Pullet paralysis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hmbrown05, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. hmbrown05

    hmbrown05 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2014
    Texas
    When I went to turn out the flock this morning, I had one of my 14 week old pullets laying on the floor with paresis of it's front end. Seemed to have some muscle tone in it's feet, but none over it's head/neck. I work today and cannot nurse the pullet so I went ahead and put it down as I can let it starve or die of dehydration and it had no interest in food/water and was quite distressed, but I have 8 other 12-14 week-old chicks and 17 other adult birds that I am obviously concerned of contagion. The chicks were hatched with theflock and have recently re-integrated an are on Purina Flock Raiser with calcium supplemented free choice on the side.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Do you chickens free range, or are they confined to a coop and run? If they range there could be a possibility of botulism from eating rotted vegetation or dead animals or fish that contain the toxin. Lead or chemical poisoning or Mareks disease can also cause weakness or paralysis of the legs, wing, or neck. Botulism tends to progress upward in the spinal cord, first affecting the legs, then wing, then neck, so that may rule botulism out if the upper body was only affected. Mareks tends to strike young chickens about this age, and paralysis can affect the neck, or a wing, or leg, or both sides--each case is different. If you could preserve the body by refrigeration (not freezing,) you could send it to the state vet for a necropsy and Mareks testing. Sorry for your loss. Here is some reading on Mareks and Botulism:
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/19/botulism
    http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000791_Rep813.pdf
    http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/avian-atlas/#/disease/Marek's_Disease
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq
     
  3. hmbrown05

    hmbrown05 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2014
    Texas
    They free range and while I have a compost area that they like to dig for treaured worms in, it is really just manure with minimal hay leavings and leaves as all kitchen scraps and most other hay/bedding go to the pig. They do hang out with her some, but, like any good pig, she doesn't leave much in the way of leftovers.

    I did have another lame hen (roughly 9 months old) when I got home. I had other duties to attend to before dark so didn't really get to examine her for the cause (no electricity in the coop), but she appeared well otherwise. Full looking crop, bright red comb, alert. Went to roost with everyone else.

    It's been awhile since I looked up Marek's; am I correct in remembering there is no real treatment? If they are going to make it they will and if not, they won't kind of thing?

    I don't know if it stands to mention, they had to be on Layena for a few days while the feed store ordered more Flock raiser. The higher calcium for immature birds is tough on them I know. I would think renal failure due to high calcium would have presented differently right?
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    southern Ohio
    The higher calcium in layer feed for a few days would not have affected them much. Sometimes compost beds can be attractive to small animals to crawl in and die. A BYC member suspected botulism last year, and found a dead hedgehog in her compost bed. A few chickens may live with Mareks, some in the flock may be immune, but a good percentage can die of wasting, paralysis, decreased immunity to other diseases, and tumors anywhere in the body. Hypericum (St. John's Wort) is used by a some to help with symptoms, but isn't really a cure. The Mareks Faq in post #2 is pretty complete in Mareks info. Please keep us updated on how they are doing. Edited for spelling.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  5. hmbrown05

    hmbrown05 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2014
    Texas
    My husband did mention that he saw one of the birds with a mouse the other day. Probably stole it from one of the cats. Wouldn't have thought it would be one of the pullets, but maybe that was the case (fingers crossed). The other lame hen seems to be doing well other than being painful in the leg. Still bright, alert and eating drinkig normally so I guess we will see. Thanks so much for the info!
     

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