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#11183 - 02/12/04 09:59 AM My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
Raven Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/12/03
Posts: 121
Loc: Canada
Hi:
Ok, you old hands, I need some help. Really badly.
My backyard flock tested positive for both MG and MS- (Chronic Resp. Disease and the one that causes paralysis) which is what I'd suspected, it's now definate. So very very sad.
I do know they will be carriers if I choose not to "de-populate". Here's the question- does anyone know if they shed the virus when well, or only when sick/symptomatic? This is a really important consideration.
It's carried by wild birds, and is passed thru the egg to the chicks, so I have killed all my roosters hoping to save the rest. I don't see the sense in killing off my flock if a new one will just become re-infected, not to mention it will completely break my heart. Only some chickens are sick, none have died except the one I had necropsied. This has been going on since Aug.
The vet at the college told me that commercial farms are pretty well MG free, but backyard breeders like myself could be continuing this illness by bringing in stock, breeding, selling, etc. I'm heartsick, and need some real facts from someone who's been through this.
There is no hazard to human health, I understand.
Help!Thanks,Raven

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#11184 - 02/12/04 10:55 AM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hello Raven.I am so sorry and your post has brought back the heart ache I felt when it happened to my hens.There are a lot of quack cures and I probably tried most of them. Mycoplasma is a chronic desease. There is no cure, all you can do is mask the symptoms.I was told that even when looking well the hens could infect any new birds I bought in.
I wanted to breed and sell stock so in the end I had to cull them all and start again. I was without hens for about 2 months and spent most of that time sterilizing the buildings.
I know where this desease came from. I bought from a breeder who doses his birds every day to keep them looking OK. Of course when they are sold the symptoms come back and the birds are ill.I was so angry that anyone could be that unscrupulous.I could not do to other people what this man had done.
It is hard but if you keep the hens alive you keep the desease thriving.Its several years since this happened and so far no more trouble.It can be spread by wild birds but I believe it is mostly spread by breeders of poultry who know they have it and don't have any conscience about selling sick stock.
I know this is not what you want to hear. I would give anything to tell you that its all going to get better.Only you can decide what you do now. Good luck

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#11185 - 02/12/04 11:16 AM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
D. Caveny Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1102
Loc: Arizona
The best thing to do is kill the flock, clean out the building, wash and disenfect the buildings and all the equipment, then leave idle for several months. After that buy ONLY clean birds, don't drag them around with other birds and keep out visitors.

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#11186 - 02/12/04 11:27 AM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
Raven Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/12/03
Posts: 121
Loc: Canada
Thank you, Croston.
I'm absolutely, totally, completely heartbroken. Been crying all day, can't see me stopping anytime soon.
I'd hoped that culling my roosters would at least buy me some time- as if nothing breeds here, nothing hatches, nothing leaves here alive...but that's pretty impractical.
I worked so hard to breed what I wanted, and my work has all been for nothing. These are my pets, dear little things some of them, and my lovely laying hens, and their replacements. Each bird has a name, a personality, a place in my family. It also affects a friend with a little girl who adores her chickens, we're still trying to track where it came from originally. If this adult can't handle it, imagine what it's doing to a little girl?
So very, very sad.
I know what I have to do, but can't see me ever having chickens after this. It's heartwrenching. There's nothing I won't "vet", nothing I won't do to try to save them, but I know in the end, I can't. It's chronic, and it's always going to be there.
I wish it were Laryngo (ILT), Newcastle, or some other disease that's reportable where the government would take my burden of a decision away from me, and do it themselves. But it isn't.
And the kicker is that all the other 'backyard" flocks in this province could be rife with the same diseases, and knowing nothing, perpetuate it. I can't fathom starting over...
I was pretty sure I knew what I had to do, thank you for listening, and sharing your experience.

A really soggy Raven

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#11187 - 02/12/04 11:53 PM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
KazJaps Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 2805
Loc: Australia
Raven,

Please, please please, take into consideration the advice from a broad range of people, before making such a decision as wiping out your entire flock. These are more than just livestock animals to you, they are your pets. Would you be contemplating the same actions if it was a disease in your other pets (eg cats, dogs, etc}?

Take some time to research MG and MS some more. Obviously if it is estimated that the majority of small poultry flocks in the USA are positive for these diseases, then the majority of people out there ARE NOT DESTROYING all their flocks. Find out the reasons why. Find out how the commercial poultry breeders went about the process of erradicating these diseases from breeding stock. I am 100% certain they didn't go about this by killing off all their breeding stock, as there would be NOTHING LEFT!!!!

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#11188 - 02/13/04 12:50 AM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Unfortunately it WAS by culling that commercial flocks were cleared of this disease. The same is true of salmonela which took huge numbers of birds.Reserch shows there is no cure. It is easy to make excuses to keep your own birds alive and therefore the disease alive too. I know I did it for several months. Those hens were my pets but they were also my responsibilty.There are clean flocks around and I was not going to knowingly infect them and cause this heart break to others.
The majoraty of owners of infected flocks do not cull because they are making excuses and not facing the facts. It is very, very understandable but it is selfish.
If my cat or dog became ill with a disease that would infect every other cat or dog they met then yes I would definately have them culled.I would expect everyone to do the same.

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#11189 - 02/13/04 10:35 AM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
KazJaps Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 2805
Loc: Australia
I totally agree with Caveny in that the easiest way to proceed would be to destroy this flock & start again. But is the immediate destroying of positive flocks the only available option for disease management? Well of course, no! Is the eradication of positive flocks, in every situation, always the most practical & effective method of disease control? Once again no!

These are questions that immediately come to mind:
With the destroying of flocks:
1: Are you able to find clean replacement stock & of the genetic quality that you seek?
2: What is the probability of reinfection to a new flock?
And if you keep positive birds:
3: How prominent are Mycoplasmas in your area & where would YOU be spreading Mycoplasmas to, especially if many other small flocks are positive? Certainly not to others that practise biosecurity.
4: Is there a possibility of disease containment (ie quarantine)?
5: If there is little possibility of disease containment then what does this imply about the likelihood of reinfection of a clean flock?
6: Are there positive birds in the flock showing resistance to disease? These resistant birds are valuable in breeding programs. Part of the problem with eradication programs is that if All surviving birds are eradicated in a flock, genetic resistance is not allowed to develop in a population.

And this leads to the next question that keeps coming to mind. Why are some people once severely burned by diseases relying totally on other breeders to do all the hard work in establishing clean & resistant breeding stock? Why arenít they doing this themselves? Where are you going to get clean stock from if everyone keeps killing their flocks and passing the buck on to someone else? And will the few clean flocks available provide RESISTANT breeding stock or are all the tested resistant birds being killed in the process of positive flock eradication?

Quote:
Unfortunately it WAS by culling that commercial flocks were cleared of this disease.
But you see, all commercial flocks are NOT clean of Mycoplasmas. The eradication programs worked well with commercial breeder flocks, but Mycoplasmas still occur in production birds (& Caveny mentioned previously it still occurs in breeding stock). Do all commercial operations immediately kill off production flocks when found positive to Mycoplasmas? No!!! If keeping flocks clean of Mycoplasmas is difficult for commercial operations, what are your chances of keeping your flocks clean? Now apply this to your own situation and take a realistic look at the likelihood of providing such strict biosecurity to your own flock. Remembering here, that you are literally putting all your eggs in one basket, relying totally on isolation as a defence mechanism. One slip up means destroying your flock & starting again.

Successful eradication of Mycoplasmas in breeding flocks was not achieved by the immediate killing of all breeding flocks found positive to MS & MG. Why would you do this when it is known that a high percentage of flocks are positive? You would be losing valuable breeding stock & eradicating a large percentage of the gene pool, including proven RESISTANT stock. Such eradication programs of well-established & wide spread diseases are not achieved overnight. It is my understanding that part of the eradication program entailed segregation (isolation) of breeding stock, treating breeder eggs, gradually eradicating infected parent stock & keeping the clean (isolated) offspring for the next breeding generation.

I do not see where the eradication of all small flocks found positive to Mycoplasmas will achieve anything productive, in situations where it is known the likelihood of reinfection is very high & when such a high percentage of the population is positive. Be realistic here. What are you achieving? Yes, if you know you have a high probability of successfully isolating your stock from Mycoplasmas, by all means, buy TESTED CLEAN stock & keep in strict quarantine. But if you are contemplating exhibiting any stock, well forget about relying on biosecurity alone, unless it is a one-way trip to the show, and forget about free ranging if there is the slightest possibility of contact with wild animals. The risks are just too high. There are no commercial flocks in Australia positive to virulent Newcastle Disease. So why has the government decision been made for the compulsory vaccination of all commercial flocks? What, isnít the quarantine practises enough?

Take this into consideration. The majority of small flocks are positive to Mycoplasmas. Are all of the birds in these flocks showing signs of disease? NO!!!! It is the misconception I keep reading that if an animal is positive to a pathogen or is positive to antigens, it must be diseased. WRONG!!! I canít remember now where I read this but I think it is that a large percentage of the human population carry the herpes virus responsible for the common cold sore. But it is only a minority of people that ever develop cold sores (disease). Now put this into a poultry perspective. Would you eradicate all individuals found positive to the virus or would you use the large percentage of individuals found resistant, in breeding programs? In a wild bird breeding program, would you prefer to have wild birds from the UK (found positive to antigens of the West Nile virus, therefore signs of resistance) or wild birds in the USA tested negative to West Nile virus antigens but found susceptible to the disease? The ideal would be breeding stock negative to pathogens & tested resistant to disease. But how many backyard breeders have the resources & money to do this sort of lab work?

In my situation, the reliance on biosecurity alone is such an unrealistic gamble on the health of my flock, that if I did this I would be totally irresponsible. It is much more sensible for me to prepare for the likelihood of exposure to common diseases in my area. I do this by selection/breeding of birds found to have resistance to low mortality diseases & vaccinating for the virulent diseases in my area. Here is a link to Brian Reederís website, where you can read of his endeavours to develop disease resistant lines (including Mycoplasmas):
http://www.longtailfowl.com/vacc.html
http://www.geocities.com/onagadori/LongtailInfopg15resistance.html

If anyone wants to read up on genetic disease resistance ďPoultry Breeding & GeneticsĒ has a lot of information on the topic.

I do know someone personally who is in the process of eradicating Infectious Coryza from his breeding stock. He is achieving this by setting up a quarantine area for infected parent stock & artificially incubating eggs, rearing young stock in another quarantine area. He doesnít buy birds anymore, never exhibits birds & lives on large enough acreage for a quarantine system to be successful.

Quote:
If my cat or dog became ill with a disease that would infect every other cat or dog they met then yes I would definately have them culled.I would expect everyone to do the same.
Why would you kill your cats, dogs over some disease that has such a low mortality rate? Why do you believe you would HAVE to kill your pet & why would you be letting a positive animal have contact with other animals? Ever thought of vaccines? Does your vet advocate killing all pets found positive to infectious diseases or advocate the vaccination of all animals? Wouldnít he/she be doing everything to save the life of an infectious animal?
Why arenít you upset that people DO NOT kill off all flocks found positive to Marekís Disease? Why arenít you upset that no one is doing anything about eradicating coccidia? Why people have been letting protozoa spread everywhere! I donít know, I hope Iím not the only one out there that doesnít immediately think about gathering a possie together & stringing someone elseís neck because OUR birds have contracted a disease. Unless someone has intentionally come in to my chook yard carrying an infectious disease with the sole intention of infecting my flock, the sole responsibility of my flockís health is ALL MINE!

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#11190 - 02/13/04 11:09 AM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
Raven Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/12/03
Posts: 121
Loc: Canada
Spur, Croston, Caveny, and Kazjaps, and anyone I may have missed..
Thank you all for your thoughtful and rational replies. Whether you agree or not.
I've spent, and will continue to spend, a considerable amount of time reading scientific studies till I understand this disease better.

While green to chickens, I'm not green to healthcare or veterinary medicine.
I should mention that I don't have ANY obviously sick birds- anything that had a sneeze, I culled. Chicks from affected breeders, I destroyed, as well as their parents.

The rest are asymptomatic, laying well, so there HAS to be some natural immunity there- there has to be! Some have never, ever- not in the most stressful of times- showed any signs of disease. (And we lived thru a hurricane in a place that gets none, for 5 days with no power or water, with 2 horses, a cow, 70 meat birds, and 20 odd pet birds- stress- what stress?) smile The trees came down on my car and missed my house by less than 6 inches, but I never lost a chicken or anything else...

They are breeding resistant flocks commercially- so- that tells me some birds DO become immune- and doesn't that mean they don't have the disease or the ability to pass it on?

The big thing is- no one can assure me that this didn't come from the feed we buy, the wild starlings that come in thousands on their twice yearly migration- enveloping my land in a black mass as they sweep through. They can't tell me the meat birds I buy and raise every spring from the Co-op aren't affected. Or my replacement pullets. It's a really big unknown.

I'm not holding onto false hope- but I have 6 days till the next tests come back, to sit and do nothing, or to be pro-active. I choose pro-active...right or wrong- there is not another flock of chickens anywhere near me, for miles, so I see little harm in trying. Wild birds already have it, so they aren't really a consideration.

Everyone- every single bird I own, got a large IM shot of Tylosine, and I will continue it till Wednesday. They get another in their food and yet another in their water- what the heck, I had the stuff onhand anyway...if it doesn't work- well, I tried.
I'll offer another for necropsy next week. Even if that bird should come back "clean"- I'll NEVER, EVER breed, give away, or let another bird leave my property alive, EVER again. Sell no eggs, nor meat birds. I've killed my roosters- they can't reproduce thru parthenogenisis... (was that the right term?) I have the available land, buildings, time and medication to at least TRY. These are not commercial birds in a big operation- these are 38 pets, loved, and named.
I didn't shoot my arabian horse when she broke her leg, she's now 8 and has never been unsound. I owe my chickens no less...

I also do know it likely won't help- but, I have to try. That's not false hope, the vets can't give me definative answers as to where this came from, and till they do, I have to wait, and treat it. and read everything I can get my hands on...
So if that makes me an irresponsible owner- at least know that they will never leave my farm alive, or infect another bird outside my 10 acres. I'm sorry- I HAVE to try...
Roast me now, if you must! Lightly braised would be nice...lol.
Thanks again,
Raven

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#11191 - 02/13/04 12:49 PM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
R. Okimoto Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1498
Loc: Arkansas
Mycoplasma are bacteria that do not have cell walls.

MG and MS are usually not fatal and the vast majority of chicken show flocks are infected with one or the other or both. They can leave your birds open to other infections, and it does decrease production. Your birds are probably dying of a secondary infection of some other disease.

It gets transmitted through the egg, so you just can't save eggs, depopulate, and start over. Just one infected chick will reinfect the whole batch. We have cleaned up birds using Baytril, but I don't think that you can get it for poultry anymore. Unless you can treat the birds and move them to clean facilities you will just reinfect them again after you stop the antibiotic treatment.

The best treatment seems to be what Caveny suggested. Depopulate, disinfect, and leave the coop empty for a while before you bring clean birds back in.

If you ask most of the small hatcheries about mycoplasma they will either admit to having it, or say that they don't know. If they claim that they don't know, they just don't test. NPIP doesn't require mycoplasma testing.

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#11192 - 02/13/04 01:37 PM Re: My chickens have Mycoplasma G and S, now what?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hello. I am finding this thread of posts very distressing and am hoping someone can answer a few questions for me. Here is my situation: in October I bought two turkey poults from a friend who got them from a local auction. One poult was fine and thrived - the other fell ill after a week and became paralized. He finally died and I had him necropsied but the results showed nothing abnormal. I went back to my friend and got another poult. At this time she had several ill birds and one died. She had it necropsied and the results showed mycoplasma. (she told me this after I bought the second poult) The vet who did the necropsy on her bird (who works for the state poultry department) told her to treat her birds and they will be fine. A few days after I got the second poult he showed signs of illness - swollen sinuses, clear discharge, coughing and sneezing. I treated him (and all the chickens he was housed with) with Tylan in the water and it cleared right up and I hadn't given it another thought until reading these posts. So my questions are - are there different stains of mycoplasma? Are my birds in the same situation as Raven's? If I send fertile eggs to someone will the peeps that hatch be infected? My birds are my pets and I love them very much. They appear healthy in every way. They are laying well. I am very shocked that this vet didn't say a word about the seriousness of this disease. If I hadn't read this post I would still be totally in the dark about all this.

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