What to do after Marek's Disease (or possible Marek's Disease?)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mara1225, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. Mara1225

    Mara1225 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Aug 27, 2013
    I have been a proud chicken momma now, for about all of 4 weeks and two of my girls have now died. One was just so tiny she found a way out of the fence, and my own dog got her! I was devastated.

    However, the other sweet girl just died this morning. It first started on Friday, I was holding her and noticed tiny white bugs, did my research, treated for lice/mites. Saturday we built a sand bathing area for them because they did not seem to be bathing themselves properly so figured this would help with further lice/mite prevention. However, she also had a little bit of watery eyes, discharge, and was very calm...even lethargic perhaps (?). But still eating, social, talking, loving, etc.. On Sunday I called over a neighbor, we think for sure she had a few mites, but nothing extreme, AND for sure she also had avian pox, but also survivable, and just seemed very tired, stressed, and listless. We set her up in her own crate, and force fed her some water. By the end of the day, she was walking as if drunk, could barely stand, swayed her head as if dizzy, and would not eat or drink. This morning she was gone.

    I called a vet at A&M, and described all the above. He is too far for me to get to him before closing, for a necropsy. However, he thought she had Marek's disease from the swaying, dizzy, extreme lethargy, and trouble standing...but possibly also MG instead of/or as well as, from the discharge and bubbly wet eyes.

    Here is my question: I now have one hen left as a result. I know they are very social creatures. (she sat on the outside of the crate all night, and never went inside her own coop, to keep watch over the other) What do I do now? The vet said to wait a few weeks and see if the other chicken shows any sickness. If not, go ahead and get more chickens. That made me happy!

    However, now from everything I have read about, both Marek's and MG, I'm terrified to get new girls and possibly expose them. I have one lonely, so far very healthy, chicken. And I have one coop. What to do next? I can't possibly just have the one chicken. I don't have multiple coops or runs to keep another separate flock. I don't know for sure what she had, and both are contagious and both can remain in the environment. Now what??

    Thank you.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    29,320
    3,379
    491
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    If you can get the body of the chicken that died today, I would refrigerate it, and send it off tomorrow morning to the state vet for testing and necropsy to find the cause of death. Mareks vaccine is available at all hatcheries, and the chicks need to be protected from any infected environment containing dust, dander, etc for at least 2 weeks to develop full immunity. That may be accomplished in the house in a brooder. There are MG vaccines available also, so if the other hen has symptoms I would get her tested. Sorry for your loss.
     
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    2,758
    536
    261
    Apr 7, 2011
    Boonies of NY
    My Coop
    I got your Private Message, but thought I would reply here in case it can help anyone else.

    I regret that without testing, I really can not advise. There are so many things that it could be. Marek's IS one, but honestly you may as well toss 20 ailments into a hat and pick one at random for all the best guesses we can give. Ataxia and weakness, swaying, acting dizzy etc are all symptoms of many problems, and all often come before a bird passes away. If you absolutely can not get the testing done, then you can wait 3-4 weeks and watch your remaining bird for symptoms (of anything, not just Marek's) and you can decide if you want to try more chickens or not. I am not trying to be a downer, but without knowing more, it will always be a risk when bringing in new birds because you simply don't know what occurred with your poor little one that passed away.

    If you do decide to bring in more and you don't get any other information, it would not hurt to order vaccinated chicks and raise them indoors for at least 3-4 weeks. If that is the route you want to go, there is some info in my FAQ and plenty of experienced people here that can help you.

    I'm really sorry for your loss, it is always so sad!
     
  4. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    2,758
    536
    261
    Apr 7, 2011
    Boonies of NY
    My Coop
    As an aside, how exactly did you treat for mites/lice? Could you tell which she had?
     
  5. Mara1225

    Mara1225 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Aug 27, 2013
    I did not refrigerate her in time to send to a vet. From friends and research around here, the only person I could find was a Vet at A&M Gonzales, which was too far a drive for me to make....from work, before they closed. I buried her, and cleaned out the coop yesterday. Being so new to this, I didn't even realize you could do such a thing..,.until it was really too late. Plus with the other chicken and my dogs, I wanted to bury her quickly. Of course now I realize what a nightmare all this is, and now I have no idea what she had and how to move forward.

    I used Scalex for birds, directly on the areas we saw them. Then the next day we got food grade Diatomaceous earth and bathed her and tilled it into her dust bathing area. We also got another one at the feed store, don't remember the name now...to treat the coop and ground. I then put her in her own clean crate.
     
  6. Mara1225

    Mara1225 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Aug 27, 2013
    I am sure that she will at least get the avian pox, and if Nikka did have the GM, I'm sure she will get that as well. A friend suggested OxyTet in the water to help treat/prevent the GM...of course either one is an issue now, either way.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by