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Synonyms: .avian pasteurellosis, cholera, avian hemorrhagic septicemia
Species affected: Domestic fowl of all species (primarily turkeys and chickens), game birds (especially pheasants and ducks), cage birds, wild birds, and birds in zoological collections and aviaries are susceptible.
Clinical signs: Fowl cholera usually strikes birds older than 6 weeks of age. In acute outbreaks, dead birds may be the first sign. Fever, reduced feed consumption, mucoid discharge from the mouth, ruffled feathers, diarrhea, and labored breathing may be seen. As the disease progresses birds lose weight, become lame from joint infections, and develop rattling noises from exudate in air passages. As fowl cholera becomes chronic, chickens develop abscessed wattles and swollen joints and foot pads. Caseous exudate may form in the sinuses around the eyes. Turkeys may have twisted necks (see Table 3).
Transmission: Multiple means of transmission have been demonstrated. Flock additions, free-flying birds, infected premises, predators, and rodents are all possibilities.
Treatment: A flock can be medicated with a sulfa drug (sulfonamides, especially sulfadimethoxine, sulfaquinonxalene, sulfamethazine, and sulfaquinoxalene) or vaccinated, or both, to stop mortality associated with an outbreak. It must be noted, however, that sulfa drugs are not FDA approved for use in pullets older than 14 weeks or for commercial laying hens. Sulfa drugs leave residues in meat and eggs. Antibiotics can be used, but require higher levels and long term medication to stop the outbreak.
Prevention: On fowl cholera endemic farms, vaccination is advisable. Do not vaccinate for fowl cholera unless you have a problem on the farm. Rodent control is essential to prevent future outbreaks.
Synonyms: navel ill, mushy chick disease
Species affected: chickens
Clinical signs: Affected chicks may have external navel infection, large unabsorbed yolk sacs, peritonitis with fetid odor, exudates adhering to the navel, edema of the skin of ventral body area, septicemia and dehydration (see Table 3).
Transmission: Infection occurs at the time of hatching or shortly thereafter, before navels are healed. Chicks from dirty hatching eggs or eggs with poor quality shells, or newly hatched chicks placed in dirty holding boxes, are most susceptible. Chicks removed prior to complete healing of the navel due to improper temperature and/or humidity are also more susceptible. Eggs that explode in the hatching tray contaminate other eggs in the tray and increase the incidence.
Treatment: There is no specific treatment for omphalitis. Most affected birds die in the first few days of life. Unaffected birds need no medication.
Prevention: Control is by prevention through effective hatchery sanitation, hatchery procedures, breeder flock surveillance, and proper preincubation handling of eggs. Mushy chicks should be culled from the hatch and destroyed. If chick mortality exceeds 3 percent, the breeder flocks and egg handling and hatching procedures should be reviewed.
Synonyms: bacillary white diarrhea, BWD
Species affected: Chickens and turkeys are most susceptible, although other species of birds can become infected. Pullorum has never been a problem in commercially grown game birds such as pheasant, chukar partridge and quail. Infection in mammals is rare.
Clinical signs: Death of infected chicks or poults begins at 5-7 days of age and peaks in another 4-5 days. Clinical signs including huddling, droopiness, diarrhea, weakness, pasted vent, gasping, and chalk-white feces, sometimes stained with green bile. Affected birds are unthrifty and stunted because they do not eat (see Table 3). Survivors become asymptomatic carriers with localized infection in the ovary.
Transmission: Pullorum is spread primarily through the egg, from hen to chick. It can spread further by contaminated incubators, hatchers, chick boxes, houses, equipment, poultry by-product feedstuffs and carrier birds.
Treatment: Treatment is for flock salvage only. Several sulfonamides, antibiotics, and antibacterials are effective in reducing mortality, but none eradicates the disease from the flock. Pullorum eradication is required by law . Eradication requires destroying the entire flock.
Prevention: Pullorum outbreaks are handled, on an eradication basis, by state/federal regulatory agencies. As part of the National Poultry Improvement Program, breeder replacement flocks are tested before onset of production to assure pullorum-free status. This mandatory law includes chickens, turkeys, show birds, waterfowl, game birds, and guinea fowl. In Florida, a negative pullorum test or certification that the bird originated from a pullorum-free flock is required for admission for exhibit at shows and fairs. Such requirements have been beneficial in locating pullorum-infected flocks of hobby chickens.
Synonyms: limberneck, bulbar paralysis, western duck sickness, alkali disease
Species affected: All fowl of any age, humans, and other animals are highly susceptible. The turkey vulture is the only animal host known to be resistant to the disease.
Clinical signs: Botulism is a poisoning causing by eating spoiled food containing a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum . Paralysis, the most common clinical sign, occurs within a few hours after poisoned food is eaten. Pheasants with botulism remain alert, but paralyzed. Legs and wings become paralyzed, then the neck becomes limp. Neck feathers become loose in the follicle and can be pulled easily (see Table 3 ). If the amount eaten is lethal, prostration and death follow in 12 to 24 hours. Death is a result of paralysis of respiratory muscles. Fowl affected by sublethal doses become dull and sleepy.
Transmission: Botulism is common in wild ducks and is a frequent killer of waterfowl because the organisms multiply in dead fish and decaying vegetation along shorelines. Decaying bird carcasses on poultry ranges, wet litter or other organic matter, and fly maggots from decaying substances may harbor botulism. There is no spread from bird to bird.
Treatment: Remove spoiled feed or decaying matter. Flush the flock with Epsom salts (1 lb/1000 hens) in water or in wet mash. It has been reported that potassium permanganate (1:3000) in the drinking water is helpful. Affected birds can be treated with botulism antitoxin injections.
Prevention: Incinerate or bury dead birds promptly. Do not feed spoiled canned vegetables. Control flies. Replace suspected feed.
Synonyms: staph infection, staph septicemia, staph arthritis, bumblefoot
Species affected: All fowl, especially turkeys, chickens, game birds, and waterfowl, are susceptible.
Clinical signs: Staphylococcal infections appear in three forms -- septicemia (acute), arthritic (chronic), and bumblefoot.
Notes: The septicemia form appears similar to fowl cholera in that the birds are listless, without appetite, feverish, and show pain during movement. Black rot may show up in eggs (the organism is passed in the egg). Infected birds pass fetid watery diarrhea. Many will have swollen joints (arthritis) and production drops (see Table 3 ). The arthritic form follows the acute form. Birds show symptoms of lameness and breast blisters, as well as painful movement (see Table 3 ). Birds are reluctant to walk, preferring to sit rather than stand. Bumblefoot is a localized chronic staph infection of the foot, thought to be caused by puncture injuries. The bird becomes lame from swollen foot pads (see Table 3 ).
Transmission: Staphylococcus aureus is soil-borne and outbreaks in flocks often occur after storms when birds on range drink from stagnant rain pools.
Treatment: Novobiocin (350 g/ton) can be given in the feed for 5-7 days. Erythromycin and penicillin can be administered in the water for 3-5 days or in the feed (200 g/ton) for 5 days. Other antibiotics and drugs are only occasionally effective.
Prevention: Remove objects that cause injury. Isolate chronically affected birds. Provide nutritionally balanced feed.