Sultan hen's gimpy left leg - requesting second opinions

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Slike, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Slike

    Slike Songster

    Dec 1, 2007
    Puna, Big Island, HI
    I have a couple of questions with some background first, hoping to find any info that might help me pinpoint what is wrong with my bantam Sultan hen. I have already taken her to a vet whose abilities I have much faith in (he's helped me much in the past), however I don't think he's got the right diagnosis. It just doesn't work to me.

    She started displaying what looked like a pain-induced limp on her left leg. She'd cry when she was put off balance enough to have to step on it, then quickly pull it back up. I took probably a good half an hour total looking at her toes, bottom of the foot, sifting through the feathers, checking her leg for possible swelling or breaks and found absolutely nothing. At first I thought Ethel (turkey hen) had stepped on her and dislocated the leg or something, since she can lift it but can't seem to make it support weight. The vet said that wasn't the case, and he thinks she has Marek's disease. Maybe its me subconsciously being hopeful that this isn't true, but I just don't believe that to be it.

    She has lived closely with 2 other chickens, one of which was never vaccinated for Marek's and is unaffected, and a (small) lavender turkey who wasn't either. I think after about 7-8 months of living in close quarters, at the very least the unvaccinated one should have picked up what is considered to be a highly contagious disease if it is indeed present. She has always been the slowest of the bunch (not including the blind turkey who has had an excuse all along), and never would run around much like the other two chickens she's grown up with. She was always tagging along behind the other two when they'd run across the patio. I thought perhaps this to be because of her heavily feathered feet being ungainly, the 5th toes that bump into each other or the large crest partly blocking her view. She's timid and unadventurous. If I need to go inside for a minute to make some lunch, get a drink or what have you, I set her down in the flowers and I can always count on her sitting right where I left her.

    So with this leg problem, you can see how her behavior didn't change as starkly as you might expect. She eats and drinks just fine, she preens herself, poop is normal, she still very much seems herself, save for this messed up leg. I am looking into Thiamine deficiency as a possibility, although she is not star-gazing. I have successfully treated a chick who had this in the past (it came on very fast and without warning due to her tiny size), so I'm not an expert by any means, but seeing how that situation was makes me think that because of Conan's age, it would be slower to take effect in her body than it would to a week old runt bantam chick. Even if it's not thiamine deficiency (I have a feeling that its not, but that it is some individual-resistance kind of vitamin deficiency) I would still like to be able to totally rule this out so I can focus on the other possibilities. I'm doing more research on this, but any info you have that may help would be greatly appreciated.

    So my questions are as follows:
    Is there anything you are aware of that could affect a leg like that (either a vitamin deficiency, maybe tendon injury, birth defect, health issue related to cold weather, environmental problem)?

    Do SULTANS as a breed (or even just Sultan hens) have any know strange breed-related health issues?.. No matter how obscure or infrequent. I try to find info on this but all I have been able to come up with is generic care and health info about chickens as a whole. I figured someone here may know better than some random pre-written page. I refuse to believe that chicken breeds do not suffer from any weird ailments when I know that many of the more heavily altered turkey, bovine, dog, cat and horse breeds do. I myself have not noted any yet amongst the breeds I keep, however this is my first Sultan and why I am asking.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read all this.
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    so many things might be involved (or multiple things)
    You can give a good complete vitamin supplement and then (as you yourself are looking into) supplements which are indicated in leg problems (just make sure you do a bit of research to make sure there are no toxicity issues on the amount you are giving >B vitamins for instance are rarely capable of overdose )
    Avia Charge 2000 is what I suggest you begin with...
    How old is the bird (Mareks usually affect younger birds and oftenshows with a typical "one-leg-in-front" stance which you are not describing) ... If the bird has Mareks or another oncological virus (producing leg symptoms) then there is little to be done and what you DO do (in case it isnt an oncological problem) cannot hurt.

    click on my link below and look in the disease section for "leg problems" and also in the nutrition section for the various articles on deficiencies and such that present with leg weakness.
    Good Luck!

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