Possible Marek's. Please advice.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by izziebean, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. izziebean

    izziebean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My flock has been fighting Infectious Bronchitis. When one chicken got sick 2 weeks ago, my vet reminded me that symptoms could returned if the birds are under stress. A few days later, a laying hen died. That was two week ago. Then the rest of the flock seemed to be getting sick. It didn't make sense because IB was supposed to come and go with symptoms but I didn't think it would go through the flock again.

    Fast forward to a few days ago. The juvenilles who are about 17 weeks old starting acting sick. Again I brought out the antibiotics and they seemed to be doing okay except for clairebear, my blue silkie. She was very thin which is a sign of IB. I'd been weighing her and she had gone from 1.15 pounds to 1 pound. Her leg was acting funny. I thought her body was shutting down because she was dying. She eats like a fiend when I put food in front of her, but she cannot walk or sit unless I prop her up. I went to check for a broken leg a bit ago and found my silver laced polish (same age from same place as babies).. the polish was laying on her side.. sprawled out like she was sunbathing without the sun. I brought her in and I am letting her eat. Her legs are very weak. Claire is in a separate temp coop near the others.

    The advice I need is this.. do I keep them alive? I know that sounds cruel, but I have some hens that are almost a year old that I am very fond of. They have been in the same coop with the ones who are sick.. eating same food.. sharing same water. Are they all infected if this turns out to be Mareks. Will the older ones become paralyzed too? I know the rule is to separate out the ones who are sick but at this point I just want to try to save my favorites by separating them from anything that might be remotely sick.

    Claire's right leg seems a bit stronger but the left one can't hold weight at all. The polish is now standing and eats treats. She eats like a fiend, but has gone from 1.75 to 1.5 pounds in the past week. With this being a leg issue, my mind went to possibly Marek's disease.

    Can anyone advise me on how to continue?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    I once experienced Mareks in a few outside sourced birds, a few showed the typical leg paralysis, I let them hang around for about a week or two, with no improvement we culled, I did separate them to keep them from being picked on. It was limited to a few individuals, no other sourced birds were affected, I had some of the same thoughts you did and worried, but I haven't seen it again. I don't vaccinate for it. I do have turkeys that I read can carry a different strain that can give some immunity to chickens, not sure if that's a factor. We now cull anything after a week or two if I don't see improvements, and I don't use any antibiotics because I've learned over the years that those birds always die from something within a year.

    I can't tell you how to manage your birds, but I do wish you luck and hope things work out.
     
  3. izziebean

    izziebean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for this. I am very worried, but it helps to know that if one or two have it.. the whole flock isn't just going to die suddenly. Necropsy will be really important if these do not make it. Creating a bunch of different emergency coops for them atm. Going to buy some supplies for slings. I need to know if Claire can stand up or if given the opportunity to help stand.. will her head just flop over. IB can be so overwhelming for birds that only weight one pound. That could be the reason for the weakness.
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I also have Marek's in my flock and IB. I don't treat with antibiotics either.
    I have had some young birds go down with Marek's and completely recover after a few days, some that progressively got worse and eventually I've had to cull and some that have taken weeks/months of supportive care and made enough of a recovery to rejoin the flock and free range and lay eggs. They do best with companionship, so if you have two or 3 sick birds I would recommend keeping them together. Marek's has affected less than 10% of my flock... probably less than 5%. Out of 28 broody reared chicks last summer, I've only had one I'm pretty sure has Marek's (she developed a dropped wing a couple of months ago but is normal now apart from being petite) and a cockerel that has digestive problems that I suspect might be Marek's related too. I don't have any turkeys but the strain of Marek's I have seems to be mild in comparison to that which others experience. I don't isolate my sick birds as I'm of the opinion that the other birds have already been exposed. I have an infirmary/brooder within the hen house where any that are sick get supportive care, but can maintain contact with the flock. If it is Marek's the stress of reintegration can cause a secondary attack, so I like to keep them in contact as much as possible.

    Good luck with your birds. It can feel a bit overwhelming, especially when you read all the doom and gloom about Marek's but like Oldhenlikesdogs, my experience has not been nearly so bad as most of the info out there,

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
  5. SweetandSavory

    SweetandSavory Out Of The Brooder

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    We have Mareks, recently confirmed and a "rather bad strain" from what we were told. It's only been about a month but from my understanding it depends a lot on the source of the birds. Meaning I lost 5 of 8 that came from 1 place, 1 of 6 that came from another and 2 of 9 from another. It's early yet so it's very possible for those numbers to change. However my point is if it's Mareks they have all be exposed and in the end you have no idea who will get sick to the point of death. It's always hard for me to make the decision as to when their time is over but I end up just knowing that they won't get better and their feeling pain. Trust your instincts.
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Marek's is a tricky disease. It's fairly widespread, but not all birds develop lesions that lead to death. However, a flock that has Marek's will often have carriers even if only one or two develop paralysis. This means chicks in the future are at risk, but luckily there are some methods to help prevent that.

    If you have chickens that have profound paralysis, I would recommend culling them and sending them in for necropsy. Birds with paralysis will not get better, as the reason for paralysis is the formation of tumors along the sciatic nerves. It would be really helpful to know what you are dealing with (a friend thought they were dealing with Mareks but when they sent in their bird for necropsy, it turned out it was a vitamin deficiency). The rest of your flock should not just start dropping dead, though IB can have some mortalities depending on how serious your case is. My experience has been that birds who do not develop paralysis after 6-7 months will typically be ok, though I usually assume a flock is carrying the disease if others have been affected. You could always vaccinate chicks or buy older birds for your flock in the future. Both methods will help prevent future outbreaks.
     
  7. izziebean

    izziebean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In hindsight, I wish I would have vaccinated them. I don't think I will ever buy grown birds since this the IB was brought in by them.

    Let me explain Claire's condition to see if this might be paralysis or leading to paralysis. She cannot stand. If I pick her up, her legs go around and around like a dog when going into the water. When I try to place her on the ground, she favors the right leg and will put that on the ground. She no longer puts her left leg down. She lays on her left side, not her right side. She can still grab onto my finger with both feet although weaker than last week before she got sick. When I pick her up, she does this cute little thing with her feet where she curdles her toes on one side and then the other side. She does this more if I talk sweetly to her.

    ^^ is that paralysis? or the beginning of paralysis? I was trying to give her water earlier and she used both legs to push forward onto her chest and then rolled onto her left side. I was quite shocked at how much energy and how much the legs still functioned.

    I don't know. I'm treating her for wry neck just in case. I think the vitamins would be beneficial. The regularly get vitamins in their water. With this IB though, it steals everything. She has stopped losing weight, which is a good sign. I hold her up to eat and after a while, I gradually take my hands away and she sits on her own. Sometimes she'll look at my hand like 'why you no holding me'.
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    It doesn't sound good, I would give her few more days but than probably cull. I just order chicks now, I haven't had any troubles going that route, I started as most do by getting some half grown birds from here and there, doesn't work out too well sometimes, and it brings too many things in.
     
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I will give them the benefit of the doubt as long as they are able and willing to eat. I had one pullet last year that was unable to get up at all and I said I would give her a fortnight. She didn't get any better or worse during that time and I had more or less decided that after the weekend I would cull her. In the meantime I had another lame pullet that needed some tlc and I put her in the infirmary with the first one that was (I thought) nest bound.... to my horror there was a huge dust up between them.... two disabled birds fighting on the hospital ward!! However. once they settled who was boss, they both got along great and spurred each other on as regards eating.... competition is a wonderful thing.... and their confidence grew . Both eventually (over 2-3 months) recovered enough to go back out and free range with the flock and even laid a couple of eggs each a week....The pair of them were my "special" little girls and I really grew to love them. I used to carry them out to a cage on the lawn when it was fine and sunny and gradually they learned to make their own way back to the hen house on a night, until eventually they didn't need the protection of the cage through the day anymore and were confident enough to be loose with the flock. Sadly I had a fox attack last summer and those 2 girls were amongst the victims... I was gutted, but thankful for that special 6 months we had shared.

    .
     
  10. izziebean

    izziebean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was such a sweet story. Thank you for sharing. I am trying very hard with Claire.. I'm trying to make sure that I cover all bases.. including a possible ear infection. She does have respiratory issues because I can see the labored breathing signs. She is shaking her head today constantly. I hadn't seen that before because she's always be lying down. I built her a sling to sit up in. I learned yesterday how to give fluids through a catheter. So I'm feeding her every couple of hours with gatorade. I've been told that Pedialyte might work better? After liquids, she perks up and eats like crazy. This is so different from the birds that were so sick with the IB. I'm not sure how she likes sitting on my desk beside me but at least she's not lying by herself in the hospital coop. I want to put a friend in with her, but I think she got so sick from me putting her in with Bridget right before Bridget died. So I'm cautious about who I would sacrifice and scared I'll end up back here in two weeks with the bird I put in with her.
     

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