Chicken respiratory infection attack on flock has caused many poultry owners to turn to Tylan 50 for chickens.
Today, we shall discuss deeply every form of chicken respiratory disease you can ever come across.
- Is your chicken breathing heavily?
- Is your chicken wheezing?
- Is their eye swollen shut?
- Is your chicken with a cold?
All of these are signs of infections.
If you’re using Tylan for your birds, you should probably bypass the Duramycin and Terramycin versions which are less strong, less effective than the Tylan 50 for pigeon, chickens and ducks!
One goal of the Tylan 50-your aim is to subdue the symptoms so no secondary illness can take hold also.
Tylan 50 for chickens will help your bird recover/heal from the sneezing, coughing etc. BUT it will not cure it. Chances are that if one gets it, the entire flock has been exposed to it.
How to treat a chicken with a cold? First, chickens don’t get “colds”, they get bacterial and virus infections etc. MG and MS are the biggest offenders of respiratory issues.
However, you will only be guessing at what your birds have unless you take some live birds and dead birds to be necropsied by your local agricultural vet or exchange.
The best you can do aside testing for illness is to disinfect your feeders, waterers daily, and clean your roosts/coop etc. and keep bedding as clean as possible.
Tylan 50 oral dosage for chickens work less effectively than Tylan 50 injections (which work quickest & are more effective than oral doses) at a rate of 1/2cc subcutaneously into the breast for full size chickens & 1/4cc for bantam size (switching breast sides each injection) or to inject behind the neck between the shoulder blades subcutaneously 2x’s per day for a duration of 5 days.
The reason you inject 2 xs’s a day is that Tylan 50 is effective in the system for a period of only about 8 hours. In more severe cases where your bird is struggling to breathe, chicken breathing heavily, or is very lethargic, you can give Tylan 50 every 3x’s daily.
Injections can be intimidating (especially for beginners. A quick Google on how to give a chicken an injection and you should find simple step by step instructions.
Tractor supply carries Tylan-50, syringes, and you should use a 22 guage needle.
Isolating the sick from the “healthy” ones while under treatment (even though they have all been exposed now) is best in order to reduce the airborne and direct swapping of fluids.
Bird isolating will help control the spread of the symptoms, but your birds will always be carriers- there is no cure. You can reduce illness outbreaks by minimizing stress, practicing cleanliness, good nutrition, and antibiotics to reduce the chance of any secondary issues occurring.
TYLAN 50 is your best shot for recovery at this point. If it is a cost issue, I understand. But, Duramycin is a very mild form of antibiotic, and oral meds do not get absorbed as well as injections. Injecting goes straight to the system, oral antibiotic does not completely saturate the system like injections due to many factors.
In any case, keeping him warm is good. Your best hope for recovery is a serious injectable antibiotic.
Tylan 50 can be used on chickens-just stick to the cc’s I outlined in the previous posts. Purchase the bottle at Tractor Supply and some syringes and needles to draw up the medicine yourself. You want to give it SUBCUTANEOUSLY-only put the needle in about 1/4 inch.
Get at least 5 needles. They can be sterilized by boiling to keep cost down, but sterilizing is critical if you reuse the syringes and needles. The needles will get dull after about 3 to 4 uses, so you will have to dispose of them then, if not sooner.
Besides the breast, you can inject at the base of the neck on the back between the shoulders. Separate the feathers and pull up the loose skin. You want to inject not too deeply, and definitely do not push the needle through the other side.
Because the Tylan antibiotic removes both good and bad bacteria, you should let the chicken eat yogurt with live or active cultures-you can offer plain or a berry fruit he might like. Some chickens will devour the yogurt, some will lightly sample it. They don’t need a whole container, offer a tablespoon or more a couple times a day.
Injections for the first time will be scary. Just remember to swab the injection site first with alcohol too.
Most chicken issues are not transferable to humans. You could wear gloves, the dish washing kind, or medical type, or even just a knit winter type. Make sure to keep the gloves in an area away from other chickens and either throw them away, or wash them after completing treatment.
Keep in mind that the tylan 50 needs to be given for 5 complete days-don’t stop early even if he looks completely recovered. Like human antibiotics, if you don’t finish the full course, they will build an immunity to it thereby making it less effective later and lowering his natural immunity.
There is an excellent product on ebay called pure sulfa livestock medicine…. you can put it in their food or water and sprinkle it on eye infections…it awesome!!!!!
CRD or mycoplasma responds well to Tylan50 injections, and coryza will respond best to Di-Methox (sulfadimethoxine) or if you can’t get that, Sulmet.
!/2 teaspoonful of Tylan Soluble Powder per gallon of water is the amount I came up with. Some older threads say 1 tsp per gallon, but my calculation is this: 100 Grams in 50 gallons of water (the directions on the jar.) This equals 2 Grams per gallon. Since 5 grams roughly equals 1 tsp, it should take just under 1/2 tsp to equal 2 grams per gallon.
This won’t ‘cure’ his illness, BUT it will make him more comfortable and better able to breathe…
Use ORGANIC apple cider vinegar (the one with the “mother” in it-sludge at the bottom of bottle).
Shake bottle well to mix sludge.
Use a clean eyedropper, medicine dropper OR a small plastic syringe from Tractor Supply Co etc.
Mix about 3/4 apple cider vinegar to 1/4 or a tiny bit more of clean room temp or slightly warm water. Making a TOTAL of about 1cc worth.
Give orally to the chicken-taking your time so he won’t aspirate it.
The vinegar cuts through the mucous and helps break it down and wash it away so they can swallow and breathe better-plus the vinegar is healthy. You can do this several times a day to cut the mucous.
If you have a foul odor, clogging of the nostrils and sinuses, sometimes facial swelling, then you have Coryza. Sulfadimethoxine powder @ 1 tsp for 5 days, or Sulmet (sodium sulfamethazine at 1 tsp per gallon for 7-10 days is the treatment for coryza.
If the foul odor is cleared up, etc., yet you still have runny eyes, nose, a throat rattle, you must change medication. Tylan 50 @ 1/2 cc under the skin on the back of the neck with a 25 gauge needle every day for 5 days is the best treatment for CRD.
If the bird is over 5 lbs, give an extra 1/2 cc in the breast. Locate the breast bone and alternate each side for an injection site each day. Duramycin is probably the least effective treatment of CRD besides apple cider vinegar. If you want to add something beneficial, a few drops of RX Poultry Remedy in the water can help clear sinuses.
P.S. Always follow up with a mineral, vitamin, and probiotic soluble powder after completing treatment with medication or antibiotics. Avian Super Pack and Probios are two excellent quality products I recommend.
If injecting, you have to get more creative at alternating injections. Left, right, and then possibly another location, left, right… They will get tender and sore with 3 and 5 day treatments, so try alternating injection sites. but with oral, it is not as bad (except chicken wrestling… after the first dose or two they get smart lol)
Tylan 50 is tylosin 50 mg/ml – injectable
Tylan 200 is tylosin 200 mg/ml – injectable
Tylan Soluble Powder is tylosin 100 mg/gram – powder
Tylan 100 is tylosin 100 mg per pound – Type A medicated feed.
Tylan 10 is tylosin 10,000 mg per pound – Type B medicated feed.
With Tylan 200:
1cc for a full sized large adult male is 33mg/kg
1cc for a full sized small female is 66mg/kg
Tylan is majorly used to treat gram positive infections or something like mycoplasma. If I remember correctly, your sensitivity/culture report showed gram negative bacteria that were resistant to tylosin (Tylan). In that case, would not matter how much you gave, it never would have worked.
Injectable cannot be mixed in water. Some people give the injectable orally, but whether given by injection, or orally, it must be given at least twice a day.
Poultry Disease Control and Prevention (Plus Treatments)
There are 2 classifications of poultry diseases; namely: Viral (Chicken Respiratory Infections) and Non-viral infections.
Chicken Respiratory Infections/Diseases
There are lots of common and important chicken diseases which can affect the respiratory system (air sacs, lungs, air passages) of poultry.
Poultry refers to birds that people keep for personal and commercial use. It generally includes the turkey, duck, chicken, goose, quail, pheasant, guinea fowl, pigeon, pea fowl, emu, rhea, and ostrich.
Due to modern systems of management, usually with high poultry densities, these diseases are able to readily spread.
Synonyms: Chicken pox (not to be confused with human chicken pox; the human disease does not affect poetry and vice versa), bird pox, avaian diphtheria, sore head.
Species affected: Most poultry—chickens, quail, turkeys, pheasants, ducks, psittacine, and ratites—of all ages are susceptible.
Clinical signs: There are two forms of fowl pox. The dry form is characterized by raised, wart-like lesions on unfeathered areas (legs, head, vent, etc.).
The lesions heal in about 2 weeks. If the scab is removed before healing is complete, the surface beneath is raw and bleeding. Unthriftiness and retarded growth are typical symptoms of fowl pox. In laying hens, infection results in a transient decline in egg production
For the wet form, there are canker-like lesions in the mouth, larynx, pharynx, and trachea. The wet form may cause respiratory distress by blocking the upper air passages. Chickens may be affected by one or two forms of fowl pox at the same time.
Transmission: Fowl pox is spread by direct contact between infected and susceptible birds or by mosquitoes.
Virus-containing wounds also can fall off from affected birds and serve as a source of infection. The virus can enter the blood stream through the eye, respiratory tract, or skin wounds.
Mosquitos get infected from feeding on birds with fowl pox in their blood stream. There is some evidence that the mosquito remains infective for life.
Mosquitos are the main storages and spreaders of fowl pox on poultry ranges. Many species of mosquito can transmit fowl pox.
Often mosquitos winter-over in poultry houses so, outbreaks can occur during winter and early spring.
Treatment: No treatment is available. But, fowl pox spreads slowly. This makes it possible to vaccinate to stop an outbreak of this chicken respiratory infection.
The wing-web vaccination is used for chicken and the thigh-stick method for turkeys older than 8 weeks.
Prevention: Outbreak of Fowl pox in birds confined to houses can be controlled by spraying to klll mosquitos. But, if fowl pox is endemic in the area, vaccination is advised.
Do not vaccinate unless the disease becomes a problem on a farm or in the area. Refer to the publication PS-36 (vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks) for more information on fowl pox vaccinations.
Newcastle Disease in Poultry
This is another chicken disease infection. The highly contagious and lethal form of Newcastle disease is known as viscerotropic ;it attacks the internal organs.
Velogenic Newcastle disease, VVND, exotic Newcastle disease, or Asiatic Newcastle disease. VVND is not present in the United States poultry industry at this time.
Species affected: Newcastle disease affects all poultry of all ages. Mammals and humans are also likely to get Newcastle infections. In such species, it causes a mild conjunctivitis.
Clinical signs: There are 3 main types of Newcastle disease:
- mildly pathogenic (lentogenic)
- moderately pathogenic (mesogenic) and
- highly pathogenic (velogenic)
The Newcastle disease is recognized when a sudden onset of clinical signs break out. These signs include hoarse chirps (in chicks), watery discarg from nostrils, gasping/labored breathing, trembling, facial swelling, and twisting of the neck (sign of central nervous system involvement).
Mortality ranges from 10 to 80% depending on the seriousness of the illness. In adult laying birds, symptoms can include decreased water and feed consumption and a dramatic drop in egg production.
Transmission: The Newcastle virus can be passed on short distances by the airborne route or introduced on contaminated shoes, visitors, feed deliverers, tires, feed sacks, dirty equipment, wild birds and crates.
Newcastle virus can be passed in the egg, but Newcastle-infected embryos die before hatching. In live birds, the virus is shed in breath, secretions, body fluids and excreta.
Treatment: What is the fix for this chicken respiratory infection? There is no specific treatment for Newcastle disease.
Antibiotics can be given for 3–5 days to prevent secondary bacterial infections (particularly E. coli ). For chicks, increasing the brooding temperature 5°F may help reduce losses.
Prevention: Prevention programs should include vaccination (see publication PS-36, Vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks), good sanitation, and implementation of a comprehensive biosecurity program.
Synonyms: Cold, IB, bronchitis
Species affected: Infectious bronchitis is a chicken disease only. A similar disease occurs in bobwhite quail (quail bronchitis), but it is caused by a different virus.
Clinical signs: The severity of infectious bronchitis infection is influenced by the immune system status and age of the flock, by environmental conditions, and by the presence of other diseases.
Water and Feed consumption declines. Affected chickens will be chirping, with a watery discharge from the nostrils and eyes, and labored breathing with some gasping in young chickens.
Breathing noises are more noticeable at night while the birds rest. There is a huge drop in egg production. Production will recover in 5 or 6 weeks, but at a lower rate. The infectious bronchitis virus infects many tissues of the body, including the reproductive tract. Eggshells become rough and the egg white becomes watery.
Transmission: Infectious bronchitis is a very contagious poultry disease. It is spread by feed bags, air, infected dead birds, rodents, and infected houses. The virus can be egg-transmitted, however, affected embryos commonly will not hatch.
Treatment: There is no particular treatment for infectious bronchitis. Antibiotics for 3–5 days may help in combating secondary bacterial infections.
By raising the room temperature 5°F for brooding-age chickens until symptoms subside, you might be able to control the spread. Baby chicks can be encouraged to eat by using a warm, moist mash.
Prevention: Establish and enforce a biosecurity program. Vaccinations are available.
Species affected: Bobwhite quail are affected. However, the Japanese corturnix quail are resistant. The disease is prevalent in the southern states where bobwhite quail are common.
Quail bronchitis occurs seasonally as new hatches and broods come along each year.
Clinical signs: Respiratory distress occurs with tracheal rales (rattles), coughing and sneezing. Water and feed consumption declines dramatically.
There can also be inflammation of the eye. So, if you see your bird eye swollen shut, there might be an infection. Loose watery feces are seen in older and sub-acutely affected birds. Nasal discharges are not seen, differentiating quail bronchitis from similar diseases in other poultry.
Transmission: Once infected, quail bronchitis remains on the farm for the duration of the breeding season, infecting each successive brood.
Treatment: There is no one treatment against quail bronchitis. Quail bronchitis infections are often complicated by concurrent mycoplasma infections.
You can use antibiotics to combat secondary infections. Add tylosin injection for poultry (500g/ton) to the feed for 10 days, withhold the medication for 5 days, and then repeat medication for 5 days.
Alternate medication regimens are tylosin (Tylan) or erythromycin (Gallimycin) in the drinking water for the same period of time.
Prevention: There is no commercial vaccine on the market. It is necessary to break the cycle by depopulating and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting equipment and pens, followed by a 30–90 day quarantine of the facilities.
Synonyms: Fowl plague, AI, flu, influenza
Species affected: Avian influenza can affect most, if not all, species of poultry.
Clinical signs: Avian influenza can be said to be mild or highly pathogenic. The mild form produces listlessness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, respiratory distress; transient drops in egg production, and low mortality.
Is your chicken eye swollen shut? This highly pathogenic form produces swollen face, blue wattles and comb, and dehydration with respiratory distress.
White/Dark red spots develop in the comb and legs of chickens. There can be blood-tinged discharge from the nostrils.
Mortality can range from low to near 100 percent. Sudden exertion adds to the total mortality. Hatchability and egg production decreases. There can be an increase in production of soft-shelled and shell-less eggs.
Transmission: The avian influenza virus can remain active for long periods of time at moderate temperatures and can live for a very long time in frozen material.
Because of this, the disease can be spread via improper disposal of infected manure and carcasses. Avian influenza can spread by contaminated shoes, crates, clothing, and other equipment. Rodents and Insects may mechanically carry the virus from infected to susceptible poultry.
Treatment: There is no effective treatment for avian influenza. With the mild form of the disease, proper nutrition, broad spectrum antibiotics, and good husbandry may cut down the losses from secondary infections.
Recovered flocks continue to shed the virus. Vaccines may only be used with special permit.
Prevention: A vaccination program used in conjunction with a strict quarantine has been used to control mild forms of the disease.
For more serious forms, strict quarantine and rapid destruction of all infected flocks remains the only and most effective method of stopping an avian influenza outbreak.
If you think you flock is under attack by the Avian Influenza, even the mild form, you must report it to the state veterinarian’s office.
A proper diagnosis of avian influenza is essential. Aggressive action is recommended even for milder infections as this virus has the ability to readily mutate to a more pathogenic form.
Synonyms: Coryza, roup, cold
Species affected: chickens, guinea fowl, and pheasants. Common in game chicken flocks.
Clinical signs: Swelling around the face, foul smelling, thick, sticky discharge from the eyes and nostrils, labored breathing, and rales (rattles—an abnormal breathing sound) are common clinical signs. The eyelids are irritated and may stick together. The birds may have diarrhea and growing birds may experience stunted growth.
Mortality from Coryza is often low, but infections can reduce egg production and increase the incidence and/or severity of other diseases.
Morality can be as high as 50%, but is commonly no more than 20 percent. The clinical disease can last from a couple of days to 2-3 months, depending on the virulence of the pathogen and the existence of other infections such as mycoplasmosis.
Transmission: This chicken infection is passed on by direct bird-to-bird contact. This can be from infected birds introduced into the flock as well as from birds that recover from the disease but remain carriers of the organism and may shed periodically throughout their lives.
Birds risk exposure at live-bird sales, poultry shows, and bird swaps. Inapparent infected adult birds added into a flock are a common source for outbreaks. Within a flock, inhalation of airborne respiratory droplets, and contamination of water and/or water are common modes of spread.
Treatment: Antibacterials or water soluble antibiotics can be used. Sulfadimethoxine (Albon®, Di-Methox™) is the preferred treatment. If it is not available, or not effective, sulfamethazine (Sulfa-Max®, SulfaSure™), erythromycin (gallimycin®), or tetracycline (Aureomycin®) can be used as alternative treatments.
Sulfa drugs are not FDA approved for pullets older than 14 weeks of age or for commercial layer hens. While antibiotics can be effective in reducing clinical disease, they do not get rid of carrier birds.
Prevention: Sanitation and good management are the best ways to avoid infectious coryza. Most outbreaks occur as a result of mixing flocks. All replacement birds on “coryza-endemic” farms should be vaccinated.
The vaccine (Coryza-Vac) is given subcutaneously (under the skin) on the back of the neck. Each chicken should be vaccinated 4times, starting at 5 weeks of age with at least 4 weeks between injections. Vaccinate again at 10 months of age and twice yearly thereafter.
Synonyms: LT, ILT, trach, laryngo
Species affected: Pheasants and chickens are affected by LT. Chickens 14 weeks and older are more likely to get attacked than young chickens.
Most LT outbreaks occur in mature hens. In recent years, LT has also caused significant respiratory problems in broilers greater than 3 weeks of age, especially during the colder periods of the year. This is believed to be due to unwanted spread of LT vaccines between poultry flocks.
Clinical signs: The first clinical sign usually first noticed is watery eyes. Affected birds stay quiet because breathing is hard.
Sneezing, coughing, and shaking of the head to dislodge exudate plugs in the windpipe follow. Birds stretch their neck and head to aid breathing (popularly known as “pump handle respiration”).
Inhalation produces a chicken wheezing and frequent gurgling sound. Serum and blood-tinged exudates are released from the trachea of the affected birds. Plenty birds lose their life from asphyxiation because of the trachea when the tracheal is freed.
Transmission: LT is contacted through the respiratory route. LT is also spread from flock to flock by contaminated shoes, tires, clothing, etc. Birds that recover should be considered carriers for life. LT may be harbored in speciality poultry such as game fowl and exhibition birds.
Treatment: Burn dead birds, give antibiotics to control secondary infection, and vaccinate the flock. Mass vaccination by drinking or spray water method is not advised for caged or large commercial flocks,
Individual bird administration by the eye-drop route is recommended. Follow the manufacturers instructions. In small bird flocks, use a swab to remove plug from gasping birds, and vaccinate by eye-drop method.
Prevention: Vaccinate replacement birds for outbreak farms. LT vaccinations is not as successful as for other disease, but is a great preventive measure for use in outbreaks and in deadly areas.
Synonyms: TRT, rhino tracheitis
Species affected: Regardless of age, all Turkeys are likely to be affected, but the disease is most serious in young poults. Chickens are susceptible to the virus. Experimentally, pheasants and guinea fowl are susceptible, pigeons and waterfowl are resistant.
Clinical signs: Respiratory signs in poults include Sneezing, snicking, sinusitis, rales, nasal exudates (often frothy), and foamy conjunctivitis. Drops in egg production can be as much as 70 percent.
Transmission: Spread is mainly via contact with contaminated environments, water and feed, recovered birds, personnel, and equipment.
Treatment: No drugs are available to fight the virus. Antibiotic therapy is recommended to control secondary bacterial infections.
Prevention: No vaccines are currently available. Prevention is dependent on a comprehensive biosecurity program.
Synonyms: Parrot fever, ornithosis, psittacosis.
The disease was called parrot fever or psittacosis when diagnosed in psittacine (curve-beaked) birds, and called ornithosis when diagnosed in all other birds or in humans. Currently, the term chlamydiosis is used to describe infections in any animal.
Species affected: Affected species include Ducks, turkeys, pigeons, psittacine (curve-beaked) birds, captive and aviary birds, many other bird species, and other animals.
Commonly, chickens are rarely affected. Humans are vulnerable, especially older and immunosuppressed people who are at a higher risk.
Chlamydiosis in humans is an occupational disease of turkey growers, haulers, and processing workers in the live-bird areas and of workers in pet-bird aviaries although contact is rare.
Clinical signs: Clinical signs in most birds include conjunctivitis, weakness, diarrhea, loss of body weight, nasal-ocular discharge, sinusitis, and a drop on feed consumption.
In turkeys, there is also respiratory distress and loose yellow to greenish-yellow colored droppings. Chylamydiosis runs rather slowly through turkey flocks, with a maximum incidence of around 50 percent
Transmission: The main channel of transmission is via inhalation of fecal dust and respiratory tract secretions. It can also be transmitted on contaminated equipment and clothing.
Recovered birds remain carriers and will continue to intermittently shed the infective agent for long periods after the clinical signs have subsided.
Environmental stress may cause the disease reoccurring once more.
Treatment: Chlorotetracycline can be given in the feed (200–400 g/ton) for 3 weeks. Other antibiotics are usually ineffective to this chicken respiratory infection. Recovered birds are safe for processing. Permanent lesions on the heart and liver are not infectious. FDA withdrawal periods for medications used must be strictly observed to avoid residual chemicals in the tissues.
Prevention: There is no vaccine. Have a good biosecurity program, excluding wild birds as much as possible.
Swollen Head Syndrome
Synonyms: Facial cellulitis, SHS, thick head, Dikkop
Species affected: Turkeys and Chickens are the known natural hosts. Experimentally, pheasants and guinea fowl are susceptible but ducks, pigeons, and geese are resistant to the infection. SHS does not presently occur in the United States, but is present in most countries of the world.
Clinical signs: In chicks and poults, there is initial sneezing, followed by swelling and reddening of the tear ducts and eye tissue. Facial swelling will extend over the head and down the jaw and wattles. Adult chickens have mild respiratory disease followed by a few birds having swollen heads. Other signs include twisting of neck, disorientation, and a significant drop in egg production.
Transmission: The infection spreads indirectly by exposure to infectious material or by direct contact with infected birds.
Treatment: There is no proven medication for swollen head syndrome. The disease is caused by a virus classified as a pneumovirus.
A disease closely mimicking SHS is caused by a mixed infection of respiratory viruses and specific bacteria. Antibiotic therapy may help fight against the bacterial component.
Prevention: A commercial vaccine is available. Swollen head syndrome is considered an exotic disease and a live vaccine is not approved for use in the United States.
Synonyms: Chronic respiratory disease (CRD),MG, infectious sinusitis, mycoplasmosis
Species affected: chickens, peafowl, turkeys, pigeons, ducks, and passerine birds.
Clinical signs: Clinical symptoms differ a little between species. Infected adult chickens may show no outward signs if infection is uncomplicated. But, sticky, serous exudate from nostrils, foamy exudate in eyes, and swollen sinuses can occur, especially in broilers.
Similarly, the air sacs may become infected. Infected birds can develop respiratory sneeze and rales. Affected birds are often stunted and unthrifty.
There are two forms of this disease in the turkey. With the “upper form” the birds have watery nostrils and eyes, the infraorbitals (just below the eye) become swollen, and the exudate becomes caseous and firm. The birds have respiratory rales and show unthriftiness.
With the “lower form”, infected turkeys develop airsacculitis. As with chickens, birds can show no outward signs if the infection is uncomplicated. Thus, the condition may go unnoticed until the birds are slaughtered and the typical legions are seen. Birds with airsacculitis are condemned.
MG in chicken embryos can cause airsacculitis, dwarfing, and death.
Transmission: MG can be spread to offspring through the egg. Most commercial breeding flocks, however, are MG-free. Introduction of infected replacement birds can introduce the disease to MG-negative flocks. MG can also be spread by using MG-contaminated equipment.
Treatment: Antibiotics can be used to control outbreaks of MG. Erythromycin, tylosin, spectinomycin, and lincomycin all exhibit anti-mycoplasma activity and have given good results.
Administration of most of these antibiotics can be by water, feed, or injection. These are effective in reducing clinical disease. However, birds remain carriers for life.
Prevention: Eradication is the best control of mycoplasma disease. The National Poultry Improvement Plan monitors all participating chicken and turkey breeder flocks.
Synonyms: MS, infectious synovitis, synovitis, silent air sac
Species affected: Turkeys and chickens.
Clinical signs: Birds infected with the synovitis form show lameness, followed by lethargy, reluctance to move, stilted gait, weight loss, swollen joints, and formation of breast blisters. Birds infected with the respiratory form exhibit respiratory distress. Greenish diarrhea is common in dying birds.
Clinically, the disease in indistinguishable from MG.
Transmission: MS is spread from infected breeder to progeny through the egg. Within a flock, MS is spread by direct contact with infected birds as well as through airborne particles over short distances.
Treatment: Recovery is slow for both synovitis and respiratory forms. Many antibiotics are variably effective. The most effective are erthromycin, spectinomycin, lincomycin, chlorotectracycline, and tylosin for poultry.
These antibiotics can be given by injection, in the feed or drinking water. These treatments are most effective when the antibiotics are injected.
Prevention: Eradication is the surest and best control. Do not use breeder replacements from flocks that have had MS. The National Poultry Improvement Plan monitors for MS.
Synonyms: H strain, MM, N strain
Species affected: MM affects turkeys of all ages and sizes, although poults are affected more frequent than mature turkeys. Recently, MM has been shown to infect peafowl, pigeon, and quail.
Clinical signs: A reduction in production and hatchability can be expected in breeder flocks. There can be very high mortality in young poults. Stunting, Unthriftiness, crooked neck with deformity of cervical verterbrae, respiratory distress, , and leg deformation are common in young birds
Transmission: Egg transmission is low in the early breeding period, but rises as the age of the flock increases. Infections can be introduced into a flock by contaminated shoes, equipment, and clothing of visitors and workers.
Treatment: Several antibiotics have been effective including Tylan 50 for pigeon, tylosin, spectinomycin, linco-spectinomycin and erythromycin.
Prevention: The best preventive measure we recommend is to keep MM-free breeders. The MM-free status of breeders can be confirmed by periodic blood tests through the National Poultry Improvement Plan.
Synonyms: Fungal pneumonia, brooder pneumonia, mycotic pneumonia, Aspergillus. When the source of the disease is the hatchery, the disease is referred to as brooder pneumonia. In older birds, the disease is known as aspergillosis.
Species affected: All birds (domestic poultry, Canary, pigeons and zoo bird species), humans, animals, and plants are susceptible.
Clinical signs: Aspergillosis strikes as an acute disease of young birds and a chronic disease in mature birds.
Young chickens find it hard to breathe and gasp for air. Generally, there are no rales or respiratory sounds associated with aspergillosis. Feed consumption decreases dramatically.
On occasions, they will experience convulsions or paralysis caused by the fungal toxin. Mortality in young birds averages 5-20 percent, but may go as high as 50 percent.
Mature birds also experience respiratory distress, may have dark color of the skin and a bluish and reduced feed condumption.
Nervous disorders, such as twisted necks, may happen to a couple of birds. Death in mature birds is commonly less than 5 percent.
Transmission: Aspergillosis is caused by a fungus. The fungus grows well at room temperature and higher.
All nest and litter materials (peat moss, sawdust, peanut hulls, peat, bark, straw) have been known to have been contaminated with aspergillus. Water and feed should be suspect when attempting to identify the source of contamination.
Treatment: Sadly, there is no current cure for infected birds. The spread can be controlled when you improve ventilation, eliminate the source of the infection, and add a fungistat (mycostatin, mold curb, sodium or calcium propionate, or gentian violet) to the feed and/or copper sulfate or acidified copper in the drinking water for 3 days.
The litter can be sprayed lightly with an oil-base germicide to control air and dust and movement of fungal spores.
Prevention: It is important to thoroughly clean and disinfect the brooding area between broods. Use only litter that is clean, preferably soft wood shavings. Do not use shavings, sawdust, or litter high in bark content that have been wet.
Viral Diseases (nonrespiratory)
Below are a list of non-respiratory chicken diseases, eight infectious causes of diseases in poultry and treatment.
Remember, the classification of poultry diseases include Respiratory and Viral diseases (non-respiratory)
Synonyms: acute leukosis,range paralysis, neural leukosis, gray eye (when eye affected)
Species affected: Chickens between 12 to 25 weeks of age are most generally clinically affected. Occasionally turkeys, game fowl, pheasants, and quail can fall victims too.
Clinical signs: Marek’s disease is a type of avian cancer. Tumors in nerves cause lameness and paralysis.
Tumors can occur in the eyes and cause irregularly shaped pupils and ultimately blindness. Tumors of the gonads, kidney, liver, spleen, pancreas, proventriculus, muscles, lungs, and skin can cause incoordination, unthriftiness, weak labored breathing, paleness and enlarged feather follicles.
In terminal stages, the birds are greenish diarrhea, emaciated with pale, scaly combs.
Marek’s disease is very similar to Lymphoid Leukosis, but Marek’s usually occurs in chickens 12 to 25 weeks of age and Lymphoid Leukosis usually starts at 16 weeks of age.
Transmission: The Marek’s virus is spreas through the air within the poultry house. It is in the feather dander, feces, chicken house dust and saliva. Infected birds carry the virus in their blood for life and are a source of infection for susceptible birds.
Treatment: none for now, Sorry (Check back later as will continue updating this post)
Prevention: Chicks can be vaccinated at the hatchery. While the vaccination prevents tumor formation, it does not prevent infection by the virus.
Synonyms: Leukosis, visceral leucosis. big liver, LL
Species affected: Although primarily a disease of chickens, lymphoid leukosis can infect doves, turkeys, guinea fowl, and pheasants but not on a large scale.
Clinical signs: The virus involved has a long incubation period (4 months or longer). As a result, clinical signs may not be noticeable until the birds are 16 weeks or older.
Affected birds become progressively weaker and emaciated. There is regression of the comb. The abdomen becomes enlarged. Greenish diarrhea develops in terminal stages.
Transmission: The virus is transmitted through from the egg to offspring. Within a flock, it is spread by contact with contaminated environments and bird-to-bird contact. The virus is not spread by air.
Infected chicken are carriers for life.
Prevention: The virus is present in both the egg white and yolk of eggs from infected hens. An impressive number of national and international layer breeders have wiped off lymphoid leukosis from their flocks. Most commercial chicks are lymphoid-leukosis negative because they are hatched from LL-free breeders. The disease is still common in broiler breeder flocks.
It is safe to say that this is one of the many poultry broiler diseases.
Infectious Bursal Disease
Synonyms: Infectious avian nephrosis, Gumboro, IBD, and infectious bursitis
Species affected: chickens
Clinical signs: In affected chickens more than 3 weeks of age, there is often a fast onset of the disease with a sudden drop in water and feed intake, watery droppings leading to soiling of feathers around the vent, and vent pecking.
Feathers appear ruffled and at times, unkempt. Chicks are listless and sit in a hunched position. Chickens infected when less than 3 weeks of age do not develop clinical disease, but become severely and permanently immunosuppressed.
Transmission: The virus is spread through bird-to-bird contact, as well as by contact with contaminated equipment and people. The virus is shed in the bird droppings and can be spread by air on dust particles.
Dead birds are a source of the virus and should be destroyed by burning.
Treatment: There is no one particular treatment. Antibiotics, nitrofurans, and sulphonamides have little or no effect. Vitamin-electrolyte therapy is helpful.
High levels of tetracyclines are contraindicated because they tie up calcium, thereby producing rickets. Surviving chicks do not grow rapidly and more exposed to secondary infections because of immunosuppression.
Prevention: A vaccine is commercially available.
Synonyms: EE, EEE, WEE
Note: This disease should not be confused with St. Louis Encephalits (SLE). Chickens are used as sentinels (test animals) in SLE suspect areas, such as southern Florida. While SLE is also carried by mosquitos, that is where the similarities between the two encephalitis diseases end.
Chickens do not get SLE.
Species affected: Equine encephalitis is a contagious disease of mammals (especially horses), birds (especially pheasants), and HUMANS. Birds are the major source of the virus.
Clinical signs: Two forms affect birds: eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and western equine encephalitis (WEE).
The clinical signs are somewhat similar and are reduced feed consumption, staggering, and paralysis. Surviving birds may be blind, have muscle paralysis, and have an hard time holding their head up.
Damage to the bird’s nervous system varies with species. In pheasants, there is pronounced leg paralysis, tremors, and twisting of the neck. Mortality rate is often high. Turkeys and Chukar partridges show drowsiness, weakness, paralysis, and death (see Table 2).
Transmission: Infected mosquitoes are the majorsource of the virus. The Culiseta melanuria mosquito is the biggest transmitter of the virus to poultry. Other mosquito species transmit the disease too, but feed mostly on other animals. Cannibalism of dead or sick birds by penmates is a primary source of transmission within pens.
Prevention: Take away the source of infection by establishing mosquito control: keep weeds mowed in a 50-foot strip around bird pens. This removes resting and cover areas for mosquitos. Destroy mosquito breeding areas. Fog areas with malathion.
It is possible to immunize birds, especially pheasants, with the vaccine prepared for horses. The recommended dose is one-tenth of a horse dose per bird.
Synonyms: AE, epidemic tremor
Species affected: The disease most affects chickens less than 6 weeks of age. Quail, Pheasants, corturnix and turkeys which are natural hosts as well, but less susceptible than chickens.
Young pigeons, Ducklings, and guinea fowl can be experimentally infected.
Clinical signs: Signs commonly appear during the first week of life and between the 2nd and 3rd weeks.
Affected chicks may first begin by showing a dull expression of the eyes, followed by progressive incoordination, tremors of the neck and head, sitting on hocks, and finally paralysis or prostration.
Chicks affected become inactive. Some may refuse to walk or will walk on their hocks. In some deadly cases, a lot of chicks will lie with both feet to one side (postrate) and die.
Stages that include prostration, dullness, and tremors can be often seen in an affected flock. Water and feed consumption reduces and the birds lose weight.
In adult birds, a transitory drop (5–20 percent) in egg production may be the only clinical sign present.
However, in breeding flocks, a corresponding drop in hatching rate is also witnessed as the virus is egg-transmitted until hens develop immunity.
Chickens which survive the clinical disease may develop cataracts later in life.
Transmission: The virus can be passed on through the egg from infected hen to chick, accounting for disease during the first week of life.
This common poultry disease can also spread through a flock by direct contact of susceptible hatchlings with infected birds, accounting for the disease at 2-3 weeks of age.
Indirect spread can happen through fecal contamination of water and feed. Recovered birds are immune and do not in any way spread the virus.
Treatment: There is no treatment for outbreaks. Infected birds should be taken somewhere safe from the rest, killed and incinerated. Recovered chicks are stunted in growth.
Prevention: A vaccine is available.
Egg Drop Syndrome
Synonyms: egg drop, egg drop syndrome 76, EDS-76
Species affected: The natural hosts for EDS virus are geese and ducks, but EDS has become a great factor in the reduction of egg production in chickens in many parts of the world.
No illness has been observed in geese or ducks. All chicken breed and ages are open to this attack. The disease is most severe in broiler-breeders and brown-egg layer strains.
Clinical signs: There are no telltale signs other than the effects on egg production and egg quality. Healthy-appearing hens start laying thin-shelled and shell-less eggs.
Once the infection is settled, the condition results in a failure to achieve egg production targets.
Dullness and Transient diarrhea occur before the egg shell changes. Fertility and hatchability are not affected.
Transmission: It is believed that the syndrome was first introduced into chickens from contaminated vaccine. Vertical transmission occurs from infected breeders to chicks. Newly hatched chicks pass out the virus in the feces.
Treatment: There is no successful treatment. Induced molting will restore egg production.
Prevention: Prevention involves a good biosecurity program.
Synonyms: viral arthritis, tenosynovitis, malabsorption syndrome, helicopter disease, teno, reovirus enteritis, reovirus septicemia
Species affected: Chickens and turkeys
Clinical signs: Several sub-types of the reovirus have been recorded over time. Some localize in the joints (tenosynovitis) while others target intestinal or respiratory of tissues (septicemic form).
The major sign of tenosynovitis is lameness with swelling of the tendon sheaths of the shank and area extending above the hock.
Affected birds become lame, sit on their hocks, and would be reluctant to move. Rupture of the tendon can occur in older roaster birds, resulting in permanent lameness of the affected leg. If more than two joints are affected, the entire carcass will be condemned.
Infection can also play a part in broiler stunting, the result of malabsorption syndrome. In chicks, malabsorption due to viral enteritis is called “helicopter disease” because feathering is affected. Wing feathers protrude at various angles. A reovirus is believed to play only a secondary role in this syndrome.
Increased mortality may be the first sign of the septicemia form commercial layer flocks. Egg production will drop off by about two to three times the mortality rate.
For example, a mortality rate of 5 percent will be accompanied by a 10–15 percent drop in egg production. In the septicemic form, joint involvement is present but less pronounced. Affected birds become blue (cyanotic) and dehydrated.
The tips of their comb become purplish. The entire comb darkens ore and more as the disease progresses
Transmission: The infection spreads rapidly through broiler flocks, but less rapidly in caged layers. Spread is by digestive and respiratory tract routes. The virus is shed in the feces.
Treatment: There is no satisfactory treatment available. With hens, tetracycline, molasses, and oyster shell therapy is helpful.
Prevention: A vaccine is available for use in endemic areas or on endemic farms.
Nonrespiratory Bacterial Diseases
Synonyms: avian pasteurellosis, avian hemorrhagic septicaemia, cholera
Species affected: Domestic fowl of all species like chickens and turkeys, game birds (especially ducks and pheasants), cage birds, wild birds, and birds in zoological collections and aviaries are susceptible.
Clinical signs: Fowl cholera commongly strikes birds older than 6 weeks of age. In serious 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 more serious, 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.
Transmission: Various means of transmission have been demonstrated. Flock additions, predators, free-flying birds, infected premises, 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 commercial laying hens or use in pullets older than 14 weeks. Sulfa drugs leave residues in eggs and meat. Antibiotics can be used, but require higher levels and long term medication to stop the outbreak.
Prevention: On fowl cholera endemic farms, vaccinations are advised. 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 peritonitis with fetid odor, external navel infection, large unabsorbed yolk sacs, exudates adhering to the navel, dehydration, edema of the skin of ventral body area, and septicemia.
Transmission: Infection occurs at the time of hatching or shortly thereafter, before navels are healed.
Chicks from eggs with poor quality shells or dirty hatching eggs, or newly hatched chicks placed in dirty holding boxes, are most susceptible.
Chicks removed before complete healing of the navel occurs 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 chances of this disease occurring.
Treatment: There is no particular treatment for omphalitis. Many of the affected birds die in the first few days of life. Unaffected birds need no medication.
Prevention: Control is by prevention through hatchery procedures, effective hatchery sanitation, breeder flock surveillance, and proper preincubation handling of eggs.
Mushy chicks must be killed 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: Turkeys and Chickens are most affected, although other species of birds can become infected. Pullorum has never been a problem in commercially grown game birds such as quail, pheasant, and chukar partridge. 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, diarrhea, droopiness, weakness, pasted vent, gasping, and chalk-white feces, sometimes stained with green bile.
Affected birds grow slow and become stunted because they do not eat. Survivors become asymptomatic carriers with localized infection in the ovary.
Transmission: Pullorum is spread mainly through the egg, from hen to chick. It can spread further by contaminated hatchers, incubators, chick boxes, houses, equipment, poultry by-product feedstuffs, and carrier birds.
Treatment: Treatment is for flock salvage only. Several antibiotics, sulfonamides, and antibacterials are key in the reduction of 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 turkeys, chickens, show birds, waterfowl, guinea fowl, and game birds.
In Florida, a negative pullorum certification or test that the bird originated from a pullorum-free flock is required for admission for exhibit at fairs and shows. Such requirements have been beneficial in locating pullorum-infected flocks of hobby chickens.
Synonyms: Rot gut, enterotoxemia
Species affected: Fast growing young birds, especially turkeys and chickens 2-12 weeks of age, are most susceptible. Necrotic enteritis is a disease common with domestication and is unlikely to threaten wild bird populations.
Necrotic enteritis is majorly a disease of broilers, turkeys and roasters. Ulcerative enteritis, on the other hand, commonly affects quail and pullets.
Clinical signs: Initially there is a reduction in feed consumption as well as dark, often blood-stained, feces. Infected chickens will have diarrhea. Chronically affected birds become emaciated. The bird, feces, and intestines emit a foul smelling odor.
Transmission: Necrotic enteritis does not spread directly from bird to bird. Bacteria are ingested along with infected feces, soil, or other infected materials. The bacteria then grow in the intestinal tract.
Infection generally happens in crowded flocks, immuno-suppressed flocks, and flocks maintained in poor sanitary conditions.
Treatment: The clostridia bacteria involved in necrotic enteritis is sensitive to the antibiotics, tetracycline bacitracin, and neomycin. But, antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin, and novobiocin are also effective.
Bacitracin is the most widely used drug for control of necrotic enteritis. As with all drugs, legality and withdrawal time requirements must be observed.
Prevention: Prevention should be directed toward proper sanitation, husbandry, and management.
Synonyms: quail disease
Species affected: Captive quail are extremely likely to be affected and must be maintained on wire-bottom pens or on preventive medications.
Partridges, Chickens, turkeys, grouse, and other species are occasionally clinically affected.
Clinical signs: In quail, the disease is emerging with high mortality. In chickens, signs are less dramatic.
Sure signs are extreme depression and reduction in feed consumption. Affected birds sit humped with eyes closed. Other signs included emaciation, dull ruffled feathers, and watery droppings streaked with urates. Accumulated mortality will reach 50 percent if the flock is not treated.
Transmission: Birds become infected by infected droppiings or infected pens, direct contact with carrier birds, feed and water.
Bacteria are passed in the droppings of carrier and sick birds. Infection can be spread mechanically on equipment, shoes, feed bags, and from contamination by pets and rodents.
Treatment: Neomycin and bacitracin can be used singly or in combination. Other drugs and antibiotics suc as tetracyclines, Virginomycin, penicillin, and Lincomycin are also effective. Consult a veterinarian for dose, route, and length of treatment.
Prevention: Ulcerative enteritis is hard to prevent in quail. When quail have access to their own droppings, this disease generally occurs. To drive away, depopulate stock, thoroughly clean and disinfect, and start over with young, clean stock.
Synonyms: Western duck sickness, limberneck, bulbar paralysis, alkali disease
Species affected: All fowls (regardless of age), other animals and humans are likely to be affected. 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 popular clinical sign, occurs within a few hours after poisoned food is eaten. Pheasants with botulism remain alert, but paralyzed. Wings and legs become paralyzed, and then the neck becomes limp. Neck feathers become loose in the follicle and can be pulled without much hassle.
If the amount swallowed 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 rotten vegetation and dead fish along shorelines.
Decaying bird bodies on poultry ranges, wet litter or other organic matter, and fly maggots from decaying substances may carry botulism. There is no spread from direct bird to bird contact.
Treatment: Remove decaying matter or spoiled feed. Flush the flock with Epsom salts (1 lb/1000 hens) in water or in wet mash.
Potassium permanganate (1:3000) in the drinking water has been said to be helpful. Affected birds can be treated with botulism antitoxin injections.
Prevention: Bury or Incinerate dead birds quickly. Do not feed spoiled canned vegetables. Control flies. Replace suspected feed.
Synonyms: staph infection, staph septicemia, bumblefoot, staph arthritis
Species affected: All fowl types especially turkeys, game birds, chickens, and waterfowl, are prone to the attack.
Clinical signs: Staphylococcal infections appear in three forms—septicemia (acute), arthritic (chronic), and bumblefoot.
The septicemia form appears similar to fowl cholera in that the birds are restless, without appetite, become feverish, and show pain during movement. Black rot may show up in eggs (the organism is passed in the egg).
Birds infected pass fetid watery diarrhea. Many will have swollen joints (arthritis) and production drops
The arthritic form follows the pattern of the acute form. Birds show symptoms of breast blisters and lameness, as well as painful movement. 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.
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.
How much penicillin to give a chicken?
Penicilin and Erythromycin can be administered in the water for 3-5 days or in the feed (200 g/ton) for 5 days. Other drugs and antibiotics are only occasionally effective.
Prevention: Remove objects that can cause injury. Isolate chronically affected birds. Provide nutritionally balanced feed.
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