet.
We decided to go ahead an put Maude down without first lancing/investigating the lump. This turned out to be the right call, and I'm really very glad I didn't put her through that added stress. I opened it up after she was gone and it was a tumor.

So we have 6 girls left, and have come to a decision regarding their future: We will continue to care for each and every one as long as she maintains a good quality of life. Its going to be so very hard, but I have agreed that I will not intervene when they fall ill, only be there to end suffering. It goes without saying, I think, they are a closed flock.
@microchick I've read many posts over the years where people harp on how irresponsible it is to not cull the flock in a situation such as this. I want to thank you for your words to the contrary. I will not give up on them out of hand.
I feel the need to add: this decision was also heavily influenced by our living situation. We are fairly secluded and have acreage. It might have been different if we lived in a neighborhood with other chicken keepers, but fortunately, that's not the case. I know some would still argue that it doesn't matter... biosecurity would never be certain... etc. Well, regardless, this is where we are.

Thank you all again for the support. 💜
 

Wyorp Rock

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Hello everyone. Thank you all for the kind words.
I've been putting off this post for a few days because I just wasn't ready to "talk" about it yet.
We decided to go ahead an put Maude down without first lancing/investigating the lump. This turned out to be the right call, and I'm really very glad I didn't put her through that added stress. I opened it up after she was gone and it was a tumor.

So we have 6 girls left, and have come to a decision regarding their future: We will continue to care for each and every one as long as she maintains a good quality of life. Its going to be so very hard, but I have agreed that I will not intervene when they fall ill, only be there to end suffering. It goes without saying, I think, they are a closed flock.
@microchick I've read many posts over the years where people harp on how irresponsible it is to not cull the flock in a situation such as this. I want to thank you for your words to the contrary. I will not give up on them out of hand.
I feel the need to add: this decision was also heavily influenced by our living situation. We are fairly secluded and have acreage. It might have been different if we lived in a neighborhood with other chicken keepers, but fortunately, that's not the case. I know some would still argue that it doesn't matter... biosecurity would never be certain... etc. Well, regardless, this is where we are.

Thank you all again for the support. 💜
:hugsI'm so sorry about Maude.

Thank you for sharing what you found with us.
I do think that you have made a good decision. As @microchick says, the news can be devastating, but it's not always a death sentence for all.
There's been many many folks here on BYC that have received similar sad news, but have eventually found a way to move forward with their flock. Marek's is said to be worldwide and common, so I don't think culling all would be a practical solution and I'm glad that you came to that conclusion as well.
I'm sorry that you are facing this, I do hope things start looking better for you and the remaining ladies continue to thrive. I know each one is loved very much and will be well cared for.
Please do let us know how things go and how you are getting along as well.
 

microchick

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God bless you, Gizabelle and your flock.

The Doctor that I talked to at the University of Missouri Veterinary College in Columbia's lab was an amazing man to talk to. I asked him the question about culling my flock. He told me not to, that not all of my birds would die and sure enough they didn't.

The one thing I have never figured out is why I could not breed second generation resistant birds from my first generation survivors. Although I seriously suspect that it was because while I did have surviving hens past the age of 3, none of my roosters survived to be of an age where I could consider them to be 'resistant'. I had two choices, to let my surviving hens live out their lives or cull and concentrate on the local birds that I had discovered to be resistant. It was not an easy decision to make but I looking back I made the right decision when I finally decided to cull them. True to what I read about MD carrying hens, at 3 years of age their egg output had dramatically dropped off. I had hoped for them to live out the rest of their lives free ranging but they would have nothing to do with it. I was keeping them separated from the resistant Amish birds I was raising. I was having trouble keeping weight on them, again, another trait of MD. One had a bumble foot that I could not get under control after several surgical interventions and it was growing worse. They spent their day in the coop sitting on a roost bar, not even venturing outside and I felt that they had made the decision for me at that point so a neighbor agreed to butcher them for me.

My best advice is to wait and see what happens. You may be surprised and not lose any more birds. Or you may be left with a couple. You just don't know. But if you have a surviving rooster, and by surviving the doctor told me, 3 years of age or more, along with your surviving hens, try hatching a few eggs in an incubator. Do not brood any of your surviving hens. I made that mistake before knowing I had MD in my flock and it was a disaster.

It's going to take time but if you have the same stubborn streak that I have and refuse to give up, you will figure out what is working for your birds and for you. From this point on you know what to watch for and you know that your birds will tell you if and when it is time. Don't get discouraged, just get more stubborn. I think you will do fine.
 

HeatherKellyB

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May 31, 2019
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God bless you, Gizabelle and your flock.

The Doctor that I talked to at the University of Missouri Veterinary College in Columbia's lab was an amazing man to talk to. I asked him the question about culling my flock. He told me not to, that not all of my birds would die and sure enough they didn't.

The one thing I have never figured out is why I could not breed second generation resistant birds from my first generation survivors. Although I seriously suspect that it was because while I did have surviving hens past the age of 3, none of my roosters survived to be of an age where I could consider them to be 'resistant'. I had two choices, to let my surviving hens live out their lives or cull and concentrate on the local birds that I had discovered to be resistant. It was not an easy decision to make but I looking back I made the right decision when I finally decided to cull them. True to what I read about MD carrying hens, at 3 years of age their egg output had dramatically dropped off. I had hoped for them to live out the rest of their lives free ranging but they would have nothing to do with it. I was keeping them separated from the resistant Amish birds I was raising. I was having trouble keeping weight on them, again, another trait of MD. One had a bumble foot that I could not get under control after several surgical interventions and it was growing worse. They spent their day in the coop sitting on a roost bar, not even venturing outside and I felt that they had made the decision for me at that point so a neighbor agreed to butcher them for me.

My best advice is to wait and see what happens. You may be surprised and not lose any more birds. Or you may be left with a couple. You just don't know. But if you have a surviving rooster, and by surviving the doctor told me, 3 years of age or more, along with your surviving hens, try hatching a few eggs in an incubator. Do not brood any of your surviving hens. I made that mistake before knowing I had MD in my flock and it was a disaster.

It's going to take time but if you have the same stubborn streak that I have and refuse to give up, you will figure out what is working for your birds and for you. From this point on you know what to watch for and you know that your birds will tell you if and when it is time. Don't get discouraged, just get more stubborn. I think you will do fine.
May I ask you a question about this reply? What if your rooster is over the age of 3 whenever Mareks is present? Does the age of the birds matter when MD is introduced to your flock? I'm just curious about the 3 year old mark. This is really promising in some cases. MD is awful, as you know all too well. My heart breaks for you, @Gizabelle and all of the other folks that have received that diagnosis. I honestly don't feel like automatically culling all birds is something *I* could do. It's spreading like crazy so culling a bird with resistance (which only time would tell, I'm guessing) just doesn't sit well with me, but I assume that decision is based on more than one factor, so it's not as easy as I initially thought. I applaud y'all for making the best decision for your flock. Bless you both 💗
 

microchick

2 Dozen Chickens Past Normal!
Premium Feather Member
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Dec 31, 2014
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May I ask you a question about this reply? What if your rooster is over the age of 3 whenever Mareks is present? Does the age of the birds matter when MD is introduced to your flock? I'm just curious about the 3 year old mark. This is really promising in some cases. MD is awful, as you know all too well. My heart breaks for you, @Gizabelle and all of the other folks that have received that diagnosis. I honestly don't feel like automatically culling all birds is something *I* could do. It's spreading like crazy so culling a bird with resistance (which only time would tell, I'm guessing) just doesn't sit well with me, but I assume that decision is based on more than one factor, so it's not as easy as I initially thought. I applaud y'all for making the best decision for your flock. Bless you both 💗
Thank you for your kind words, heatherkellyb.

The 3 year mark is based for me on the information that was given to me by the doctor I talked to.

Young birds for the most part experience their first intro to Marek's disease around age 7-9 weeks of age. Even vaccinated birds if they are exposed to the virus will become carriers. The virus just does not go to the stage where it will produce the tumors like the one you saw on @Gizabelle's hens neck or tumors on the internal organs.

In unvaccinated bird, Once exposed either one of two things happens. One, they succumb to the initial infection. Scissor paralysis, neurological or tumor/cancer development, or they recover from the initial infection only to develop secondary effects from the virus. Once again, I'm using Gizabelle's hen with the neck tumor as an example. If she hadn't caught that tumor, it would have kept growing until it metastasized and she would have died a slow and painful death.

This usually happens when the birds are young. If the bird is exposed to the virus, survives the initial infection and survives to the age of at least 3, it's chances of being resistant increases. I was told that the longer the bird survives the greater it's chances of being resistant and you don't want to hatch eggs from that bird until you are certain it is going to survive to an age where it can pass on it's natural immunity to the disease. And IMHO you want your rooster that you use to fertilize the eggs you hatch to be of an age where he is considered to be a resistant survivor.

Bantams that I have hatched from vaccinated parents are now 2-4 years of age. Do I suspect that the vaccinated hens have passed on their resistance to their chicks? Yes I do.

As for culling, it has been established that birds that are experiencing symptoms of the disease shed the virus in their dander at an alarming degree. Normally birds shed the virus in their dander continuously but a symptomatic bird steps up that process. So it is better to cull a bird when it is showing visual signs of the virus. For example weight loss, tumors, respiratory or cardiac symptoms, etc. Plus it is the humane thing to do so the bird does not suffer.

I hope I have answered your questions. Is it hard to do? Yes. But the cold reality concerning MD is that once you have it you always have it and are having to deal with the very real reality of either having birds die or have them develop symptoms that make it necessary to cull them to keep other birds safe and to keep the affected bird from suffering.
 

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