vet said that one of my hens has Marek's

The vet said that one of my hens has Marek's disease! She is well in herself but a bit lame, she is eating well, still laying and enjoying herself. Wanders round the garden and still sort of runs up to me if I have something nice for her to eat. We are keeping her in the house at night so that she doesnt get cold. I dont know what the stages of Marek's are and all of my hens have been bought from a reputable breeder and we were told that they had been vacinated so Im not sure how she has got this. My main questions are, will she die, will my other hens get it and is there anything I can do? Thanks. Lynne

Comments for vet said that one of my hens has Marek's

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 06, 2010
Marek's disease
by: The Avian Vet

Yes, Marek?s can cause death, but more often it causes tumor and neurological problems with the legs, wings, and eyes, without causing death, but usually the quality of life is low and euthanasia is recommended. I am not suggesting that is the condition of your bird. That is a decision you and your doctor will need to make.

It is a contagious disease, but if your other birds are vaccinated, their chances of getting the disease is low. Are you certain that all of your birds are vaccinated? Although chicks are not hatched with immunity to this Herpes virus, they do develop some immunity as they mature, even if not vaccinated, but vaccines usually guarantee they will not become infected. There is nothing you can do now. The only control method is to purchase vaccinated, disease-free chicks and keep them isolated from other chickens.

Dr B

Jan 29, 2010
vet said that one of my hens has Marek's
by: Linda

Hi again. I did a little more study about Marek's, and the vaccine has proven to be effective, so why your bird has this, is a mystery unless bird already had disease when given the vaccine at the breeder's facility. I also read that even birds NOT showing any signs of disease can have the tumors and lesions inside. I would suggest vet take the proper steps to report this to the proper authorities so the breeder's flock can be checked. All poultry birds are supposed to have had the vaccine BEFORE sale, and since it has proven to be effective, then WHY does your bird have this? Interesting that.

This information is for your best good and that of the public in general, so please take it as the helpful information we are ethically bound to distribute. If a breeder is selling infected poultry, there is a major problem here. Just food for thought this.

Linda

Jan 29, 2010
vet said that one of my hens has Marek's
by: Linda

Marek's Disease is so contageous that it will run through a flock of birds killing every one of them. I'm not sure how reliable the vaccinations are, so here are instructions for dealing with this. Basically, the meat from a bird with Marek's is to be thrown in the trash as internal tumors form making the meat tainted. Eggs produced from an infected hen may also need to be discarded. Your bird is highly infectious even if she has had vaccinations and may possibly be able to infect any baby chicks or any new birds coming into your flock. Any of the vaccinations for anything are not 100% reliable, and your bird may have already been infected at the breeder's facility.

Since this is such a horrible disease, the breeder's flock all need to be checked for the disease. There are a few dangerous infections among poultry birds, New Castles, Psittacosis and Marek's. The only one with a decent recovery rate if given Tetracycline is the Psittacosis. It is against the law to trade in ANY poultry birds who have been diagnosed with any contageous disease, so you need to talk with your vet about all the ramifications here. Most vets will turn in birds who pose a possible threat to a state's poultry population to the Agricultural Department. In fact, as far as I know, it is the law to report any cases of contageous disease in poultry birds, so be careful here. You should not sell any birds or chicks, and eggs may also need to be discarded from infected birds.

Get back with your vet and ask him if he has already reported this to the proper authorities. If not, the law may be being broken here, so tread very carefully. Just get the facts is all you need do and abide by any constrictions on sale or trade.

Death from Marek's usually occurs between 8 and 20 weeks, so your hen may be a carrier and spreader of this disease. All your birds need to be tested for it even if they look okay right now. If vet has already done this, then this one hen may need to be euthanized if she is a carrier. In the parrot arena, birds can be carriers of contageous disease without getting sick and dying from them.

So, talk with vet again about the ramifications of having a bird diagnosed with this, and the breeder's birds also will need to be checked. When dealing with contageons, no birds are to be sold or moved anywhere for any reason. Maybe it is different for the Marek's Disease, and it is worth you looking into it in order to be within the boundaries of the law to avoid problems later.

Thanks for writing,
Linda

Click here to add your own comments