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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30380
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My name is ***** *****, I have an old Silkie Rooster that

Customer Question

Hi, my name is ***** *****, I have an old Silkie Rooster that suddenly went Blind, I can't find any tra tram anywhere, he is still in a good mood, and his eyes are clear, he just can't see
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: He is about 7 to 9 years old, I cannot remember bow old he is. Biscuit has had many different diseases, The right side of his face has been slightly swollen, but he has been eating good and running around. Now Ive noticed he has lost some weight and he cannot see. He spent almost a year in th house due to injury a year ago, so I bring him in often. He cannot see his favorite treats, he cannot see my husband, he cannot see me, he is trying to look, but he canoot see us
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Please take a look at this site:

We can rule out ammonia toxicity, avian pox, developmental disorders, and avian encephalomyelitis out of hand. A nutritional deficiency is unlikely if he's made it to 7-9 years of age. This leaves age-related changes such as cataracts in an elderly rooster, bacterial and fungal infections that have not only involved the right side of his face but also his eyes, neoplasia (cancer) that has not only involved the right side of his face but also his eyes, and the elephant in the room - Marek's disease. In fact, blindness should be assumed to be caused by Marek's unless proven otherwise. The kicker here is that Marek's - while it can affect any age chicken - is far more commonly seen in immature birds. Nevertheless, I've seen variants of this herpesvirus in older birds.

Pragmatically speaking, Biscuit isn't likely to be diagnosed accurately without the aid of an avian vet (please see here: who is also adept at using an ophthalmoscope to examine a chicken's eyes. I admit that that's not commonly done but should be. In fact, the etiology of his blindness might not be determined pre-mortem. There's no treatment for Marek's. If the swelling indicates neoplasia Biscuit gets to be spoiled inside the house until his quality of life isn't acceptable. His weight loss might indicate neoplasia but his inability to find food might well be the culprit too.

Please take a look at the eyes of many Marek's patients here and tell me if you see changes such as these:!mareks-disease/c1qzk I'm going to run Biscuit by a friend of mine who's a specialist veterinary pathologist with an interest in birds.

My friend said the following: "He's an old guy and some old age disease, like cataracts (although they say it was sudden onset) or neoplasia (such as leukosis or Marek's with the weight loss) is my suspicion."

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin