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Diarrhoea and paralysis, could it be Marek's?

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A couple of months ago one of our girls developed green watery poo and very weak legs, she was about 3 years old. We took her to the vet who wasn't clear exactly what it was, and felt that the best think was to put her to sleep. We cleaned the Eglu and run using Agrisec 250 Plus and Biolonk Poultry Shield. 

Now our remaining elderly lady Florence is staggering and has watery green poops. We are going to take her to the vet and I fear her answer will be the same, but I am worried what we need to do before we get new chickens, we have had so much joy in the past 10 years.

Many thanks for any advice.

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Well I don't think its Mareks, it usually presents at a younger age and generally you would notice wing/leg paralysis rather than staggering.  Watery poo can be a sign of many things, including dehydration, and the staggering could be a direct consequence of this and/or an inability to absorb/lack of nutrition.  Rather than speculate I think a trip to the vet is a good idea.  In terms of your cleaning regime, it sounds fine, although I would swap the Poultry Shield for something like VirkonS which is a more powerful disinfectant.  I used to use PS for my routine clean, but VS for a deep clean every now and again, particularly between batches of chicken.

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Hi, is this the same Flo in your signature from 2009? 10 years is an amazing age for a hybrid and at that age I would expect it to be a mass causing problems. Generally the hybrids are bred to produce for a year, maybe two, and not for longevity so generally 2-5 years is their life expectancy.

Watery poo and weak legs doesn't scream infectious to me so I wouldn't be overly worried about Mareks or similar, more a mass slowing down digestion or degenerative problems.

F10 is a good disinfectant and then I'd pop a powder in the fun like Stalosan or similar.

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I agree, doesn't sound like anything infectious, just 'non-specific old bird syndrome' as some poultry vets cal it.... No obvious cause.

I use Viratec P for any deep cleaning or disinfecting - kills most nasties.

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Posted (edited)

I’ve lost three chickens recently at ages 10/11.  It’s a very good age for a chicken, and amazing for a hybrid.  Mine are pure breed. 

All have followed a similar path, of slow decline, with finally symptoms of a stroke. That’s when it’s the end.  

 

Edited by Patricia W

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On 5/14/2019 at 10:18 AM, Daphne said:

Well I don't think its Mareks, it usually presents at a younger age and generally you would notice wing/leg paralysis rather than staggering.  Watery poo can be a sign of many things, including dehydration, and the staggering could be a direct consequence of this and/or an inability to absorb/lack of nutrition.  Rather than speculate I think a trip to the vet is a good idea.  In terms of your cleaning regime, it sounds fine, although I would swap the Poultry Shield for something like VirkonS which is a more powerful disinfectant.  I used to use PS for my routine clean, but VS for a deep clean every now and again, particularly between batches of chicken.

I have had two hens with Mareks now, both mature hens, well after their first year. So definitely not a disease that only effects chicks or very young hens.

My hens both had a paralysed leg, that wouldn’t bend anymore. It’s not a weakness in the legs, but a stiffening. Tell tail sign is a difference in the pupils of both eyes.

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I've had both types in my flock before - the fast version in a 2 year old who was laid low by a very hard moult, the slow type was in a young chick. Each level classic examples of that type too.

There's nothing that you can do about it - a bird can occasionally survive, but will succumb to the nerve lesions. It's best to cull. It will always be in the background in most flocks (it is a herpes virus) and will emerge when stress or any other situations weaken immunity; keep your flock healthy and stress-free.

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Many thanks to everyone for your help and advice. We took her to the vet that day. He was not sure exactly what the cause was and agreed that euthanasia was the best course for her. She was indeed the same Flo, our dearly loved best hen. The garden feels very empty without her.

thank you for tha advice on disinfectants. We will give it all a thorough clean before we start again, this time maybe with some bantam Welsummers.

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Sorry to hear it, sounds like she had a good innings!

Welsummer bantams are a great breed, ours were very cheeky.

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I think I have one going the same way. Shes 4ish and lost use of legs - a few days ago running around - takes a few pellets and water. I think its the vets tomorrow. Hense my question on vaccines. I thought Marek was one they were vaccinated against - now I worry others will go same way. 

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Tell tale sign is two different sized pupils Alis, otherwise there is no way knowing for sure it’s Mareks apart from a post mortum.

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I will go and look. Cant believe she is still alive. Surely if vaccinated they shouldn't get Mareks?

 

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