Rooster balance problems - how big is the chance of Marek's?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by 5GodsDown, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. 5GodsDown

    5GodsDown Songster

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    Hi everyone

    Roo: Black Phillip
    Race: mix Ayam Cemani and something else
    Age: about 9 months
    Issue: looking tired, depressed, has trouble keeping balance (doing the split sometimes, clenches claws), neck held a little bit backwards, sometimes lets his wings hang
    Duration: stopped crowing a week ago (daylight saving time), looks sick for 4-5 days

    My poor Phill isn't himself anymore. He still walks around, though very slowly. He eats a little bit, but not enough I think. He can still get into and out of the coop in the morning/evening, but he doesn't roost anymore. He still tries to mate with the chickens, but it doesn't work as he doesn't grab them by the neck anymore...

    Here's a bit of the history: I have 3 chickens born in April. They were vaccinated (at the hatchery) for bird flu and marek. Black Phillip came into my care at the end of July (age: 5 months). Now at the age of 9 months I think he's showing signs of Marek's. My chickens have only ever come into contact with chickens from the same hatchery with the same vaccinations. His former owner, a hobby breeder, didn't have problems with Marek's. She thinks he couldn't have contracted it from her or my chickens. They do freeroam so Phill could have contracted it from a wild bird without my chickens showing signs, but he's been with us for 4 months and is barely a little chick anymore at the age of 9 months. I realise there is a possibility it's Marek's, but how big are the odds?

    I went to the vet with him yesterday. She's not a specialist but spent 30 minutes on him. She suspects a neck injury, which I also considered a possibility as 2 days before he got sick a chicken sabotaged the automatic door (don't know how to explain) and the door fell shut. He was still inside and agitated. Maybe he got stuck under the door and pulled himself out?

    He received a shot of painkillers and vitamins and I'm supposed to continue them for a few days to see how he reacts to them. I put the food on eye level for him this morning and I saw him eating when I left for work. If it doesn't get better we always have the poultry clinic an hour away, but I'm not sure what the use is if nothing changes... I really love him and I hope he will get better. He's been nothing but great for the chickens.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Crowing

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    The threat of Mareks is always there, keep it in the back of your mind and continue to work the theory that maybe he had a head/neck injury. A head injury can cause most of what you are seeing too.
    Did the person you got him from have the flock vaccinated against Mareks?
     
  3. 5GodsDown

    5GodsDown Songster

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    No, she told me she once took in a vaccinated hen that carried Marek's and caused her to have 2 difficult years "cleaning out" her flock. She hasn't had any case of Marek's in a long time. We're talking back and forth a bit these days, because she loved him very much too and is also worried (he had to go because he turned out to be mixed and not pure). She got him from another breeder in the UK and told me she'd ask about vaccinations there, but Phill left the UK with her at least 6-7 months ago.
     
  4. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Crowing

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    Even birds that have been vaccinated can get or carry Mareks. The vaccine does help but it doesn't cover all permutations of Mareks sadly.
    Even if he has Mareks there is still hope. He may never be his old self, but birds can live with Mareks for a long time.
    Make sure he has at lest 20% protein food, vits/elec. in his water and just watch him carefully. Hopefully it is an injury and he will fully recover. :fl
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Unfortunately, it sounds like Mareks disease. It can be confirmed with testing and a necropsy at a poultry lab after death. They test any tumor tissue or feather shafts for the disease. A head or neck injury may mimic the neurological signs of Mareks though. Since the breeder had Mareks on her property, it doesn’t just disappear. It can linger in the environment for years since it is spread through dust and dander. Any birds left on the premises, would have been carriers and passed it on. The vaccine takes at least 2 weeks to take effect, and the chick cannot be exposed to the disease during that period.
     
  6. 5GodsDown

    5GodsDown Songster

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    That's what I feared. I'm still hoping for the best though, we're waiting for the reply of the breeder he was born at. I understand that there's a risk, but wouldn't the breeder have much more cases of Mareks in her own flock now if the virus was still actively present? She hasn't had Mareks in years...

    If he does succumb I will check the price of necropsy to be sure, because if he truly has (had) Mareks wouldn't it become difficult for me to add new birds to the flock in the future? And I'd have to vaccinate all chicks.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    I hope he's been injured, and recovers. This story about the previous owner's flock, and other birds brought into that flock, really doesn't sound too good to me.
    By all means have testing done, either live tests, or necropsy if he dies. you need to know, one way or another.
    Mary
     
  8. 5GodsDown

    5GodsDown Songster

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    Do you mean you think she's hiding something or it just doesn't sound good in general? I wouldn't know why she'd lie, she has a heart for chickens and we've been in contact ever since I got Black Phillip because she still wanted the occassional picture. She's also a respected breeder with very satisfied customers.

    As I understand live testing for Mareks is impossible? Or do you mean just standard testing? I've brought in a sample of his droppings in any case. I hope they have the result tonight when I go pick up the vitamins they ordered for him. For once I really hope he has nasty parasites or something.

    If it is Mareks, I hope he goes quickly or that I have the courage to cull him. I was thinking of waiting it out until the weekend to see if he reacts in any way to the painkillers and vitamins.
     
    featherhead007 likes this.
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    I didn't mean to disparage the previous flock owners in any way! What concerned me was the story about the Marek's disease (was it actually diagnosed?) that went away, and the bird(s) brought into the flock from elsewhere. Marek's disease doesn't just 'go away'!
    For your peace of mind, and your flock management going forward, you will need to know.
    Mary
     
  10. 5GodsDown

    5GodsDown Songster

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    It's ok, I just didn't understand what you were saying. I checked the conversation again and the situation was that she brought in a vaccinated hen unknowingly carrying Mareks into her flock 4 years ago, she said she had difficulties for 2 years and hasn't had another case of Mareks (that she knows about) in the last 2 years. I haven't pried for more details because I don't want to sound like I'm accusing her. Supposedly she has started over, she's just a small hobby breeder. So many people recommend her on our huge chicken community on Facebook, so if she really had carriers she'd have a lot more cases because she doesn't vaccinate, no? ... just hoping for the best!

    You're right, it would be extremely inconvenient if it's Mareks for flock continuity :( Luckily I only have 3 chickens and a rooster, but I love them dearly.
     

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