Possible Marek's, please help (Long post)

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Chickythom, May 29, 2017.

  1. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello all, I am new to BYC but have been reading the forum for months. My husband and I purchased 27 three day old buff orpingtons chicks from a quality breeder we found on the sustainable poultry network early March 2016. They are all unvaccinated, organically fed, and are pastured raised in our yard with two chicken tractors and an electrified poultry net. All have been thriving, until this week (age 12-13 weeks).

    History/problem:
    Monday my husband noticed one of our cockerels walking a little off. He thought perhaps an injury and left him with the others as he seemed to be fine otherwise. Tuesday he was worse and we isolated him in our home. Wednesday morning I noticed a pullet showing similar symptoms and brought her into the house too. Thursday I took them both to a vet who sees exotics who agreed to assess the birds as I fear Marek's may be in our flock. He felt they showed signs of generalized weakness and thought perhaps heavy metal ingestion or botulism. I doubted both but nonetheless walked though the enclosed area as we had moved our crew onto new grass a day before symptoms began and removed any possible sources of exposure. Friday morning all the outside crew appeared to be fine. By 8pm when I went out to check on the flock before bed I found a deceased pullet. I tried to contact the vet to obtain instructions on how to preserve the remains for necropsy but they did not call back until Saturday. By then my husband had buried the poor gal. Neither of us felt knowledgeable enough to attempt a necropsy on her, particularly given rigormortis had set in. Fast forward to today, a week later, and my two indoor companions seem much the same.

    Signs/symptoms:The cockerel can stand but gait is poor. He was able to roost on the side of his bin but predominantly rests inside on the pine shavings. He will eat some eggs/yougurt/nutritional yeast bur tends to disregard the commercial feed/mealworms. He readily drinks from a spoon for me
    The affected pullet prefers the mealworms and commercial feed and ignores my other lavish offerings. She is less receptive to drinking but does comply. She is able to stand but it is minimal and walking is a true struggle for her. Both had negative fecals at he vet.

    Questions:
    1. If this is Marek's, like I believe, how can we disinfect/minimize viral exposure in the seemingly healthy flock outside? I purchased VikronS tablets but have no idea what to do to the pasture short of just running our lawn vacuum over the area and disposing of poop/feathers. Thoughts/advice?
    2. If we do not have any other deceased birds between today and Wednesday, should I let he vet euthanize one of my symptomatic birds to perform a necropsy?

    3. Should I pay for a nonchicken expert, but avian vet, to perform said necropsy (sees exotics typically)?

    4. How do I protect others from what we may have when it is all over our yard, car, etc? Should we just spray our shoes with VikronS solution before getting in the car? What about our tires or delivery men that come
    Into our yard? We would like to be responsible and respectful of others; however I also want to minimize potential chemical exposure to my flock and family.

    5. The land we live on is a rental and we will be relocating to our personal homestead in a few months. Should we cull all birds, disinfect or destroy all our birdkeeping items, and dinfect our belongings in efforts to start again without Marek's in our new home/land? If so, should we vaccinate future birds?

    6. Should I quarantine my two birds in the house indefinitely or is it safe to construct an outside individual enclosure for each, away from the other birds? I hate having them stuck in the house but I was trying to minimize their fear/stress and improve comfort/vigilance.

    7. If this is Marek's how long will it take to decimate my poor flock? Should my symptomatic birds be worse off? Our breeder and vet both seemed to think they would progress quickly and present severe neurological decline and deficits if Marek's was the causative agent. I have read otherwise.

    I realize I am probably getting ahead of myself as I do not know for sure what we
    Are dealing with at this time. However, I appreciate any insight/suggestions. Thank you in advance for reading this far!
     
  2. Hamiam

    Hamiam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @Chickythom , I think your post would be more likely answered quicker at the Emergency / Disease / injuries section. I would post the link but I'm not very computer savvy. Go to forums & look down the list, it's one toward the top. I wish I could help more. I just know the right people will be at that forum.
     
    biophiliac likes this.
  3. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I have done as suggested.
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Hi and welcome to BYC. I hope that the ER guys can help you out.

    Best wishes
    CT
     
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! What state do you live in?
     
  6. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Texas. East Texas to be more specific.
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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  8. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is from one symptomatic bird. The one hat is doing the best of the two. Last week his poop was normal. As you can see, not so much presently. They have only really eaten cooked white rice in bone broth with Bragg's nutritional yeast. They may have eaten some feed while I was gone today but if they did it was not much. All
    Of my "healthy" flock seem their usual nutty selves. No losses since the asymptomatic death last Friday.

    Is it best to let the local vet I have been working with do the necropsy vs sending a bird off to A&M?

    Thanks for your help!
    Amanda
     

    Attached Files:

  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    That poop looks like you might be dealing with a possible bacterial infection. Can you have your vet do a gram stain?

    As for having your vet do a necropsy, I think your money would be better spent having a lab do it.

    But before you start culling, please do have that poop checked for bacteria, especially E. coli.

    Can you post a video of the sick one?
     
  10. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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