Fowl Cholera

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
56
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
My BSL cockerel's necropsy lab results came today.
Diagnosis was Pasteurella Multocida or Fowl Cholera
bacterial infection in his liver, lung and especially heart

He NEVER acted sick. The vet even commented that he was well fleshed and didn't appear chronically ill.
He went from walking around eating BOSS to dead in less than 24 hours.
Here was his thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=295051

Well
none of my other birds *act* sick either. So, uh....could they be next?
The lab report lists which abx works and which it is resistant to, so should I treat the whole flock just in case???

Can you test a live bird for this??

Obviously, I can call the vet who did the report, but I have a distinct mistrust of doctors in general, so I want to ask some people who might have real life experience too.
 
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Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
175
318
The Emerald City
My Coop
My Coop
No real life experience, but I'll look for info:


from Welp
Fowl Cholera
Most birds

Contact with feces of sick birds, carcasses of dead birds. Rodents, contaminated soil, water, feed.

Birds may die before there are visible symptoms. Dead on roost, yellow-green diarrhea.

P-Clean ground, good management. Eliminate rodents, predators. Medications, use clear antibiotics for layers. Complete clean out.

From Mississippi State Univ.
Fowl Cholera

This disease occurs throughout the country wherever poultry is produced and in recent years has become the most hazardous infectious disease of turkeys. Host range is extensive and includes chickens, turkeys, pheasants, pigeons, waterfowl, sparrows and other free-flying birds.

The causative organism of fowl cholera is Pasteurella multocida. The organism can survive at least one month in droppings, three months in decaying carcasses and two to three months in soil. Pasteurella apparently enters tissues of the mouth and upper respiratory tract. The disease is not transmitted through the egg.

Major sources of infection include:

•Body excreta of diseased birds that contaminate soil, water, feed, etc.,
•Carcasses of birds that have died of the disease,
•Contaminated water supplies such as surface tanks, ponds, lakes and streams,
•Mechanical transmission by contaminated shoes or equipment.
Studies indicate that animals other than birds may serve as reservoirs of infection and actively spread the disease. These animals include raccoons, opossums, dogs, cats, pigs, and vermin.

The disease is seldom seen in chickens under four months of age, but is commonly seen in turkeys under this age. In the peracute form, symptoms may be absent; in the acute form some birds may die without showing symptoms, but many others are visibly ill before death. Characteristic symptoms include stupor, loss of appetite, rapid weight loss, lameness resulting from joint infection, swollen wattles, difficult breathing, watery yellowish or green diarrhea and cyanosis or darkening of the head and wattles.

Lesions may be lacking in birds dying during peracute outbreaks. When present, lesions may resemble those associated with any acute septicemic bacterial infection, often those of fowl typhoid. Typical lesions may include pinpoint hemorrhages in the mucous and serous membranes and/or abdominal fat; inflammation of the upper third of the small intestine; light, firm "parboiled" appearance of the liver; enlarged and congested spleen; creamy or solid collection of material in joints; and cheesy material in the internal ear and air spaces of the cranium of birds having twisted necks. Turkeys may have pneumonia with solidification of one or both lungs.

A tentative diagnosis may be made on flock history, symptoms and postmortem lesions. A definite diagnosis depends upon isolation and identification of the organism.

Properly administered bacterins are helpful in preventing fowl cholera, particularly in turkeys. Their use must be combined with a rigid program of sanitation. In general, as it applies to the use of bacterins in turkeys, complete protection is unrealistic. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for use of the bacterin. Vaccination in conjunction with treatment is not recommended.

Sanitation practices that aid in preventing the disease are:

•Complete depopulation each year with definite breaks between older birds and their replacements,
•Implement a rodent control program,
•Dispose of dead birds properly,
•Provide safe, sanitary water,
•Clean and disinfect all houses and equipment after disposing of flock,
•Keep birds confined to the house and away from wild feral birds and animals,
•Allow contaminated ranges or yards to remain vacant for at least three months.
Although drugs usually alter the course of a fowl cholera outbreak, affected birds remain carriers and the disease has a tendency to recur when treatment is discontinued. This may necessitate prolonged treatment with drugs added to the feed and water. Sulfa drugs and broad spectrum antibiotics (Penicillin) usually control losses.

Sorry you are going through this. Hope this info helps

Imp​
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
That is very interesting Tala, no one ever talks about fowl cholera on this forum, so I was under the impression that it was not common, but perhaps that is wrong.... Storeys reccomends that use of a sulfonamide such as sulfamethazine (Sulmet)--this would be easy to put in the water for everyone. But I am curious what others would say about this. They also recommend sanitizing buildings and equipment.

Imp--we've got thread convergence syndrome!
 
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Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
56
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
From what I've read about other animals as carriers, I wonder if my cats carry it? They do kill wild birds now and then so they could have become infected. One of my cats, Socks, was treated with Amoxicillin for a respiratory infection in the past, but the vet didn't test for what caused it and my other cat never came down with it. Makes me wonder exactly WHAT she had.

Epidemiology

Outbreaks occur in cold and wet weather (in late summer, fall and winter). The outbreaks are often traced back to the presence of rodents in the breeding houses. These are thought to spread the disease from carcasses of died birds (possibly from neighboring backyards), improperly disposed. Once the disease is introduced to a flock, it will stay until culling. Chronic carriers can always lead to re-emerging of the disease in susceptible birds.

http://www.avianweb.com/fowlcholera.html

He did get sick during cold and very wet weather - which is when it is supposedly the worst. Plus I read that cocks are far more susceptible than hens and that he obviously was. That all adds up.

We don't have a noticeable rat/rodent problem though BECAUSE of the cats, but we had a LOT of birds in the attic when we moved in. I booted them out by sealing up the sofit vents with hardware cloth over a year ago. They don't seem to live around my house anymore. Again, the cats could have caught it from the rodents.

Apparently it doesn't really matter if I treat the whole flock for it, because they'll still be carriers and will infect all newcomers....Even if I were willing to cull 10 healthy birds who seem to have strong immune systems, I don't think I could cull my cat too.
I've never had to think long and hard about culling, but I've always wondered why it was so popular to cull whole chicken flocks. Well I figured out that treating a sick bird is almost impossible so I understood why it is the opinion of some to just end it quick for them. Still, why kill off the ones with a strong immune system just because a weak one succumbed?
I think I'd rather keep the birds that are strong enough to fight off disease. Evolution in motion I guess.




ETA: I should have added, the good news on the report stated that "there was no evidence of parasites in the gastrointestinal tract"

So I guess I'm good as far as deworming goes. You don't get a bigger poop sample to test than sending a whole bird in
tongue.png
 
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Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
175
318
The Emerald City
My Coop
My Coop
I think since my hens are more like pets than food I would make the same decision.

I've never really read about cholera before, makes me wonder about all the "Why did my chicken die" "lethargic chicken" Etc posts.

Tala,
Hope you don't have any further problems.

Imp
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
I don't think the cat would be able to carry the organism in her system--this is an organism that infects birds only. The way that the rodents are spreading it is by carrying the live organism (in their mouths, I would assume) from dead carcasses to the coop, perhaps biting the birds or putting it in the water. Unless your cat is getting to a carcass, then getting directly to your chickens, I doubt she could spread it. You could also get new chickens vaccinated before introduction, but hopefully this will be the end of it!
 

Tala

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
6,372
56
251
Benton (Saline County) AR
Quote:
Well I read that one place, but several others mentioned cats, enough for it to stand out to me.
Although P multocida may infect a wide variety of animals, strains isolated from nonavian hosts generally do not produce fowl cholera. Strains that cause fowl cholera represent a number of immunotypes, which complicates widespread prevention by using bacterins. The organism is susceptible to ordinary disinfectants, sunlight, drying, and heat. Turkeys are more susceptible than chickens, older chickens are more susceptible than young ones, and some breeds of chickens are more susceptible than others.

emphasis mine http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/202600.htm

Improve sanitation. The bacterium is easily destroyed by environmental factors and disinfectants, but may persist for prolonged periods in soil. Possible infection factors may be rodents, cats and possibly pigs.

http://www.avianweb.com/fowlcholera.html

This one also says swine and cats may carry the fowl strain http://www.jstor.org/pss/1591166


I
dunno.
idunno.gif

I really don't think THEY know either.

Well the "chicken doctor" doesn't say anything drastic about killing off your flock. http://www.firststatevetsupply.com/poultry-health/fowl-cholera.html he recommends Baytril....​
 
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nnbreeder

Songster
12 Years
Jun 22, 2008
3,762
33
233
Oklahoma
Remember too that the guidelines for disease control was written mainly for poultry houses of 50,000 or so birds. There carcasses will get rejected at slaughter if there are signs of disease present so once a disease is found within the flock it is more economical to cull the flock, disinfect and start over.
 

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