Rx for Marek's Disease

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by novatobones, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. novatobones

    novatobones Out Of The Brooder

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    I took my 5 year old California White hen Gracie to the Animal Hospital today. I thought she had a hurt leg or wing because I found her in a pile 4 days ago unable to move although not seeming to be in any pain. I put her in a box and brought her inside the house. Every day since she has been getting better - perkier and eating more, almost normal except that she can't get up on her legs. Anyway, the doctor says she has Marek's Disease (we did adopt a homeless chicken a few months ago) and she had a 50% chance of survival. He gave me Deramaxx (which is usually given to dogs and has bad side affects) and Acyclovir.

    I wasn't going to research anything until Grace recovered because I don't have the stomach for this. I love my girls - alot. But then I started Googleing. Apparently, there is no treatment for Marek's (at least that's what every scientific article says). Now I'm worried that the medicine will hurt her. She seemed to be getting better on her own - wiggling around her box a bit and eating heartily.

    Should I give her the pills?

    Thanks,
    Sharon
     
  2. riane'smimi

    riane'smimi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought they could only tell on dead birds after they looked at it's organs. I am not an expert though. How does the vet know it's Marek's for sure ?
     
  3. Ksane

    Ksane Overrun With Chickens

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    The vet can't know for sure if it's Marek's until a necropsy is done. There's literally thousands of things it could be and it could certainly *be Marek's. Continue to treat her like you believe she'll make it-because she quite possibly will. If it's Marek's and she recovers she'll be a carrier and you'll have to be aware of that and take precautions in the future if you get babies/youngsters.
    Bird's develop a natural immunity to Marek's at about 5 months of age. Your girl is far past that. That alone truly makes me think that's not what it is. Maybe it's worms, maybe it's one of the many e. Coli strains, maybe it's some form of chicken arthritis. Deramaxx is an anti-inflamitory. Make sure she eats something when you give it, it tears up their stomach lining.
    Edit: But yes, give her the pills.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  4. novatobones

    novatobones Out Of The Brooder

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    The Vet said he was pretty sure it was Marek's - he does specialize in Avian medicine. I can't believe how fast it came on. Grace was fine and dandy the night before on her high roost although she was just starting to molt (and she molts hard!). Next morning she was on the ground outside in the run and couldn't move - paralysis. She's been trying to get up more often as time goes on, her wattle and comb color has always been good, she's been eating, drinking and pooping so I'm hopeful she's shaking it. I just don't want to kill her with the wrong medicine.
     
  5. WooingWyandotte

    WooingWyandotte Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry to say, if it's Mareks cull. She will be a carrier and shed it like crazy all her life, it's a big deal. But my thought is; isn't 5 years old a little elderly for Mareks? Perhaps it's a disease that affects older birds with 'mareks like' symptoms. Mareks can be mistaken for a ton of things. I doubt it's Mareks especially if she's eating well, for birds infected will waste away and be paralyzed (the classic leg split) and a variety of other symptoms. Don't want to come off stingy, but mostly for your sake, I def hope it's not Mareks.
     
  6. Lacrystol

    Lacrystol Hatching Helper

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    Eating well has nothing to do if they have Mareks or not. I have had two chickens with it and they ate like pigs, they never gain a pound but ate a lot in fact it seemed like the more they ate the more weight they would lose... My two did the same thing, first chicken the one foot would go completely paralized, almost like it was dead, she would have to use her wings to keep her balance. She lived for 1 month without the capibilites of walking, the other lived for 1 week the second one would do the splits, while the first one would constantly have both legs forward and try to walk backwards but go no wheres. It was a relief to see them past on because you could just see they were suffering.. I had both bodys burned because I was told by my vet that if you bury them it could be in the ground and get to the others if they are free range... AND they were both vaccinated.. go figure..
     
  7. novatobones

    novatobones Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry to hear about that. How old were your two girls?
     
  8. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    Generally an older bird will not get mareks like you are describing. The young birds get the paralysis and if an older bird gets it (which is rare) they usually waste away.

    I would think your bird may have botchulism instead. Is there anything that she could have gotten into? Old rotting leaves, compost, wet food?????
     
  9. Lacrystol

    Lacrystol Hatching Helper

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    Quote:I don't know there exact age because I got them from a woman down the street, if I was to guess I would say less then a year, but more then 6 months.
     
  10. novatobones

    novatobones Out Of The Brooder

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    Pips&Peeps, I think you might have something. I've been doing a quick internet search on symptoms and that sounds very possible. I let the girls wander around when I'm outside with them and they have a compost pile they visit along with a vegetable garden that isn't being maintained much anymore.

    Grace is getting feistier about taking her pills, which is good. Still it's been 6 days and she still isn't using her legs much at all. I thought she had been improving every day but she's been depressed since yesterday's doctor visit. I wonder if the medications are doing her more harm than good. I've heard Deramaxx is hard on the stomach which would be bad if Grace has botulism.
     

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