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Turkey with bad case of pox? (picture)

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by ShadyHoller, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. ShadyHoller

    ShadyHoller Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2010
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    Hi everyone, I'm new at posting here, but am not new at hanging around BYC and reading other peoples' posts. I already posted this question at the emergencies/diseases topic, but the discussion went kind of dead there. I didn't want to annoy the people there by bumping my own question up to the top, so I figured I'd ask the turkey experts here.

    The short story is: we came home from a week on the road and found one of our Bourbon Reds with a very sad case of something very black, leathery and yucky on his head. It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    He is a little lethargic/dazed, but he's getting around OK, and the other birds aren't picking on him. On the thread I started on the emergencies/diseases page, it was suggested that he might have fowlpox. From my web research, that seems plausible, but this guy's head seems so much worse than any of the photos I can find online. The only photographic examples I can find show individual black dots, not a big leathery scab covering his whole head.

    So, I'm just looking for confirmation/second opinion. Fowlpox or turkeypox? Or something else?

    Thanks for taking a look and offering your thoughts. Now that I've overcome my shyness of posting here, I bet I'll have lots to say in the future!
     
  2. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    It looks like it might be blackhead, what does his poo look like?
     
  3. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Poor baby. I hope that he recovers.
     
  4. ShadyHoller

    ShadyHoller Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2010
    Willamette Valley
    ShellyD,

    Blackhead was our first thought as well (and we came across most of the articles you linked in your post) but we are starting to think that's probably not it. I guess both blackhead and blue comb (coronavirus) can give poultry a bluish head (cyanotic it's called in the technical articles) but it seems that neither of those diseases are commonly associated with lesions or scabs on the head. Also, it seems that with both of those diseases, the birds normally die shortly after developing the discolored head, which is only seen in the advanced stages. While our turkey isn't as perky as his coop-mates, he's still on his feet, is eating, and is only slightly less alert than the others. We also haven't seen the yellow droppings typical of blackhead.

    Does anyone here have any experience with fowlpox? That's the most likely possibility we've come up with. The link to the pox page you provided reinforces my suspicion that's what we're dealing with.

    We are anxious to get a good diagnosis so we can get to work on appropriate response. If it's blackhead, we'd have to do a cull, and if it's pox, we'd have to treat the symptoms, and possibly vaccinate the other birds, but would expect this guy to survive. Either way, because we had someone else watching the flock while we were gone, we didn't become aware of the problem until we got home, so it's likely that whatever it is, the other critters have been exposed to it as well.

    Again, thank you for your input. This website is an awesome resource, and it sure beats the option of standing there by the coop, wringing our hands and asking ourselves what to do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  5. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    and it sure beats the option of standing there by the coop, wringing our hands and asking ourselves what to do.

    Take the bird to a vet for a 100% ruling. Nobody can tell from a pic or a website.

    Steve​
     
  6. turkaholic

    turkaholic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have other males in the same pen as him? It looks to me like severe fighting bruises. I just went through the same with one of my jakes. The other six ganged up and beat the tar out of him! Over the next few days nearly his entire head, especially on the back of the neck, looked black and hard. He looked like he was beat with a 2x4.

    So, if he is eating and his droppings don't appear runny or off colored, that is what I'd say happened. The black area will harden like leather and after a few weeks will begin to peel off. New skin will be exposed and look very pink for a while.
     
  7. OmaBird

    OmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I agree, Thats what it looks like to me.
     
  8. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:I agree, Thats what it looks like to me.

    I'd say dry fowl pox. That's not from fighting - key phrase from below "progresses to a thick, dark scab."

    Clinical Findings:
    Only a few birds develop lesions at one time. Lesions are prominent in some birds and may significantly decrease flock performance. The cutaneous form is characterized by nodular lesions on various parts of the unfeathered skin of chickens and on the head and upper neck of turkeys. Generalized lesions of feathered skin may also be seen. In some cases, lesions are limited chiefly to the feet and legs. The lesion is initially a raised, blanched, nodular area that enlarges, becomes yellowish, and progresses to a thick, dark scab. Multiple lesions usually develop and often coalesce. Lesions in various stages of development may be found on the same bird. Localization around the nostrils may cause nasal discharge. Cutaneous lesions on the eyelids may cause complete closure of one or both eyes

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  9. turkaholic

    turkaholic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It does fit some of the fowl pox description Steve, but I have never seen fowl pox cover an area that extensive. Also, I would think some of the other birds would be showing signs of it by now. I'm only suggesting fight wound scab/bruise because I had the same occur on one of my jakes recently, and I know that was the case since the other birds ripped a gash on his neck that bled profusely. I wish I had documented it with a photo. I thought he wasn't going to make it, but it is amazing how turkeys can heal from pretty severe looking wounds.
     

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