Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

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Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

Postby PJJ » Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:13 pm

I have a barred rock pullet (about 12 weeks old) who suddenly became lame on one leg nearly 2 weeks ago. Initially I thought she had dislocated her leg somehow but we've checked her carefully and can find nothing wrong. She has been isolated from her 2 sisters who seem to be fine. She is eating and drinking but sits down most of the time. She can only move a little way before sitting down again. It seems she is unable to use the leg/foot and I can best describe it as paralysis. When I pick her up, the good foot grasps my hand but the other one cannot move at all. Her eyes are bright. Could this be Mareks? Has anyone seen this before? Please help. :cry:
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Re: Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

Postby Marina » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:28 am

Hi PJJ and welcome to PC :D

Yes, it's happened here many times and the only plausible cause is Mareks. She's the right age for this to happen, and yes, they are still bright and eating well. If you look at it from an 'internal damage' point-of view the only thing that's happend to her so far is a tumor growing in the nerve that leads to the affected leg. She may be bright and eating well for several more weeks before more tumors grow in her body and eventually kill her.

If it was an injury it would have gotten better by now - a fortnight after you noticed. If her leg was dislocated she would be in pain, especially when you try to move the affected leg. She'd twitch and try to flap and get away. A paralyzed leg just dangles there, no twitching, no sign that she might be in pain.

Some people prefer to let nature take its course, others prefer to get it over and done with. It's really your call.

In a wild setting she'd be unable to find food or water and would die pretty quickly.

I hope your other pullets will be ok. Mareks often hits just one out of several birds and the others are fine because they developed immunity.
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Re: Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

Postby PJJ » Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:47 pm

Thank you for your post Marina. This has been very traumatic and it's good to hear from someone who has experienced this before. We made a decision early this morning to put her out of her misery tomorrow and hearing from you has reaffirmed for us that this is the best decision. Doesn't make it any easier though. :?
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Re: Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

Postby Kracka » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:31 pm

never an easy decision, but the right one I feel - I've tried hanging onto a favourite, they just waste away

hope all the others are doing well
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Re: Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

Postby gonetothedogs » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:21 am

I have a 5 month pullet that has mareks. But treated her straight away with ivermeticen . She got worse, couldn't stand wings out and on her back. After four to 6 days she is now a bit wobbly getting her sea legs back, but is now standing and looking fine. Is she now a carrier and not safe to put back with the others? I bought some poultry in about a year ago and have had one or two get mareks from the same pen they were in.
I am happy to cull her, but of all my poultry she would be a favorite, as it always is.
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Re: Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

Postby wolga » Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:38 pm

Marek's disease is a highly contagious viral neoplastic disease in chickens. Birds infected with GaHV-2 can be carriers and shedders of the virus for life.
I would not be comfortable to have any infected birds or carrier birds in one of my flocks and would cull the lot. You wouldn't be able to sell any birds
because they could all be carriers .But that's just me.
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Re: Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

Postby Marina » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:13 pm

I've got a totally different take on Mareks.

The Mareks virus is everywhere - it's spread by feather dander and feather dander can travel for many kilometres carried by the wind. I've read in a vet manual that 'when chicks breath they are exposed to the Mareks virus'.

It's like with all infectious diseases: if you are subjected to a small quantity of the infectious organism - virus or bacterium - your body has time to develop immunity. That's how vaccines work. If you subject your chicks to a very small quantity of the Mareks virus they'll become immune. Or at least most of them. Some chicks have a weaker immune system than others.

I breed from the survivors - this is the only way to guarantee vigorous chicks.

gonetothedogs - I don't think your pullet has Mareks. Ivormectin has no effect on a viral disease. However, worms can affect all kinds of organs - and the excrements of worms can have unexpected effects so maybe she had an unusual kind of worm.

I wouldn't cull her - I'd give her a chance and see how she develops. If it was indeed Mareks and she has no symptoms she won't be more than a spreader than any commercial hybrid which has been vaccinated with a very virulent form of the Mareks virus and therefore is a lifelong carrier of the virus.
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Re: Suddenly Lame - paralysed??

Postby gonetothedogs » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:33 pm

Thanks for helpfully info. I know mectin pour ons have really no affect but it can never hurt. She was in with others her age and they are fine and so are the older hens. I had decided to cull her tonight but will see. I have had them die the odd time before with mareks which is why I don't buy any poultry in now. She had the classic, having trouble walking, wings going out then flopped on her back and can't walk. Is now on unsteady legs, but moving around her large crate and eating and drinking.
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