Possible Marek's, please help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chickythom, May 29, 2017.

  1. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...-please-help-long-post.1176278/#post-18524525

    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 ashe 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 ofgeneralized weakness andthought 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 someeggs/yougurt/nutritional yeast bur tends to disregard thecommercial 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 VikronStablets 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 chemicalexposure 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!
     
    Feathers4Fun2 and biophiliac like this.
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Sorry to hear about your chickens. Were they born in 2016 or this year? I am not an expert on Mareks, but there are many here on BYC as well as many threads about the subject if you do a search at the top of this page as well as Googling it for some professional articles. One cannot disinfect against Mareks, as it is found in the dander and dust from chickens, and can last in the environment for months to 7 years or more. If one of your birds has had Mareks, then they all have been exposed, probably at the same time. Your state vet or poultry lab can do a necropsy on a sacrificed sick bird, where they can examine feathers and any tumor tissue to diagnose the disease. Many have Mareks in their flocks, and some have raised chicks from birds who have mot shown symptoms. Not all birds get the disease, but any birds who come from a flock with one case of Mareks, then all birds should be considered as carriers and have the disease, though they may not have symptoms. I would read as much info as possible. Several BYCers that I would recommend reading articles are Nambroth, Rebascora, Seminolewind, Casportpony, and others.
     
  3. mustang56

    mustang56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With Merek disease do all the birds get the symptoms at the same time...?
    Is that usual....? I'm asking because I don't know and hope someone does...

    Or could they have eaten something to cause this...?
    could it be coccidiosis... ?
     
    biophiliac likes this.
  4. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your response. I read the other Marek's threads before posting. Yes, sorry for the error, the chickens were hatched in Marh of 2017. I have read that some agents can be used as viruscides against MD to minimize viral load/exposure on coops, runs, etc. I realize the land cannot be sterilized. Our situation is that we are leaving this land and thus it may be an option for us to leave Marek's behind, if worth the sacrifice; which I am trying to determine. Maybe even with leaving and starting new there may be enough on/with us that could still cause infection. Who knows. The erase and rewind option seems really drastic, regardless of feasibility. I am thankful for your insight, wisdom, and the for this resource.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda
     
    biophiliac and Wickedchicken6 like this.
  5. mustang56

    mustang56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. mustang56

    mustang56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its me again.... I just find it odd that they all seem to be going down about the same time.... I'm thinking something they ate..... I could be wrong.... I'm just guessing here...
     
    biophiliac likes this.
  7. mustang56

    mustang56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Heres what one person said with symtoms similar to yours...
    Thanks for the help everyone! I just panicked a little there. [​IMG] Thank goodness it wasn't Marek's! I am still actually not sure what it was exactly but we gave them an antibiotic in their water for 7 days straight and within 5-6 days of taking it they were completely better and back to jumping up and perching on my hand. There were 3 out of the 11 chicks that got it which I now know were a Dark Cornish, a Rhode Island Red, and a Barred Rock. They are all doing great and growing like weeds!
     
    biophiliac likes this.
  8. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! The vet told me
    He thought he would
    Be ordering an antibiotic. It said the physical assessment
    Did not support the need for it. Of course he could
    Be wrong... he thought it was botulism or heavy metal ingestion. Sigh...
     
    biophiliac likes this.
  9. Chickythom

    Chickythom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And the random death in what appeared to be a healthy bird just baffles me. This started after we moved them to a new area of the yard and had a couple of days of heavy rain. They basically act like they will melt in rain so they were all huddles up in the coops for a couple of days. Maybe they ate some mushrooms? No signs of respiratory infection.
     
    biophiliac likes this.
  10. mustang56

    mustang56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tell him to hurry up and give you the antibiotic....! =)
    Just double check the area's they hang out in.... no telling what they may have gotten into... maybe even rat droppings or something...
     
    Chickythom likes this.

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