Sick 9-10 wk old chick - NEROPSY UPDATE: RIP Pol(ly)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by PtldChick, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there, TIA BYC'ers for answering my questions.

    I have a sick 9-10 wk old polish chicken name Polly. On Saturday I noticed her laying down, head down in the large run, but when I went over, she got up and I thought she was fine. On Sunday, I noticed she was spending more laying around, but thought I may have just caught her at her nap times. But Monday AM when I let them all out to forage, she immediately went and laid down, so I knew something was wrong.

    I brought her in the house and she is in a box by herself. After reading a bunch of posts, I'm concerned she may have a form of Marek's. Here are her symptoms:

    Lethargic, mostly laying around, head down
    Green and white, watery poop (from not eating?)
    Not eating or drinking
    Moving her head back and forth sometimes, like a tic
    Looks at things closely, maybe having a hard time seeing?

    I have given her Poly-Vi-Sol, treated her from worms, and started on an antibiotic (tetracycline).
    I treated all the chickens for cocci a couple weeks ago, so I don't think it's that.
    I tried giving her egg and yogurt, she wouldn't eat it.
    I am hand-feeding her some baby parrot formula, kefir (not near the antibiotic times) and giving her water from a dropper.

    All my birds get ACV and a vitamin/electrolyte mixture in their drinking water, and I put DE in their coop shavings. I've checked her for mites and lice, she's clean.

    She is wasting away and I wonder if I am only pro-longing her misery. I want to give her another day or two to show some kind of improvement, and if she still refuses to eat or drink, I don't know that I can save her.

    But in the meantime, I am now scared half to death about Marek's. She was a chick I bought from an individual and so I have no idea if she were vaccinated. Most of my flock was vaccinated as chicks (the oldest are just over 2 mos old), but some I'm not sure of. The info I've found online talks about vaccinating day-olds or eggs. Right now, everyone else appears to be healthy and I'd like to keep them that way.

    Questions:

    Does it sound like she has Marek's or something else?

    Can I vaccinate my older chicks? If so, how effective would that be?
    Where do I get the vaccine and how do I administer it?
    If I'm not sure, is it Ok to vaccinate a bird that had already been vaccinated?

    I read that exposed birds become carriers, so if she does have Marek's, I'm assuming the few I'm raising for someone else have to stay here? Even the already vaccinated ones? Will the roos eventually have to be destroyed (I can't keep them)?

    I also read that it's almost impossible to get rid of the virus in the environment. Is it possible to disinfect their coop cages to kill the virus?

    I have a few Indian Runners and I wanted to find homes for two of them. Do ducks get or carry Marek's?

    Also, if she dies or I cull her, how do I find out where/how to send her for a necropsy, and how much does that typically cost? I live in Oregon.

    Thanks so much. I'm a first-time chicken owner and this is so frustrating. First, several chicks got cocci and I dealt with that. Now I have this situation.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  2. M.sue

    M.sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    Michigan
    Sorry to hear about your troubles. Sadly I can't help because I am fairly new to all this too. I am sure someone will post a helpful reply. It sounds like you are doing all you can for now so just sit tight. Maybe a vet would provide some insight? Good luck.
     
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Sorry about Polly.

    Right now I've lost 6 out of 10 Polish chicks , about one a week since they were 8 weeks old. I never ever knew I had it in my own flock, until these chicks were hatched by one of my silkies, and started to waste away, or show paralysis . Marek's has all different types of symptoms depending on what is being attacked inside the bird. Over the last 2 years, I've had several of my young chickens waste away, and now some of these chicks, and I have read that Marek's can cause inflammation of the nerves, and that can include the nerves that go to the digestive track. The food stops moving, and they waste away.

    The vaccine only protects chickens from developing tumors, and only if they are vaccinated before being exposed. In fact, now there are several different vaccines for different strains. Any chicken vaccinated or not, if exposed, will be a carrier. Most adult chickens have some immunity to it. Most chickens that get it will be under 8 months old, usually 8-25 weeks old. Usually. If a chick is vaccinated for one strain, it doesn't mean that it won't get sick from another strain.

    I would send that chick to heaven. I don't think she can be saved. I wonder if she had it before you got her or if she got it from your flock. You can have carriers in your flock and not know it. It's hard to know if she has it unless she gets a necropsy, or other very young chickens start coming down with the same symptoms.

    It would probably be a waste to vaccinate the chickens you already have. Yes you can disinfect the cages (with ammonia?).

    My silkies are carriers-since the chicks I hatched were bought as eggs and hatched under them and got the virus. However, the eggs I've hatched from my own chickens seem to be immune, since they don't get it.

    For me, I am keeping all my chickens. If I get more it will have to be vaccinated hatchery chickens or eggs that I hatch and vaccinate. If my chickens hatch their own eggs, the chicks most likely will have some immunity already.

    This is all new to me, in 4 years, I've hatched all my chickens-----except for one. She was a silkie pullet, and my silkie roo was the first one to die. She died months later. But all the other silkies are alive, and their children, as well.

    Try typing Marek's into the search at the top of the page and start reading. I've been reading a whole lot for the last 5 weeks. [​IMG]


    Try this site for testing. The fees are cheap. Other places can run $300.00 or more. http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/AHID/animal_health/lab_main.shtml#FDA_laying_flock_requirements
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  4. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portland, OR
    Update - Polly did not make it...one of my whippets put her out of her misery this morning. I had her in a plastic storage box with those finger lids in the kitchen. While I was out taking care of the big chickens, one of my dogs jumped the gate and got into the box and killed her. I found her lying lifeless in the hallway. [​IMG]

    To tell the truth, I am almost relieved. She was suffering and I don't know that I could help her. I was dreading having to cull her myself if she didn't recover. At least it was quick and relatively painless - a couple of shakes and that was it. Bo was back in the dog run when I came in from the backyard - he must have known he would be 'in trouble.'

    I wrapped her in some paper towels and put her in the refrigerator. I'm taking her to Oregon State Vet Hospital for a necropsy - $30 for the necropsy, another $25 if they need to do microscope work for Marek's, plus $4 processing. Not too expensive, IMO, to find out what killed her. There happens to be a racing/coursing practice I can attend in the area at 6 tonight. The gas won't be that much more than shipping the bird there overnight. It will be worth it so I can protect my flock or at least be prepared.

    I will update this with necropsy results for those who are interested.

    RIP Polly. You were my beautiful little 'parrot'. [​IMG]
     
  5. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    I'm so sorry. Sending healing thoughts...
     
  6. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss of Polly
     
  7. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I got the final necropsy report on Pol(ly) today. I learned from the prelim last week that she was a he. [​IMG] The physical exam didn't show much so I had to wait for a fecal float and slides.

    He had ulcerative ventriculitis which led to sepsis. In layman's terms that's a bleeding ulcer that allowed bacteria to get into his bloodstream and travel all over his body causing massive infection. Not much is known about ulcers in chickens, but they are believed to be individual. Paul also had a deformed skull and brittle bones, so it sounds like he was not the best poultry speciman, although he was a gorgeous GLP, great lacing already at a young age.

    I don't know that the antibiotics would have worked had my dog not gotten him - how to you cure a chicken ulcer? So I think Bo actually did him a favor and put him out of his misery.

    The necropsy showed a non-clinical amount of coccidia in the intestine - 75/gm...is it normal for chickens to have some cocci in their gut, or does that mean he wasn't fully treated? [I treated my whole flock for cocci several weeks ago when some outside chicks I brought in got it (I learned my lesson about quarantining!). One of the pullets was outside with the girls for one day, so I wanted to make sure.]

    Does anyone have any experience with chicken stomach ulcers? I tried to do some online research and found very little of any help.

    I am so glad it wasn't Marek's or some other communicable disease! Hooray! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  8. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    spring hill, florida
    I think all chickens carry some cocci in their stool, but maybe someone else knows more than me.
    An ulcer leading to sepsis. That sounds like a really thorough necropsy. I don't know if chickens can be treated for ulcers. You can treat sepsis, but at the point he was at, it was probably too late.
    Sorry about Polly the Roo [​IMG]
     
  9. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portland, OR
    Thanks. He will be missed. And I am SO grateful it isn't something to affect the rest of my girls. I would have had to give him up eventually - can't have roos here.

    He taught me to appreciate Polish chickens (which at first I thought were silly looking, uselss things that didn't lay well). [​IMG] Because of him, I have two more - new Polly - blue with dark blue crest, and Splash, light blue (almost splash) with white crest.
     
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Hi, glad you have a few more. I am increasing my flock at this time.
    My Polish were all flakes and flighty till the hens did the "squat". Then they got real docile. I love them.
     

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