Gout in Birds - Interesting Article

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jjthink, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey

    the excess in calcium as being one cause. It is the reason I don't feed my roo layer food. He's been on game bird maintenace for years now. If suspecting gout, you might try offering your bird lots of cut up cherries. If you google cherries and gout there is a wealth of information re: the benefit of the former for the latter.

    Just FYI, in case of assist to anyone...

    Avian Gout: Causes Treatment And Prevention
    Published on: 05/26/2009
    Author : Dr. M.T.Banday, Dr. Mukesh Bhakt and Dr. Sheikh Adil Hamid - Srinagar, Kashmir, India
    Today’s bird is genetically engineered for higher productivity. Selection of birds is based on production parameters. In the process, the health of the vital organs is ignored. This has resulted in increased incidence of metabolic disorders. The kidney is a vital organ of the bird with diverse metabolic and excretory function viz. maintaining the chemical composition of body fluids, removal of metabolic waste and toxic products, regulation of blood pressure and blood volume and conservation of fluids and electrolytes.

    Excretion of metabolic waste products is important in poultry and this function is performed by the kidneys. The function of kidneys is affected by a number of specific diseases and disorders. One of the important disorders associated with kidney damage is GOUT. In birds uric acid is the end product of nitrogen metabolism. Uric acid is a nitrogenous waste from protein breakdown. In mammals, it is converted to less harmful substance with the help of the enzyme uricase. But in birds this enzyme is absent. Hence, uric acid is the final excretory product. Uric acid is produced mainly in the liver and is excreted by the kidneys. High blood levels of uric acid favour its precipitation in tissues. Uric acid is not toxic but precipitated crystals can cause mechanical damage to tissues like kidneys, heart, lungs, intestines and also in the joints. These crystals severely damage body tissues. So Gout is a condition in which kidney function decreases to a point where uric acid accumulates in the blood and body fluids. Avian gout is a metabolic condition where abnormal accumulation of white chalky uric acid or urates occurs in soft tissues of various organs of body. Gout is commonly observed in chicken as they are uricotelic and lack the enzyme uricase. In gout, blood levels of uric acid can be as high as 44mg/100ml as compared to 5-7mg/100ml in a normal bird.

    There are two major forms of gout which are differentiated by the sites of uric acid deposition- visceral and articular gout. In both forms, deposits consist of needle shaped crystals called tophi. Articular gout is considered to be the chronic form of the disease and is less common. Lesions observed are urate deposition around joints, ligaments and tendon sheaths. There is a predilection for peripheral articulation. Clinical signs observed are shifting leg lameness with joints becoming warm, swollen and tender. It is a condition in chicken that has been recognized for more than 30 years. Visceral gout is considered to be the acute form of disease causing huge mortality characterized by the urate deposits on serosal surfaces, most often in the liver, kidney, pericardium, heart and air sacs. Visceral gout is more common in broilers as young as 2-3 days old. In layers, pullets above 14 weeks are more likely to be affected. whenever there is kidney damage, excretion of uric acid gets affected and uric acid starts accumulating in the blood and later in tissues.


    The causes of gout are many as kidney damage occurs due to multietiological factors. These causes can be broadly categorized as:

    •Nutritional and metabolic causes
    •Infectious causes
    •Other causes

    1.Excess dietary calcium with low available phosphorus results in precipitation of calcium-sodium-urate crystals. High levels of vitamin D3 can also increase calcium absorption from the gut which can favour formation and deposition of urate crystals.
    2.Excessive use of sodium bicarbonate when used to combat heat stress to improve egg shell quality in layers. This alkalinity of urine favours kidney stone formation.
    3.Prolonged vitamin A deficiency causes sloughing of tubular epithelium and subsequent blockade resulting in accumulation of urates in the kidney. However, incidence of gout due to vitamin A deficiency is least under field conditions.
    4.Gout due to sodium intoxication is seen in younger birds when the sodium levels exceed 0.4% in water and 0.8% in feed. This generally happens when fish meal is used in the diet (even with normal salt content), since fish meal is rich in salt content. Total content of sodium chloride in feed should not exceed 0.3%.
    5.Feed containing more than 30% of protein causes uric acid production which in turn creates an excretory load on kidneys. At the same time the presence of sulphates decreases calcium resorption causing excessive calcium secretion through urine. This condition favours gout.
    6.Water deprivation leads to concentration of uric acid and other minerals in the blood and later in the kidneys. Water deprivation especially in the summer is dangerous. This can happen during transportation of birds or due to blockage of nipples, inadequate number of waterers, extra height of water lines, overcrowding, water withholding for long durations during vaccination etc.
    7.Hard water with higher salt content is also a load on the kidneys.


    Various chemicals and toxins are involved in kidney damage as;

    1.MYCOTOXINS: Mycotoxins are the most common cause of kidney damage and among mycotoxins citrinin, ochratoxin and oosporin are important. The combination of ochratoxins with aflatoxin is found to be more dangerous. Because of kidney damage uric acid excretion is reduced resulting in accumulation of uric acid in the body.
    2.ANTIBIOTICS: Certain antibiotics like gentamycin, sulphonamides and nitrofurosones are known to cause renal damage especially in young chicks. The drugs which get excreted through the kidneys have their own imbalancing effect on pH and renal metabolism.
    3.DISINFECTANTS: Disinfectants like phenol and cresol if used erroneously cause residual toxicity.
    4.CHEMICALS: Chemicals like copper sulphate used in water results in water refusal, dehydration and gout.


    Gout is characterized by depression, dehydration and sometimes with greenish diarrhea. Affected chicks appear dull with ruffled feathers and moist vent. Mortality among young chicks is high. There is irregular and excessive enlargement of kidney lobules and cutting open the kidney reveals urate crystals chalky white deposition of urate crystals is seen all over the visceral organs like the heart, liver and kidney under the skin etc.

    SEVERE VISCERAL GOUT - Note the white chalky deposits around the heart (in the pericardium), on all major abdominal organs, including liver, gizzard and intestines, and even in the tissues of the thigh.


    Individual cases of gout may be ignored. In acute cases of gout mortality following prescription would be beneficial.

    1.Provide plenty of water and adequate drinkers.
    2.Avoid a diet higher in protein than the recommended level as per the age and breed. Provide low protein diet for 3-5 days based on need depending on severity of gout.
    3.Review IB vaccination programme. In the areas where IB is endemic it is advisable to vaccinate with nephrotropic strain at around 4 days. Day one beak dip vaccination has proved to be beneficial in broilers.
    4.Use of urine acidifiers: Any one of the following urine acidifiers may be given in water or feed.
    ◦Vinegar: 1-2 ml per litre water up to 24 hours.
    ◦Potassium chloride: 1gram per litre water up to 24 hours.
    ◦Ammonium chloride: Two and half kg/ton feed for 7 days.
    ◦Ammonium sulphate: Two and half kg/ton feed for 7 days.
    5.Ensure adequate levels of A, D3, K and B complex vitamins.
    6.Excessive use of sodium bicarbonate i.e. more than 2kg/ton should be avoided.
    7.Use of electrolytes through water may assist in controlling mortality.
    8.Provide broken maize at least for 3 days and jiggery 5g/litre for 3-5 days in case of mortality.
    9.Provide 0.6% methionine hydroxyl analogue free acid with 3% calcium in the diet.


    For the prevention of gout in poultry it is necessary to have:

    1.Scientifically balanced feed in respect of:
    ◦Calcium-phosphorus ration depending on the type of ration.
    ◦Vitamin A, D3 and other essential vitamins.
    ◦Required level of sodium, chloride and other ions.
    ◦Conventional sources of protein.
    2.Analyse the feed for mycotoxin content and if found positive change the feed or use suitable toxin binders.
    3.Judicious use of drugs such as antibiotics, sulpha drugs and anticoccidials to avoid kidney damage.
    4.Fresh potable water accessible to birds all the time.
    5.Copper sulphate should not be used for medication, if used should be used under the directions of a veterinarian or a poultry practitioner.

    Author/s : Sheikh Adil Hamid │ Tufail Banday Sheikh Adil Hamid Jammu and Kashmir Animal Nutritionist Tufail Banday Jammu and Kashmir Animal Nutritionist

    Comments : (24)
    Arshaq Ramzee Punjab, Pakistan Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    05/27/2009 | Good work, Authors, Gout is quite common in broilers and often confused with E.Coli and CRD infections. I suggest that authors also put some notes on differential diagnosis in the same article.

    Satish Shukla India
    05/27/2009 | Good work, informative articles.

    Saadat Changezi Sindh, Pakistan Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    05/29/2009 | In todays poultry operations especially in obsolete trends of farming these are very common problems one face on daily bases,however this is an informative article on the gout.good luck.

    Dr.Saadat Ali Changezi Ganesh Kumar Dahal Bagmati, Nepal Marketing Manager Guybro Chemical
    06/03/2009 | Due to multietiological factors, initial sign/symptoms are misunderstood till damage is occured due to Gout.
    Good work done.Thanks!!

    Amir Attar Tehran, Iran Animal Nutritionist
    11/15/2009 | i read this paper carefully. its really practical paper and suitable for experts and farmers. thanks to authors.

    Dr. Habib-ur-rehman Punjab, Pakistan Animal Nutritionist
    02/12/2010 | A ration with 30% protein is questionable in present scenario when every nutriionist. The birds infected with Staph. also have the sign of gout. lameness due to defficiency of minerals and vitamins also have their effect. The author`s treatment reccomendations is more valuable.

    Satish Nikam Maharashtra, India Veterinary Doctor
    04/07/2010 | vary good and informative article

    Kushan Perera Puttalam, Sri Lanka Marketing Manager Stallen
    05/05/2010 | Very nice article with important information about Gout.

    Carlos Debortoli Santa Catarina, Brazil Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Al-Watania Poultry
    05/05/2010 | Congratulations excellent work and review.

    Nadir Alloui Batna, Algeria Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    05/11/2010 | Very good article

    Jammu and Kashmir, India veterinary student
    07/22/2010 | thanx 4 providin such a valuable information..

    Issa `Amman, Jordan Agricultural Engineer
    09/19/2010 | good work,
    is there any information about astrovirus and avian gout?

    Maqsood Jaffery Punjab, Pakistan Veterinary Doctor
    09/22/2010 | Really informative article. There has been recent case of Avian gout in pakistan at arifwala on a layer farm in pulletts in rearing. Problem had the history of nutritional imbalance and dehydration which caused formation of urolithiasis ( Stone formation in kidneys of both sides). It caused heavy mortality due to long time persistance.

    Dr Asad Abbas Malik Punjab, Pakistan Animal Nutritionist
    09/23/2010 | Astrovirus or avian nephritis virus mostly effects chicks from Day-1 upto to 4 weeks of age, more commonly in immunosupressed birds. Astrovirus cause degeneration and necrosis of epithielial cells of proximal convoluted tubules of kidney which leads to sever gout.

    Dr Jaydip Mulik Maharashtra, India Veterinary Doctor
    09/23/2010 | Dear Doctors, I am happy to read the article about Avian Gout. But since my opinion you have forgotten to elaborate the Infectious Causes in the article. Please update the details with special emphasis on Infectious Bronchitis. As nowadays poultry industry is much more integrated & every one is aware of SOP & following the same to get the better productivity so the Gout problem occurred due to Metabolic Disorders & nutritional Parameters are very rare. In India we face the Avian Gout problem specially in Cobb Broilers & that may be related with some genetical defects which till date not resolved. In many of endemic outbreaks of Gout majority reasons will be related to IB. On topic of treatment also what you have mentioned are all traditional drugs & that line of treatment will not work on present GOUT outbreaks seen & that will be helpfull only when the causative agents are related to Metabolic disorders or Nutritional matters.
    I have tried successfully the drugs below which plays important role to control GOUT mortality.
    1) [email protected] mg/Kg body weight in 24 hrs drinking water.
    Mode of Action:Allopurinol is a structural isomer of hypoxanthine (a naturally occurring purine in the body) and is an enzyme inhibitor, inhibiting xanthine oxidase. Xanthine oxidase is responsible for the successive oxidation of hypoxanthine and xanthine resulting in the production of uric acid. In addition to blocking uric acid production, inhibition of xanthine oxidase causes an increase in hypoxanthine and xanthine, which are converted to closely related purine ribotides adenosine and guanosine monophosphates. Increased levels of these ribotides causes feedback inhibition of amidophosphoribosyl transferase, the first and rate-limiting enzyme of purine biosynthesis. Allopurinol therefore decreases both uric acid formation and purine synthesis
    (Allopurinol has been marketed in the United States since 1964. Allopurinol is marketed by Prometheus in the United States as Zyloprim, while in other countries it continues to be marketed by GlaxoSmithKline. Other brand names are Allohexal, Allosig, Milurit, Alloril, Progout, and Zyloric. In South Africa, Allopurinol is marketed under the brand name Puricos. It also known as Zyrik 300 in India and Aluron in Venezuela.)
    2)Probenecid:mad:2 mg per kg Body weight in 24 hrs drinking water.
    Mode of Action:In the kidneys probenecid is filtered at the glomerulus, secreted in the proximal tubule and reabsorbed in the distal tubule.Probenecid works by interfering with the kidneys organic anion transporter (OAT), which reclaims uric acid from the urine and returns it to the plasma. If probenecid (an organic acid) is present, the OAT binds preferentially to it (instead of to uric acid), preventing re-absorption of the uric acid. Hence, the urine retains more uric acid, lowering uric acid concentration in the plasma. (This is a good example of a medical usage for competition between substrates transported across cell membranes.)
    Thanks & regards,
    Dr Jaydip Mulik ( M.V.Sc)

    Issa `Amman, Jordan Agricultural Engineer
    10/01/2010 | thanks for the information yes mortality starts at 4-5 days with lesions of gout, we are using medications as dauritic but still the mortality is high,
    , the problem is more in chicks coming from the same breeder farm,
    and no lesions in chicks coming from another breederfarm

    Dr.sohail Ahmad Islamabad, Pakistan Animal Nutritionist
    10/04/2010 | Informative article about kidney disease.Kidneys are a vital organs of bird with diverse metabolic and excretery function.
    Kidney damage is gout. Gout is a condition in which kidney function decreases to a point where uric acid accumulates in
    the blood and body fluids. In gout blood levels of uric acid can be as high as 44mg / 100ml as compared to 5-7mg / 100ml
    in a normal bird. Uric acid is end product of nitrogen metabolism. Uric acid is mainly produced in liver and excreted by the
    kidneys. Two major forms of gout mention. Visceral and Articular gout. In both forms, deposits consist of needle shaped crystals
    called Tophi.In Broilers, Viseral gout in young age as 2-3 days and in layers as 14 weeks of age.
    In pakistan the reason of this disease outbreak are management as well as nutrition (feed) and breed. In areas, where
    water quality is not so good ( under ground water is salty ), also cause of problem infectious and fast growth rate rather-
    than mention by the author. Mostly seen in Hubbard and Cobb broilers, less cases seen in Arbor acres.
    I also agree with Dr. Mulik, for treatment used Allopurinol ( progout) have a good results along with some
    other diuretic ( locally type etc).

    Dr G Naresh Kumar Orissa, India Veterinary Doctor
    12/29/2010 | Thanks , Really it is a useful article to all the poultry farmers as well as the proffessionals

    naresh kumar- Wisal M.khan North-West Frontier, Pakistan Veterinary Doctor
    02/17/2011 | Very informative article , but consider the ASTRO Virus and also ANV also with it while making a final decison .
    However, the medication plan is good and will work. The use of Amonium chloride is also usefull in sever cases.

    Dr.prashant Chaudhari Maharashtra, India Veterinary Doctor
    03/15/2011 | Very Very informative and useful article, as summer in India is approaching and helpful for all the poultry professionals to control the chicks mortality,
    Treatment line is very good and proved effective in my experience.
    Thanks for the effort.


    Other articles:
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I have that article bookmarked. Here's another study on excess calcium and excess protein causing gout, separately and combined. This specific study showed that high levels of calcium and protein together were worse than just high calcium, and did not show that high protein without excess calcium was that bad. It does reference other studies in the 80's that show that high protein by itself can cause gout. I haven't been able to find those studies. Those are probably saved more as hard copies than electronic, being from the early 80's.

    British Study – Calcium and Protein

    There are several people on this forum that state that the levels of calcium in Layer is not harmful to growing chicks. I've seen scientific studies that show it can be harmful. I have not seen any scientific studies that show it is never harmful.

    The effects of too much protein are also documented, but they are harder to find. And the protein levels have more leeway. I think it is in the range of 30% protein in the feed before damage seems more common.

    In general, too much of a good thing is often not a good thing. Thanks for the post.
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Quote:Yes. Excess protein, and salt contribute as well. I rarely give mine scraps but if I do, I rinse it several times with water to get the excess salt out of the food. BTW: Good post JJ.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  4. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Wow, I was looking for some information on this topic and thank you very much for your posts!! Very helpful!! [​IMG]
  5. memawdarla

    memawdarla Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2011
    i read where you don't feed your roo layer feed. but if there is a rooster in with the hens how can he not eat layer feed? just lost our 7 month old dom rooster to visceral gout. he was in a pen with 3 hens. we also have a maran roo in with 6 hens, 3 of which are laying. should i stop feeding layer feed? and if so, what do i feed everyone? all help is appreciated as we are fairly new to keeping chickens. we would like to get to where we can sell our fresh eggs but i don't want to lose another rooster. Brewster had just started crowing about 3 weeks ago, we raised him from a 7 week old baby and he was big and beautiful. we spend a lot of time watching our chickens. he was eating and drinking just fine, or so we thought.
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    I've fed both hens and roos 'game bird maintenance' for some years now, with oyster shell available at all times so the hen could get enough calcium for her eggs. Seemed to work well for both roo and hen..

    At one point I had both layer and game bird maintenance available free choice. Roo chose game bird maintenance every time. Hens ultimately did too so I switched completely to game bird. Don't know if it's the perfect diet but my sweet roo BJ lived to 9+ years (just lost him 4 weeks ago [​IMG]) and hen Ellie, the lovely sweetheart he had for company in the most recent years, came to me 3 1/4 years ago and thrived. When her BJ died a kind dear person adopted Ellie so she wouldn't be all alone. I supplemented their diet with Avia Charge 2000 in their water as well as lots of yummy healthy treats like fresh berries and sunflower seed..
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011

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