Doggy Blues: Getting Help for Dog Depression and Other IssuesDoggy Blues: Getting Help for Dog Depression and Other Issues

About Me

Doggy Blues: Getting Help for Dog Depression and Other Issues

Welcome to my blog. My name is Ashley, and I love my dog Shelly more than anything in the world. I have had her for years, and I have helped her through a range of illnesses and emotional issues. After her brother, Yeats, died, Shelly became rather despondent. I didn't call the vet right away because I didn't realize the vet could help, but after a while, Shelly's mood didn't improve. I just didn't know what to do, so I called the vet. She was amazing. She explained that Shelly had depression, and she prescribed meds for it. Now Shelly and I are happier than ever, and to help others, I decided to start this blog about doggy emotional and physical health. I hope you enjoy it.

Marek's Disease In Chickens - A Preventable Poultry Problem

If you're new to keeping chickens, you may not have heard of Marek's disease.  Marek's disease is one of the most serious seen in backyard-kept chickens and it is usually fatal.  But what causes the condition and what can you do to keep your precious chooks safe?

What is Marek's disease?

Marek's disease is a highly contagious condition caused by a strain of the herpes virus.

The disease spreads in several ways including:

  • through direct bird to bird contact in flocks
  • via contact with infected dander and dust in chicken runs and houses
  • through consumption of mealworms and darkling beetles that live in chicken houses

Infected birds can also be made more vulnerable to other parasitic and bacterial diseases, which may affect the overall health of the whole flock.  Chickens can catch Marek's disease from birth right through adulthood.

Signs and symptoms

There are several different forms of Marek's disease and it can manifest itself in a number of different ways.  However, the following are common symptoms to be on the lookout for:

  • feather follicles that appear enlarged or red in colour
  • white lumps on the skin that later form crusty, brown scabs
  • paralysis of the wings or legs leading to injury caused by being trodden on by coop-mates
  • twisted neck
  • breathing difficulty
  • loss of condition and bodyweight caused by the inability to access water and food
  • diarrhoea
  • visual impairment and eye lesions

How to prevent Marek's disease

Marek's disease is easily preventable by ensuring that any chooks you introduce to your flock are vaccinated against the condition.  If you're unsure whether your existing birds have been vaccinated, it's wise to ask your vet to do the job, just in case there is an outbreak of the disease in your area.  Although immune transfer from the hen to the chick provides some protection to the chick for the first few days of life, you should still have any new chicks that you hatch at home vaccinated at one day old.

It's important to keep your chicken house and run clean and hygienic, as the virus can survive for many months in litter and dust.  Keeping new chooks isolated for a couple of weeks before introducing them to your existing flock can help to protect your birds from imported diseases including Marek's.

Marek's disease is invariably fatal to backyard poultry, but you can keep your flock safe by having them vaccinated by your vet.  Ensure that you practice good hygiene in your chicken run and coop, and watch any new birds closely for signs of the disease.