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Common Poultry Diseases1
G.D. Butcher, J.P. Jacob, and F.B. Mather2 before healing is complete, the surface beneath is raw Respiratory Diseases
and bleeding. Unthriftiness and retarded growth are There are many common and important diseases typical symptoms of fowl pox. In laying hens, which can affect the respiratory system (air passages, infection results in a transient decline in egg lungs, air sacs) of poultry (see Table 1). Poultry refers to birds that people keep for their use and generallyincludes the chicken, turkey, duck, goose, quail, In the wet form there are canker-like lesions in pheasant, pigeon, guinea fowl, pea fowl, ostrich, emu the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and trachea. The wet and rhea. Due to modern systems of management, form may cause respiratory distress by obstructing the usually with high poultry densities, these diseases are upper air passages. Chickens may be affected with either or both forms of fowl pox at one time.
Transmission: Fowl pox is transmitted by direct
contact between infected and susceptible birds or by Synonyms: chicken pox (not to be confused with
mosquitos. Virus-containing scabs also can be chicken pox in humans; the human disease does not sloughed from affected birds and serve as a source of affect poultry and vice versa), sore head, avian infection. The virus can enter the blood stream through the eye, skin wounds, or respiratory tract. Mosquitos become infected from feeding on birds with Species affected: Most poultry -- chickens, turkeys,
fowl pox in their blood stream. There is some pheasants, quail, ducks, psittacine, and ratites -- of all evidence that the mosquito remains infective for life. Mosquitos are the primary reservoir and spreaders offowl pox on poultry ranges. Several species of Clinical signs: There are two forms of fowl pox. The
mosquito can transmit fowl pox. Often mosquitos dry form is characterized by raised, wart-like lesions winter-over in poultry houses so, outbreaks can occur on unfeathered areas (head, legs, vent, etc.). The lesions heal in about 2 weeks. If the scab is removed This document is Fact Sheet PS-47, one of a series of the Dairy and Poultry Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences, University of Florida. First published: May 1999. Please visit the EDIS Website at
G.D. Butcher, extension poultry veterinarian, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, J.P. Jacob, poultry extension coordinator, and F. B. Mather, poultry extensionspecialist, Dairy and Poultry Sciences Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida,Gainesville, 32611.
The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. It is not a guarantee or warranty of the products named, anddoes not signify that they are approved to the exclusion of others of suitable composition.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research,educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age,handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative ExtensionService office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / ChristineTaylor Waddill, Dean Treatment: No treatment is available. However, fowl
in the egg, but Newcastle-infected embryos die before pox is relatively slow-spreading. Thus, it is possible hatching. In live birds, the virus is shed in body to vaccinate to stop an outbreak. The wing-web fluids, secretions, excreta, and breath.
vaccination method is used for chickens and the thigh-stick method for turkeys older than 8 weeks. Treatment: There is no specific treatment for
Newcastle disease. Antibiotics can be given for 3-5
Prevention: Fowl pox outbreaks in poultry confined
days to prevent secondary bacterial infections to houses can be controlled by spraying to kill (particularly E. coli). For chicks, increasing the mosquitos. However, if fowl pox is endemic in the brooding temperature 5F may help reduce losses.
area, vaccination is recommended. Do not vaccinateunless the disease becomes a problem on a farm or in Prevention: Prevention programs should include
the area. Refer to the publication PS-36 (Vaccination vaccination (see publication PS-36, Vaccination of of Small Poultry Flocks) for more information on fowl Small Poultry Flocks), good sanitation, and implementation of a comprehensive biosecurityprogram.
Newcastle Disease
Infectious Bronchitis
Synonyms: pneumoencephalitis
Synonyms: IB, bronchitis, cold
Newcastle disease is known as viscerotropic (attacks Species affected: Infectious bronchitis is a disease of
the internal organs) velogenic Newcastle disease, chickens only. A similar disease occurs in bobwhite VVND, exotic Newcastle disease, or Asiatic quail (quail bronchitis), but it is caused by a different Newcastle disease. VVND is not present in the United States poultry industry at this time.
Clinical signs: The severity of infectious bronchitis
Species affected: Newcastle disease affects all birds
infection is influenced by the age and immune status of all ages. Humans and other mammals are also of the flock, by environmental conditions, and by the susceptible to Newcastle. In such species, it causes a presence of other diseases. Feed and water consumption declines. Affected chickens will bechirping, with a watery discharge from the eyes and Clinical signs: There are three forms of Newcastle
nostrils, and labored breathing with some gasping in disease -- mildly pathogenic (lentogenic), moderately young chickens. Breathing noises are more noticeable pathogenic (mesogenic) and highly pathogenic at night while the birds rest. Egg production drops (velogenic). Newcastle disease is characterized by a dramatically. Production will recover in 5 or 6 weeks, sudden onset of clinical signs which include hoarse but at a lower rate. The infectious bronchitis virus chirps (in chicks), watery discharge from nostrils, infects many tissues of the body, including the labored breathing (gasping), facial swelling, paralysis, reproductive tract (see Table 1). Eggshells become trembling, and twisting of the neck (sign of central rough and the egg white becomes watery. (See nervous system involvement). Mortality ranges from publication PS-24, Egg Quality, for other causes of 10 to 80 percent depending on the pathogenicity. In adult laying birds, symptoms can include decreasedfeed and water consumption and a dramatic drop in Transmission: Infectious bronchitis is a very
contagious poultry disease. It is spread by air, feedbags, infected dead birds, infected houses, and Transmission: The Newcastle virus can be
rodents. The virus can be egg-transmitted, however, transmitted short distances by the airborne route or affected embryos usually will not hatch.
introduced on contaminated shoes, caretakers, feeddeliverers, visitors, tires, dirty equipment, feed sacks, Treatment: There is no specific treatment for
crates, and wild birds. Newcastle virus can be passed infectious bronchitis. Antibiotics for 3-5 days may aid in combating secondary bacterial infections. Raise the Avian Influenza
room temperature 5F for brooding-age chickens untilsymptoms subside. Baby chicks can be encouraged to Synonyms: AI, flu, influenza, fowl plague
Species affected: Avian influenza can occur in most,
Prevention: Establish and enforce a biosecurity
program. Vaccinations are available.
Clinical signs: Avian influenza is categorized as mild
or highly pathogenic. The mild form produces
Quail Bronchitis
listlessness, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, Synonyms: none
diarrhea, transient drops in egg production, and lowmortality. The highly pathogenic form produces facial Species affected: Bobwhite quail are affected.
swelling, blue comb and wattles, and dehydration with Japanese corturnix quail are resistant. The disease is respiratory distress. Dark red/white spots develop in prevalent in the southern states where bobwhite quail the legs and combs of chickens. There can be blood- are common. Quail bronchitis occurs seasonally as tinged discharge from the nostrils. Mortality can range new hatches and broods come along each year.
from low to near 100 percent. Sudden exertion addsto the total mortality. Egg production and hatchability Clinical signs: Respiratory distress occurs with
decreases. There can be an increase in production of tracheal rales (rattles), sneezing, and coughing. Feed soft-shelled and shell-less eggs (see Table 1).
and water consumption declines dramatically. Therecan also be conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye).
Transmission: The avian influenza virus can remain
Loose watery feces are seen in older and sub-acutely viable for long periods of time at moderate affected birds. Nasal discharges are not seen, temperatures and can live indefinitely in frozen differentiating quail bronchitis from similar diseases in material. As a result, the disease can be spread through improper disposal of infected carcasses andmanure. Avian influenza can be spread by Transmission: Once infected, quail bronchitis
contaminated shoes, clothing, crates, and other remains on the farm for the duration of the breeding equipment. Insects and rodents may mechanically season, infecting each successive brood.
carry the virus from infected to susceptible poultry.
Treatment: There is no specific treatment against
Treatment: There is no effective treatment for avian
quail bronchitis. Quail bronchitis infections are often influenza. With the mild form of the disease, good complicated by concurrent mycoplasma infections. husbandry, proper nutrition, and broad spectrum Antibiotics can be used to combat secondary antibiotics may reduce losses from secondary infections. Add tylosin (500g/ton) to the feed for 10 infections. Recovered flocks continue to shed the days, withhold the medication for 5 days, and then virus. Vaccines may only be used with special permit.
repeat medication for 5 days. Alternate medicationregimens are tylosin (Tylan) or erythromycin Prevention: A vaccination program used in
(Gallimycin) in the drinking water for the same period conjunction with a strict quarantine has been used to control mild forms of the disease. With the morelethal forms, strict quarantine and rapid destruction of Prevention: There is no commercial vaccine on the
all infected flocks remains the only effective method market. It is necessary to break the cycle by of stopping an avian influenza outbreak. If you depopulating and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting suspect you may have Avian Influenza in your flock, pens and equipment, followed by a 30-90 day even the mild form, you must report it to the state veterinarian’s office. A proper diagnosis of avianinfluenza is essential. Aggressive action isrecommended even for milder infections as this virushas the ability to readily mutate to a more pathogenicform.
For more information on avian influenza, refer to Prevention: Good management and sanitation are the
publication PS-38 (Avian Influenza in Poultry best ways to avoid infectious coryza. Most outbreaks occur as a result of mixing flocks. All replacementbirds on “coryza-endemic” farms should bevaccinated. The vaccine (Coryza-Vac) is administered Infectious Coryza
subcutaneously (under the skin) on the back of the Synonyms: roup, cold, coryza
neck. Each chicken should be vaccinated four times,starting at 5 weeks of age with at least 4 weeks Species affected: chickens, pheasants, and guinea
between injections. Vaccinate again at 10 months of fowl. Common in game chicken flocks.
Clinical signs: Swelling around the face, foul
Infectious Laryngotracheitis
smelling, thick, sticky discharge from the nostrils andeyes, labored breathing, and rales (rattles -- an Synonyms: LT, ILT, trach, laryngo
abnormal breathing sound) are common clinical signs. The eyelids are irritated and may stick together. The Species affected: Chickens and pheasants are
birds may have diarrhea and growing birds may affected by LT. Chickens 14 weeks and older are more susceptible than young chickens. Most LToutbreaks occur in mature hens. In recent years, LT Mortality from coryza is usually low, but has also caused significant respiratory problems in infections can decrease egg production and increase broilers greater than 3 weeks of age, especially during the incidence and/or severity of other diseases. the cooler seasons of the year. This is believed to be Mortality can be as high as 50 percent, but is usually due to unwanted spread of LT vaccines between no more than 20 percent. The clinical disease can last from a few days to 2-3 months, depending on thevirulence of the pathogen and the existence of other Clinical signs: The clinical sign usually first noticed
is watery eyes. Affected birds remain quiet becausebreathing is difficult. Coughing, sneezing, and Transmission: Coryza is primarily transmitted by
shaking of the head to dislodge exudate plugs in the direct bird-to-bird contact. This can be from infected windpipe follow. Birds extend their head and neck to birds brought into the flock as well as from birds facilitate breathing (commonly referred to as “pump which recover from the disease which remain carriers handle respiration”). Inhalation produces a wheezing of the organism and may shed intermittently and gurgling sound. Blood-tinged exudates and serum throughout their lives. Birds risk exposure at poultry clots are expelled from the trachea of affected birds.
shows, bird swaps, and live-bird sales. Inapparent Many birds die from asphyxiation due to a blockage of infected adult birds added into a flock are a common the trachea when the tracheal plug is freed (see Table source for outbreaks. Within a flock, inhalation of airborne respiratory droplets, and contamination offeed and/or water are common modes of spread.
Transmission: LT is spread by the respiratory route.
LT is also spread from flock to flock by contaminated
Treatment: Water soluble antibiotics or antibacterials
clothing, shoes, tires, etc. Birds that recover should be can be used. Sulfadimethoxine (Albon®, Di- considered carriers for life. LT may be harbored in Methox™) is the preferred treatment. If it is not speciality poultry such as exhibition birds and game available, or not effective, sulfamethazine (Sulfa- Max®, SulfaSure™), erythromycin (gallimycin®), ortetracycline (Aureomycin®) can be used as alternative Treatment: Incinerate dead birds, administer
treatments. Sulfa drugs are not FDA approved for antibiotics to control secondary infection, and pullets older than 14 weeks of age or for commercial vaccinate the flock. Mass vaccination by spray or layer hens. While antibiotics can be effective in drinking water method is not recommended for large reducing clinical disease, they do not eliminate carrier commercial or caged flocks. Individual bird administration by the eye-drop route is suggested. Species affected: Affected species include turkeys,
Follow manufacturers instructions. In small poultry pigeons, ducks, psittacine (curve-beaked) birds, flocks, use a swab to remove plug from gasping birds, captive and aviary birds, many other bird species, and other animals. Chickens are not commonly affected. Humans are susceptible, especially older and Prevention: Vaccinate replacement birds for outbreak
immunosuppressed individuals who are at a higher farms. Vaccination for LT is not as successful as for risk. Chlamydiosis in humans is an occupational other disease, but is an excellent preventive measure disease of turkey growers, haulers, and processing for use in outbreaks and in epidemic areas. Refer to workers in the live-bird areas and of workers in pet- the publication PS-36 (Vaccination of Small Poultry bird aviaries although the incidence is rare. For more Flocks) for more information on LT vaccinations.
information, refer to publication PS-23 (AvianDiseases Transmissible to Humans).
Turkey Rhinotracheitis
Clinical signs: Clinical signs in most birds include
Synonyms: TRT, rhino tracheitis
nasal-ocular discharge, conjunctivitis, sinusitis,diarrhea, weakness, loss of body weight, and a Species affected: Turkeys of all ages are susceptible,
reduction in feed consumption. In turkeys there is also but the disease is most severe in young poults. respiratory distress and loose yellow to greenish- Chickens are susceptible to the virus. Experimentally, yellow colored droppings. Chylamydiosis runs rather guinea fowl and pheasants are susceptible, but slowly through turkey flocks, with a maximum waterfowl and pigeons are resistant.
incidence of around 50 percent (see Table 1).
Clinical signs: Respiratory signs in poults include
Transmission: The primary means of transmission is
snicking, rales, sneezing, nasal exudates (often frothy), through inhalation of fecal dust and respiratory tract foamy conjunctivitis, and sinusitis. Drops in egg secretions. It can also be transmitted on contaminated production can be as much as 70 percent (see Table 1).
clothing and equipment. Recovered birds remaincarriers and will continue to intermittently shed the Transmission: Spread is primarily by contact with
infective agent for long periods after clinical signs contaminated environments, feed and water, recovered have subsided. Environmental stress may provoke a Treatment: No drugs are available to combat the
Treatment: Chlorotetracycline can be given in the
virus. Antibiotic therapy is recommended to control feed (200-400 g/ton) for 3 weeks. Other antibiotics are usually ineffective. Recovered birds are safe forprocessing. Permanent lesions on the heart and liver Prevention: No vaccines are currently available.
are not infectious. FDA withdrawal periods for Prevention is dependent on a comprehensive medications used must be strictly observed to avoid Chlamydiosis
Prevention: There is no vaccine. Have a good
biosecurity program, excluding wild birds as much as
Synonyms: ornithosis, psittacosis, parrot fever.
The disease was called psittacosis or parrot fever Swollen Head Syndrome
when diagnosed in psittacine (curve-beaked) birds,and called ornithosis when diagnosed in all other birds Synonyms: Facial cellulitis, thick head, Dikkop, SHS
or in humans. Currently, the term chlamydiosis isused to describe infections in any animal.
Species affected: Chickens and turkeys are the
known natural hosts. Experimentally, guinea fowl and
pheasants are susceptible but pigeons, ducks, and
geese are resistant to the infection. SHS does not
presently occur in the United States, but is present in swollen, and the exudate becomes caseous and firm. The birds have respiratory rales and showunthriftiness.
Clinical signs: In chicks and poults, there is initial
sneezing, followed by reddening and swelling of the
With the “lower form”, infected turkeys develop tear ducts and eye tissue. Facial swelling will extend airsacculitis. As with chickens, birds can show no over the head and down the jaw and wattles. Adult outward signs if the infection is uncomplicated. Thus, chickens have mild respiratory disease followed by a the condition may go unnoticed until the birds are few birds having swollen heads. Other signs include slaughtered and the typical legions are seen. Birds disorientation, twisting of the neck, and a significant drop in egg production (see Table 1).
MG in chicken embryos can cause dwarfing, Transmission: The infection spreads by direct contact
with infected birds or indirectly by exposure toinfectious material.
Transmission: MG can be spread to offspring
through the egg. Most commercial breeding flocks,
Treatment: There is no proven medication for swollen
however, are MG-free. Introduction of infected head syndrome. The disease is caused by a virus replacement birds can introduce the disease to MG- classified as a pneumovirus. A disease closely negative flocks. MG can also be spread by using MG- mimicking SHS is caused by a mixed infection of respiratory viruses and specific bacteria. Antibiotictherapy may be helpful against the bacterial Treatment: Outbreaks of MG can be controlled with
the use of antibiotics. Erythromycin, tylosin,spectinomycin, and lincomycin all exhibit anti- Prevention: A commercial vaccine is available.
mycoplasma activity and have given good results. Swollen head syndrome is considered an exotic Administration of most of these antibiotics can be by disease and a live vaccine is not approved for use in feed, water or injection. These are effective in reducing clinical disease. However, birds remaincarriers for life.
Mycoplasma gallisepticum
Prevention: Eradication is the best control of
Synonyms: MG, chronic respiratory disease (CRD),
Improvement Plan monitors all participating chickenand turkey breeder flocks. Species affected: chickens, turkeys, pigeons, ducks,
peafowl and passerine birds.
Mycoplasma synoviae
Clinical signs: Clinical symptoms vary slightly
Synonyms: MS, infectious synovitis, synovitis, silent
between species. Infected adult chickens may show no outward signs if infection is uncomplicated.
However, sticky, serous exudate from nostrils, foamy Species affected: chickens and turkeys.
exudate in eyes, and swollen sinuses can occur, especially in broilers. The air sacs may become Clinical signs: Birds infected with the synovitis form
infected. Infected birds can develop respiratory rales show lameness, followed by lethargy, reluctance to and sneeze. Affected birds are often stunted and move, swollen joints, stilted gait, loss of weight, and formation of breast blisters. Birds infected with therespiratory form exhibit respiratory distress. Greenish There are two forms of this disease in the turkey. diarrhea is common in dying birds (see Table 1). With the “upper form” the birds have watery eyes and Clinically, the disease in indistinguishable from MG. nostrils, the infraorbitals (just below the eye) become Transmission: MS is transmitted from infected
breeder to progeny via the egg. Within a flock, MS isspread by direct contact with infected birds as well as Synonyms: brooder pneumonia, mycotic pneumonia,
through airborne particles over short distances.
fungal pneumonia, Aspergillus. When the source ofthe disease is the hatchery, the disease is called Treatment: Recovery is slow for both respiratory and
brooder pneumonia. In older birds, the disease is synovitis forms. Several antibiotics are variably effective. The most effective are tylosin, erthromycin,spectinomycin, lincomycin, and chlorotectracycline. Species affected: All birds (domestic poultry,
These antibiotics can be given by injection while some pigeons, canary and zoo bird species), animals, can be administered in the feed or drinking water. These treatments are most effective when theantibiotics are injected. Clinical signs: Aspergillosis occurs as an acute
disease of young birds and a chronic disease in mature
Prevention: Eradication is the best and only sure
birds. Young birds have trouble breathing and gasp control. Do not use breeder replacements from flocks for air. Characteristically, there are no rales or that have had MS. The National Poultry Improvement respiratory sounds associated with aspergillosis. Feed consumption decreases. Occasionally there isparalysis or convulsions caused by the fungal toxin.
Mycoplasma meleagridis
Mortality in young birds averages 5-20 percent, butmay be as high as 50 percent. Mature birds also have Synonyms: MM, N strain, H strain
respiratory distress, reduced feed consumption, andmay have a bluish and dark color of the skin Species affected: MM affects turkeys of all ages,
(cyanosis). Nervous disorders, such as twisted necks, although poults are affected more severely than mature may occur in a few birds (see Table 1). Mortality in turkeys. Recently, MM has been shown to infect mature birds is usually less than 5 percent.
Transmission: Aspergillosis is caused by a fungus.
Clinical signs: A drop-off in production and
The fungus grows well at room temperature and hatchability can be expected in breeder flocks. There higher. All litter and nest materials (peat moss, peanut can be very high mortality in young poults. hulls, sawdust, peat, bark, straw) have been known to Unthriftiness, respiratory distress, stunting, crooked have been contaminated with aspergillus. Feed and neck with deformity of cervical vertebrae, and leg water should be suspect when attempting to identify deformation are common in young birds (see Table 1).
Transmission: Egg transmission is low in the early
Treatment: There is no cure for infected birds. The
breeding period, but rises as the the age of the flock spread can be controlled by improving ventilation, increases. Infections can be introduced into a flock by eliminating the source of the infection, and adding a contaminated equipment, shoes, and clothing of fungistat (mycostatin, mold curb, sodium or calcium propionate, or gentian violet) to the feed and/or coppersulfate or acidified copper in the drinking water for 3 Treatment: Several antibiotics have been effective
days. The litter can be sprayed lightly with an oil-base including tylosin, erythromycin, spectinomycin, and germicide to control dust and air movement of fungal Prevention: The best preventive measure is to keep
Prevention: It is important to thoroughly clean and
MM-free breeders. The MM-free status of breeders disinfect the brooding area between broods. Use only can be confirmed by periodic blood tests through the clean litter, preferably soft wood shavings. Do not use sawdust, litter high in bark content, or shavings thathave been wet.
clinical signs are not noticeable until the birds are 16 Viral Diseases (nonrespiratory)
weeks or older. Affected birds become progressivelyweaker and emaciated. There is regression of the Marek's Disease
comb. The abdomen becomes enlarged. Greenish Synonyms: acute leukosis, neural leukosis, range
diarrhea develops in terminal stages (see Table 2).
Transmission: The virus is transmitted through the
Species affected: Chickens between 12 to 25 weeks
egg to offspring. Within a flock, it is spread by bird- of age are most commonly clinically affected. to-bird contact and by contact with contaminated Occasionally pheasants, quail, game fowl and turkeys environments. The virus is not spread by air. Infected Clinical signs: Marek’s disease is a type of avian
Treatment: none
cancer. Tumors in nerves cause lameness andparalysis. Tumors can occur in the eyes and cause Prevention: The virus is present in the yolk and egg
irregularly shaped pupils and blindness. Tumors of white of eggs from infected hens. Most national and the liver, kidney, spleen, gonads, pancreas, international layer breeders have eradicated lymphoid proventriculus, lungs, muscles, and skin can cause leukosis from their flocks. Most commercial chicks incoordination, unthriftiness, paleness, weak labored are lymphoid-leukosis negative because they are breathing, and enlarged feather follicles. In terminal hatched from LL-free breeders. The disease is still stages, the birds are emaciated with pale, scaly combs and greenish diarrhea (see Table 2).
Infectious Bursal Disease
Marek’s disease is very similar to Lymphoid Leukosis, but Marek’s usually occurs in chickens 12 to Synonyms: Gumboro, IBD, infectious bursitis,
25 weeks of age and Lymphoid Leukosis usually starts Species affected: chickens
Transmission: The Marek’s virus is transmitted by
air within the poultry house. It is in the feather
Clinical signs: In affected chickens greater than 3
dander, chicken house dust, feces and saliva. Infected weeks of age, there is usually a rapid onset of the birds carry the virus in their blood for life and are a disease with a sudden drop in feed and water source of infection for susceptible birds.
consumption, watery droppings leading to soiling offeathers around the vent, and vent pecking. Feathers Treatment: none
appear ruffled. Chicks are listless and sit in a hunchedposition. Chickens infected when less than 3 weeks of Prevention: Chicks can be vaccinated at the hatchery.
age do not develop clinical disease, but become While the vaccination prevents tumor formation, it severely and permanently immunosuppressed (see does not prevent infection by the virus. Transmission: The virus is spread by bird-to-bird
Lymphoid Leukosis
contact, as well as by contact with contaminated Synonyms: visceral leukosis, leukosis, big liver, LL
people and equipment. The virus is shed in the birddroppings and can be spread by air on dust particles. Species affected: Although primarily a disease of
Dead birds are a source of the virus and should be chickens, lymphoid leukosis can infect turkeys, guinea fowl, pheasants, and doves, but not on a large scale.
Treatment: There is no specific treatment.
Clinical signs: The virus involved has a long
Antibiotics, sulfonamides, and nitrofurans have little incubation period (4 months or longer). As a result, or no effect. Vitamin-electrolyte therapy is helpful. High levels of tetracyclines are contraindicated 50-foot strip around bird pens. This removes cover because they tie up calcium, thereby producing rickets. and resting areas for mosquitos. Eliminate mosquito Surviving chicks remain unthrifty and more breeding areas. Fog areas with malathion. susceptible to secondary infections because ofimmunosuppression.
It is possible to immunize birds, especially pheasants, with the vaccine prepared for horses. The Prevention: A vaccine is commercially available.
recommended dose is one-tenth of a horse dose perbird.
Equine Encephalitis
Avian Encephalomyelitis
Synonyms: EE, EEE, WEE
Note: This disease should not be confused with St.
Synonyms: epidemic tremor, AE
Louis Encephalits (SLE). Chickens are used assentinels (test animals) in SLE suspect areas, such as Species affected: The disease is most prevalent in
southern Florida. While SLE is also carried by chickens less than 6 weeks of age. Pheasants, mosquitos, that is where the similarities between the corturnix quail, and turkeys are natural hosts as well, two encephalitis diseases end. Chickens do not get but less susceptible than chickens. Ducklings, young pigeons, and guinea fowl can be experimentally Encephalitis - The Role of Chickens) for more Clinical signs: Signs commonly appear during the
Species affected: Equine encephalitis is a contagious
first week of life and between the second and third disease of birds (especially pheasants), mammals weeks. Affected chicks may first show a dull (especially horses), and people. Birds are the major expression of the eyes, followed by progressive incoordination, sitting on hocks, tremors of the headand neck, and finally paralysis or prostration. Affected Clinical signs: Two forms affect birds: eastern equine
chicks are inactive. Some may refuse to walk or will encephalitis (EEE) and western equine encephalitis walk on their hocks. In advanced cases, many chicks (WEE). The clinical signs are identical and include will lie with both feet out to one side (prostrate) and reduced feed consumption, staggering, and paralysis. die. All stages (dullness, tremors, prostration) can Surviving birds may be blind, have muscle paralysis, usually be seen in an affected flock. Feed and water and have difficulty holding their head up. Damage to consumption decreases and the birds lose weight. In the bird’s nervous system varies with species. In adult birds, a transitory drop (5-20 percent) in egg pheasants, there is pronounced leg paralysis, twisting production may be the only clinical sign present. of the neck, and tremors. Mortality is high. Chukar However, in breeding flocks, a corresponding decrease partridges and turkeys show drowsiness, paralysis, in hatchability is also noted as the virus is egg- transmitted until hens develop immunity. Chickenswhich survive the clinical disease may develop Transmission: Infected mosquitoes are the primary
cataracts later in life (see Table 2).
source of the virus. The Culiseta melanuria mosquitois the primary transmitter of the virus to poultry. Transmission: The virus can be transmitted through
Other mosquito species transmit the disease too, but the egg from infected hen to chick, accounting for feed mostly on other animals. Cannibalism of sick or disease during the first week of life. The disease can dead birds by penmates is a major source of also be spread through a flock by direct contact of susceptible hatchlings with infected birds, accountingfor the disease at 2-3 weeks of age. Indirect spread Treatment: none
can occur through fecal contamination of feed andwater. Recovered birds are immune and do not spread Prevention: Remove the source of infection by
establishing mosquito control: keep weeds mowed in a Treatment: There is no treatment for outbreaks.
The principal sign of tenosynovitis is lameness
Infected birds should be removed, killed and with swelling of the tendon sheaths of the shank and incinerated. Recovered chicks are unthrifty.
area extending above the hock (see Table 2). Affectedbirds are lame, sit on their hocks, and are reluctant to Prevention: A vaccine is available.
move. Rupture of the tendon can occur in olderroaster birds, resulting in permanent lameness of the Egg Drop Syndrome
affected leg. If more than two joints are affected, theentire carcass will be condemned.
Synonyms: egg drop, egg drop syndrome 76, EDS-76
Infection can also play a part in broiler stunting, Species affected: The natural hosts for EDS virus are
the result of malabsorption syndrome. In chicks, ducks and geese, but EDS has become a major cause malabsorption due to viral enteritis is called of reduced egg production in chickens in many parts “helicopter disease” because feathering is affected. of the world. No illness has been observed in ducks or Wing feathers protrude at various angles. A reovirus is geese. Chickens of all ages and breeds are susceptible. believed to play only a secondary role in this The disease is most severe in broiler-breeders and In commercial layer flocks, increased mortality Clinical signs: There are no reliable signs other than
may be the first sign of the septicemia form (see
the effects on egg production and egg quality. Table 2). Egg production will decrease by about two Healthy-appearing hens start laying thin-shelled and to three times the mortality rate. For example, a shell-less eggs. Once established, the condition results mortality rate of 5 percent will be accompanied by a in a failure to achieve egg production targets.
10-15 percent drop in egg production. In the Transient diarrhea and dullness occur prior to egg septicemic form, joint involvement is present but less shell changes. Fertility and hatchability are not pronounced. Affected birds become cyanotic (blue) and dehydrated. The tips of the comb turn purplish.
The entire comb darkens as the disease progresses (see Transmission: It is believed that the syndrome was
first introduced into chickens from contaminatedvaccine. Vertical transmission occurs from infected Transmission: The infection spreads rapidly through
breeders to chicks. Newly hatched chicks excrete the broiler flocks, but less rapidly in caged layers. Spread is by respiratory and digestive tract routes. The virusis shed in the feces. Treatment: There is no successful treatment. Induced
molting will restore egg production.
Treatment: There is no satisfactory treatment
available. With hens, tetracycline, molasses, and
Prevention: Prevention involves a good biosecurity
Prevention: A vaccine is available for use in endemic
Infectious Tenosynovitis
Synonyms: viral arthritis, tenosynovitis, teno,
Nonrespiratory Bacterial Diseases
reovirus enteritis, reovirus septicemia, malabsorptionsyndrome, helicopter disease Fowl Cholera
Species affected: turkeys and chickens
Synonyms: avian pasteurellosis, cholera, avian
hemorrhagic septicemia.
Clinical signs: Several serotypes of the reovirus have
been identified. Some localize in the joints
Species affected: Domestic fowl of all species
(tenosynovitis) while others target respiratory or (primarily turkeys and chickens), game birds intestinal tissues (septicemic form) (see Table 2).
(especially pheasants and ducks), cage birds, wild Transmission: Infection occurs at the time of
birds, and birds in zoological collections and aviaries hatching or shortly thereafter, before navels are healed. Chicks from dirty hatching eggs or eggs withpoor quality shells, or newly hatched chicks placed in Clinical signs: Fowl cholera usually strikes birds
dirty holding boxes, are most susceptible. Chicks older than 6 weeks of age. In acute outbreaks, dead removed prior to complete healing of the navel due to birds may be the first sign. Fever, reduced feed improper temperature and/or humidity are also more consumption, mucoid discharge from the mouth, susceptible. Eggs that explode in the hatching tray ruffled feathers, diarrhea, and labored breathing may contaminate other eggs in the tray and increase the be seen. As the disease progresses birds lose weight, become lame from joint infections, and developrattling noises from exudate in air passages. As fowl Treatment: There is no specific treatment for
cholera becomes chronic, chickens develop abscessed omphalitis. Most affected birds die in the first few wattles and swollen joints and foot pads. Caseous days of life. Unaffected birds need no medication. exudate may form in the sinuses around the eyes. Turkeys may have twisted necks (see Table 3).
Prevention: Control is by prevention through
effective hatchery sanitation, hatchery procedures,
Transmission: Multiple means of transmission have
breeder flock surveillance, and proper preincubation been demonstrated. Flock additions, free-flying birds, handling of eggs. Mushy chicks should be culled from infected premises, predators, and rodents are all the hatch and destroyed. If chick mortality exceeds 3 percent, the breeder flocks and egg handling andhatching procedures should be reviewed.
Treatment: A flock can be medicated with a sulfa
drug (sulfonamides, especially sulfadimethoxine,
sulfaquinonxalene, sulfamethazine, andsulfaquinoxalene) or vaccinated, or both, to stop Synonyms: bacillary white diarrhea, BWD
mortality associated with an outbreak. It must benoted, however, that sulfa drugs are not FDA Species affected: Chickens and turkeys are most
approved for use in pullets older than 14 weeks or for susceptible, although other species of birds can commercial laying hens. Sulfa drugs leave residues in become infected. Pullorum has never been a problem meat and eggs. Antibiotics can be used, but require in commercially grown game birds such as pheasant, higher levels and long term medication to stop the chukar partridge and quail. Infection in mammals is Prevention: On fowl cholera endemic farms,
Clinical signs: Death of infected chicks or poults
vaccination is advisable. Do not vaccinate for fowl begins at 5-7 days of age and peaks in another 4-5 cholera unless you have a problem on the farm. days. Clinical signs including huddling, droopiness, Rodent control is essential to prevent future outbreaks. diarrhea, weakness, pasted vent, gasping, and chalk-white feces, sometimes stained with green bile. Omphalitis
Affected birds are unthrifty and stunted because theydo not eat (see Table 3). Survivors become Synonyms: navel ill, mushy chick disease
asymptomatic carriers with localized infection in theovary. Species affected: chickens
Transmission: Pullorum is spread primarily through
Clinical signs: Affected chicks may have external
the egg, from hen to chick. It can spread further by navel infection, large unabsorbed yolk sacs, peritonitis contaminated incubators, hatchers, chick boxes, with fetid odor, exudates adhering to the navel, edema houses, equipment, poultry by-product feedstuffs and of the skin of ventral body area, septicemia and Treatment: Treatment is for flock salvage only.
bacitracin, neomycin, and tetracycline. However, Several sulfonamides, antibiotics, and antibacterials antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin, and are effective in reducing mortality, but none eradicates novobiocin are also effective. Bacitracin is the most the disease from the flock. Pullorum eradication is
commonly used drug for control of necrotic enteritis. required by law. Eradication requires destroying the
As with all drugs, legality and withdrawal time Prevention: Pullorum outbreaks are handled, on an
Prevention: Prevention should be directed toward
eradication basis, by state/federal regulatory agencies. sanitation, husbandry, and management.
As part of the National Poultry Improvement Program,breeder replacement flocks are tested before onset of Ulcerative Enteritis
production to assure pullorum-free status. Thismandatory law includes chickens, turkeys, show birds, Synonyms: quail disease
waterfowl, game birds, and guinea fowl. In Florida, anegative pullorum test or certification that the bird Species affected: Captive quail are extremely
originated from a pullorum-free flock is required for susceptible and must be maintained on wire-bottom admission for exhibit at shows and fairs. Such pens or on preventive medications. Chickens, turkeys, requirements have been beneficial in locating partridges, grouse, and other species are occasionally pullorum-infected flocks of hobby chickens.
Necrotic Enteritis
Clinical signs: In quail, the disease is acute with high
mortality. In chickens, signs are less dramatic. Acute
Synonyms: enterotoxemia, rot gut
signs are extreme depression and reduction in feedconsumption. Affected birds sit humped with eyes Species affected: Rapidly growing young birds,
closed. Other signs included emaciation, watery especially chickens and turkeys 2-12 weeks of age, are droppings streaked with urates, and dull ruffled most susceptible. Necrotic enteritis is a disease feathers (see Table 3). Accumulated mortality will associated with domestication and is unlikely to reach 50 percent if the flock is not treated.
threaten wild bird populations. Necrotic enteritis isprimarily a disease of broilers, roasters and turkeys. Transmission: Birds become infected by direct
Ulcerative enteritis, on the other hand, commonly contact with carrier birds, infected droppings or contaminated pens, feed and water. Bacteria arepassed in the droppings of sick and carrier birds. Clinical signs: Initially there is a reduction in feed
Infection can be spread mechanically on shoes, feed consumption as well as dark, often blood-stained, bags, equipment, and from contamination by rodents feces. Infected chickens will have diarrhea. Chronically affected birds become emaciated. Thebird, intestines, and feces emit a fetid odor (see Table Treatment: Bacitracin and neomycin can be used
singly or in combination. Other antibiotics and drugssuch as tetracyclines, penicillin, Lincomycin, and Transmission: Necrotic enteritis does not spread
Virginomycin are also effective. Consult a directly from bird to bird. Bacteria are ingested along veterinarian for dose, route, and duration of treatment.
with infected soil, feces, or other infected materials.
The bacteria then grow in the intestinal tract. Prevention: Ulcerative enteritis is difficult to prevent
Infection commonly occurs in crowded flocks, in quail. When quail have access to their own immuno-suppressed flocks, and flocks maintained in droppings, this disease commonly occurs. To eradicate, depopulate stock, thoroughly clean anddisinfect, and start over with young, clean stock.
Treatment: The clostridia bacteria involved in
necrotic enteritis is sensitive to the antibiotics
Synonyms: limberneck, bulbar paralysis, western
Synonyms: staph infection, staph septicemia, staph
Species affected: All fowl of any age, humans, and
Species affected: All fowl, especially turkeys,
other animals are highly susceptible. The turkey chickens, game birds, and waterfowl, are susceptible.
vulture is the only animal host known to be resistant tothe disease.
Clinical signs: Staphylococcal infections appear in
three forms -- septicemia (acute), arthritic (chronic),
Clinical signs: Botulism is a poisoning causing by
and bumblefoot. The septicemia form appears similar eating spoiled food containing a neurotoxin produced to fowl cholera in that the birds are listless, without by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Paralysis, appetite, feverish, and show pain during movement. the most common clinical sign, occurs within a few Black rot may show up in eggs (the organism is passed hours after poisoned food is eaten. Pheasants with in the egg). Infected birds pass fetid watery diarrhea. botulism remain alert, but paralyzed. Legs and wings Many will have swollen joints (arthritis) and become paralyzed, then the neck becomes limp. Neck feathers become loose in the follicle and can be pulledeasily (see Table 3).
The arthritic form follows the acute form. Birds show symptoms of lameness and breast blisters, as If the amount eaten is lethal, prostration and death well as painful movement (see Table 3). Birds are follow in 12 to 24 hours. Death is a result of paralysis reluctant to walk, preferring to sit rather than stand. of respiratory muscles. Fowl affected by sublethaldoses become dull and sleepy. Bumblefoot is a localized chronic staph infection of the foot, thought to be caused by puncture injuries. Transmission: Botulism is common in wild ducks
The bird becomes lame from swollen foot pads (see and is a frequent killer of waterfowl because the organisms multiply in dead fish and decayingvegetation along shorelines.
Transmission: Staphylococcus aureus is soil-borne
and outbreaks in flocks often occur after storms when
Decaying bird carcasses on poultry ranges, wet birds on range drink from stagnant rain pools.
litter or other organic matter, and fly maggots fromdecaying substances may harbor botulism. There is no Treatment: Novobiocin (350 g/ton) can be given in
the feed for 5-7 days. Erythromycin and penicillin canbe administered in the water for 3-5 days or in the feed Treatment: Remove spoiled feed or decaying matter.
(200 g/ton) for 5 days. Other antibiotics and drugs are Flush the flock with Epsom salts (1 lb/1000 hens) in water or in wet mash. It has been reported thatpotassium permanganate (1:3000) in the drinking Prevention: Remove objects that cause injury. Isolate
water is helpful. Affected birds can be treated with chronically affected birds. Provide nutritionally Prevention: Incinerate or bury dead birds promptly.
Do not feed spoiled canned vegetables. Control flies.
Replace suspected feed.
phoid Infectious
Clinical Signs
phoid Infectious
Clinical Signs




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