Sebright sick, possible nerve problem

Helen_Jayne

Songster
Jun 7, 2018
87
132
116
Sheffield, UK
Hi, Can anyone help? I have a young sebright, not started laying yet. A few days ago a rat got into the roosting shed and nested under the trays. In the morning she was doing this weird gasping thing of taking long breaths. It appeared to me to be some sort of stress behaviour. I put her in a box with a heat pad and she's been sleeping there every night, I've had her round the house periodically in the day, she's very tame and then put her back in the box so she had breaks out of there. But she's got worse, yesterday one leg wasn't coordinating with the body, it crosses over, sticks out at odd angles and she can't stand very well. She is eating and drinking. The other birds are all fine.
To be honest I think she's dying. I thought I was good at treating stress in my birds but the usual things like sugar water, banana, turmeric and coconut oil haven't worked. Been giving rescue remedy. It's a long shot but has anyone seen this before or knows what to do?
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
60,160
52,176
1,322
southern Ohio
It sounds a little suspicious for possible Mareks disease, although a leg or hip injury might be a possibility. She is at the prime age for Mareks to strike, and I have read that sebrights are particularly prone to Mareks. I have raised a couple who never had it, so I hope that I am wrong. Was she vaccinated as a chick? I would start some B complex vitamins—give 1/4 tablet crushed into her food once a day. That would help if there was a vitamin B2 riboflavin deficiency. Keep her close to her food and water, and you may need to position her with rolled towels or a chicken sling to keep her upright. Here is a good article about Mareks:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/
 

Helen_Jayne

Songster
Jun 7, 2018
87
132
116
Sheffield, UK
Thanks so much. I didn't know anything about Marek's but I found an earlier thread about it. I will certainly read that article. I didn't know that about sebrights.
I hope I have actually worked out the problem. In the thread someone suggested a myco-toxin from mouldy food / moulds in the environment. I normally get small sacks but this time got a big one and I found that mould has got into it. Also I cleaned out the roosting shed yesterday and found the straw was smelling mouldy - they don't normally spend any time in there but lately because it's been so wet they've been in there during the day. They normally free range and just go in to sleep. I hope this is the problem. If it is, do you think the bird will recover?
I've got some strong b vit capsules and put some in the water to cover that.
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,638
11,093
611
North Florida
If you think it was moldy feed, botulism is possible, you can treat with activated charcoal. Mix 1 tsp of activated charcoal powder with 8 oz. of pure water and dose the bird 6 - 8 times daily, as much as it will take. Make sure there is plenty of fresh water available, this can be dehydrating and cause constipation if enough fluids are not taken in. The charcoal absorbs the toxin so it can be excreted (don't be surprised to see very dark or black droppings after). There are also epsom salt and molasses flushes that basically cause diarrhea and flush the digestive system out, again dehydrating, so plenty of fluids. I would do the charcoal myself.
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,393
602
Idaho
no expert on thism so maybe Eggcessive or Coach can answer this, Could it be from the rat being in the coop trying to make a nest and had some disease?
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,638
11,093
611
North Florida
Not an expert on rats either (thank goodness!) but if the chicken ate rat droppings their could be bacteria like salmonella in them. Other than that, I think it would take longer for illness to show up, but I could be wrong. I would certainly address the rat problem (where there is one there are many) since that's just not a good thing. Short of vet care to really narrow it down with labs I would be inclined to do the charcoal and see if there is improvement. If it's Marek's then there is no treatment other than support.
 

Helen_Jayne

Songster
Jun 7, 2018
87
132
116
Sheffield, UK
I found this information in a forum:

“The condition is caused by Aspergillus fumigatus, a mold or fungus-type organism. Occasionally other types of molds are involved. These organisms are present in the environment of all poultry. They grow readily on many substances such as litter, feed, rotten wood and other similar materials.

The bird comes in contact with the organisms through contaminated feed, litter or premises. The disease is not contagious and does not spread from one bird to another. Most healthy birds can withstand repeated exposure to these organisms. Inhalation of large amounts of the infectious form of the mold or reduced resistance of the bird apparently results in infection. In adult turkeys, the disease more often affects the male.

In the acute form in young birds, main symptoms are gasping, sleepiness, loss of appetite and sometimes convulsions and death. Occasionally the organism invades the brain, causing paralysis or other forms of nervous symptoms. The more chronic form in older birds usually results in loss of appetite, gasping or coughing and a rapid loss of body weight. Mortality is usually low and only a few birds are affected at one time.”

The bit about gasping was what caught my attention. That symptom doesn't seem typically found in Marek's (as far as I'm aware) and was the first symptom she exhibited, going on for 2 days before it moved into paralysis and coordination problems. She is also very sleepy and not eating as much as usual. However I'm frightened to dose with charcoal because the stress seems to be making her worse. Also because of the gasping, even though I'm putting the syringe right back behind her tongue it scares me that the fluid might get into her lungs.

I don't know whether to just stick with it and keep dosing her, hoping it can be flushed out, or keep her warm and hope she gets better? It just feels unnerving syringing fluid into a bird which is taking these long gasping breaths, I'm not sure it's safe? And is the gasping a symtom of Marek's as well? I've watched videos of birds with Marek's but can't find any of them doing that?
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,638
11,093
611
North Florida
Aspergillosis is supposedly very stubborn to treat, I've never had a case. You would need systemic antifungal medications, and likely need a vet to get them. Here is one treatment I have read about using Oxine:
https://www.shagbarkbantams.com/upper-respiratory-fungal-infections/
Here is a thread:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...-often-mistaken-for-crd-mycoplasmosis.560301/
And this one:
https://www.omicsonline.org/open-ac...is-in-poultry-2157-7579-1000382.php?aid=79759
You have symptoms that sound like maybe more than one thing going on. Birds with Marek's are often more susceptible to other illnesses as their immune systems are already compromised, the leg issues sound, as said before, suspicious for Marek's. Is vet care an option for you, to narrow down and maybe confirm the respiratory issue with tests? As far as giving her meds, if you think she's at risk of aspiration then I would either tube them, or go extremely slow in giving them.
 

casportpony

🦚🦆🦃🐔
BYC Staff
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 24, 2012
111,638
302,711
2,132
The Golden State
It sounds a little suspicious for possible Mareks disease, although a leg or hip injury might be a possibility. She is at the prime age for Mareks to strike, and I have read that sebrights are particularly prone to Mareks. I have raised a couple who never had it, so I hope that I am wrong. Was she vaccinated as a chick? I would start some B complex vitamins—give 1/4 tablet crushed into her food once a day. That would help if there was a vitamin B2 riboflavin deficiency. Keep her close to her food and water, and you may need to position her with rolled towels or a chicken sling to keep her upright. Here is a good article about Mareks:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq.66077/
@Helen_Jayne , I hate to say it, but I agree with this. You could try the vitamins, but sadly, all of the symptoms described sound like Marek's to me. Can you take a video of her, upload it to youtube or vimeo then copy and paste the link here?
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom