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Disease Management

Disease, Symptoms and Treatment in Poultry birds

Disease, etiological agent and species affected Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment

1. Fowl cholera

Poultry, Turkey and Duck

In acute cases birds may die without showing any symptom. In less severe form breathing rapid- open beak, feather ruffled, comb and wattle become cyanotic. There may be yellowish diarrhoea. In chronic form swollen comb and wattle, joints hot and painful. In duck acute haemorrhagic enteritis and oozing of blood from oral cavity noticed. Sudden death. Blood smear from ailing bird, spleen, liver, lung etc. from sacrificed or dead bird in separate cover (on ice), long bones from putrefied carcass in charcoal packing. In chronic case smear from wattle Demonstration of orga- nism in blood smear, isolation of organism from internal organs, isolation of the organism from long bone, in chro- nic case it is difficult to demonstrate the organism in blood. Smear from wattle is used, biological method using pigeon Treatment: Sulpha drugs and TMP combination, Enrofloxacin are effective. Drugs like Flamequin, Ampicillin, Chloramphenicol, Chlortetracycline and Novobiocin are also used.
1.Killed vaccine
2. Formalinised vaccines with adjuvant:
1 ml s/c

2.  Duck septicaemia
(Riemerella anatipestifer and Pasteurella anatipestifer)

Ducks & Turkey

Young ducks (1-8 weeks) are highly susceptible. Listlessness - occular and nasal discharge, mild coughing, sneezing, greenish diarrhoea, ataxia, tremor of head and neck and coma. In certain cases in adult ducks severe haemorrhagic enteritis with septicaemic lesions all over body noticed. Blood seen in the oral cavity at the time of death due to severe congestion of mucous membrane of oesophagus - sudden death noticed. Affected bird or internal organs, especially heart, liver, spleen from affected bird in sterile containers (on ice). Isolation and identification of the organism, demonstration of the organism in blood smear, in putrefied carcass isolation from long bones. Combination of streptomycin and dihydro-streptomycin., suphadimidine sodium in drinking water for 3 days. Flamequin, Chloramphenicol, Enrofloxacin, Ampicillin, Pefloxacin are also effective.
A formalised whole culture vaccine is found to protect the bird for at least 3-6 months.
A formalised oil adjuvant vaccine is also effective.

3.  Pullorum
(Salmonella pullorum)


Chicks hatched from infected egg, moribund or dead chick may be seen in the incubator. Sometimes disease is not seen for 5-10 days. Peak mortality during second or third week. Affected birds may exhibit a shrill cry when voiding excreta, which is white or greenish brown. Infection spread within the flock for a long time without any distinct signs. Reduction in egg production, fertility and hatchability. Ailing bird or freshly dead birds, or spleen, liver and intestine on ice from dead birds. Isolation and identification of organism from diseased birds, whole blood agglutination using coloured antigen (not for turkey), tube agglutination test, ELISA, post mortem lesions. In adult, abnormal ovary with misshapen, discoloured ova, pedunculated with thickened wall. No treatment is likely to effect complete elimination of carrier from infected birds.
Sulphadiazine, Sulphamerazine, sulphapyrazine, Sulphamethazine are the most effective in chicken (not in turkey poults). Furazolidone is effective. Also chloramphenicol, colistin and apromycin are effective. No vaccination practised and all positive birds may be disposed off by slaughter. Birds recently vaccinated with S.gallinarum (9R) may give low titre.
Since transovarian transmission of organism is there, only eggs from salmonella free flock should be used for hatching.

4. Fowl typhoid  (S.gallinarum)

Poultry and Turkey

Seen in young chicken and poults. Symptoms similar to pullorum disease. Birds show diarrhoea and greenish faeces and systemic disturbances. Ailing bird or fresh carcass or liver, spleen and intestine from freshly dead birds by special messenger on ice Isolation and identification of organism, tube and plate test, clinical observation and necropsy findings (Bronze liver Sulpha-TMP drugs, Quinelone group are used. Nitrofurans (Furazolidone) are used with some success.
1.Killed vaccine, 2.Live vaccine (9 R strain). Drugs when used as prophylactic agent, 10 days withdrawal period before slaughter.

5. Paratyphoid   infection of birds  with Salmonella other than
S. Pullorum and
S. gallinarum


Poultry, Turkey, Ducks and Goose

Similar to pullorum Two ailing birds
Internal organs in sterile vials, by special messenger on ice.
Isolation and identification of organism, clinical observation and autopsy findings, serological tests Furazlidone, injectable gentamicin, spectinomycin, and sodium nalidixate are the drugs of choice. Bacterin and attenuated live vaccines are used.

6.    Collibacillosis
(E. coli)

Poultry, Turkey, Duck

In acute form, symptoms resemble fowl cholera or fowl typhoid. Ailing bird or internal organs in sterile containers through special messenger on ice Symptoms, isolation and identification of organism, PM lesions, pericarditis, peritonitis, air saculitis, perihepatitis, septicaemic carcass with liver, spleen, lung, kidney dark and congested. Faecal contamination of hatching eggs reduced by fumigating or disinfecting eggs within 2 hours of laying. Antibiotic administration after studying the antibiogram. Furazolidone is fed (0.04%) for 10 days and chlortetracycline in water (600 mg/5 L) for 5 days. Inactivated vaccine from 02:K1 and 078: K SO strains are effective. For ducks, inactivated vaccine prepared from 078 strain is effective.
7. Infectious coryza   (Haemophiluspara gallinarum)
Affects upper respiratory tract, sero mucoid nasal and occular discharges and facial oedema, conjunctivitis with closed eyes. Ailing bird or trachea and lungs in sterile containers on ice. Isolation and identification Sulpha drugs plus TMP, streptomycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, quinolone 2nd   generation.

8. Erysipelas       (Erysipeolothrix insidiosa)

Turkey &  Chicken.

Sudden death, especially in toms. Cutaneous lesions may be seen. Affected males have swollen discoloured turgid snood and dewlap. Ailing bird, piece of liver, spleen in sterile vials on ice, bones of putrefied birds in charcoal, impression smears (from liver, spleen and heart blood smear. Sudden loss of adult turkey in flesh with septicaemic lesions, isolation and identification of organism, bone marrow culture in putrefied carcass, agglutination test. Crystalline penicillin is the drug of choice. Erythromycin and broad-spectrum antibiotics are also effective. Aluminium hydroxide absorbed whole cell of E.insidiosa (serotype 2) is effective.

9. Chronic     respiratory disease (CRD) Mycoplasma gallisepticum

Chicken and

Nasal discharge, shaking of head, coughing, swelling of the orbital sinuses and tracheal rales.
Loss of weight, reduction in egg production and fertility, mortality low.
Ailing bird or trachea, air sac, turbinates and lung in sterile container from dead bird (on ice). Symptoms, isolation and identification of organism, rapid serum plate test, HI test, ELISA Chlortetracycline, tylosin, streptomycin, erythromycin or lincomycin can be tried. But some strains are resistant to tylosin, streptomycin, erythromycin or spiromycin. Dipping of egg prior to hatching in tylosin or chlortetracycline is advised for controlling the infection.
  • MG bacterin with oil emulsion adjuvant.
  • Live vaccine F strain of MG can be used.

10. Gangrenous dermatitis (Clostridium septicum,
Cl. perfringes
type A S. aureus singly or in combination)


Varying degree of depression, incoordination, leg weakness, ataxia, dark moist areas of skin devoid of feathers, overlying wings, breast, abdomen and leg, extensive blood tinged oedema with or without gas is present beneath the affected skin. Ailing birds, swab collected from affected area. Clinical symptoms and lesions, isolation and identification of organism No treatment is completely successful. Chlortetracycline, Oxytetracycline, Bacitracin, penicillin, copper sulphate in drinking water. Furaxone in feed

11.  Psittacosis/
Ornithosis (Chlamydia psittaci)

Parrots and other psittacine birds, domestic poultry, turkey and ducks.

Transmissible to man

Ruffled plumage, nasal discharge, watery greenish diarrhoea, pasting of feathers, wasting of pectoral muscles, nervous symptoms, respiratory symptoms. Two ailing birds, impression smears from cut surfaces of liver, spleen, air sac impression smears Clinical symptoms, P.M.findings, microscopical examination, impression smears, after modified ZN staining isolation and identification of the organism, CFT. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, chlortetracycline 500-800 g/tonne of feed for 3 weeks. Doxycycline also tried
(Source: Kerala Agricultural University)

Vaccination Schedule for Poultry birds

Animal Diseases Age and Booster dose Route Remark
Broilers Ranikhet disease (Newcastle disease) 1-7 days Spray / occulonasal drops Strain F or Bl or LaSota.
Infectious bronchitis 3-4 weeks Spray / drinking water. Strain La Sota.
Infectious bursal disease 18-21 days Spray / drinking water If maternal antibody is low.
Marek’s disease 5-10 days or
18-21 days
Drinking water.  
Broiler and layer breeders Marek’s disease day-1 i/m If the bird s are to be kept for more than 60 days.
Only during epidemic.
RD day-1
3 weeks
  1-7 days Spray/ occulonasal drops. If mesogenic strain.
  3-4 weeks Spray/drinking water
If lentogenic strain (La Sota)
  8 weeks Drinking water Killed vaccine/ mesogenic strain
  16-18 weeks
40th week
Drinking water
Broiler and layer breeders Fowl pox 6 – 8 weeks
18-20 weeks
Wing web s/c or i/m Cell culture vaccine
Fowl cholera 6 weeks
Adult repeat annually
0.5 ml s/c
1 ml s/c
Infectious bronchitis 3 weeks
8 weeks
14-16 weeks
Drinking water/spray


Killed vaccine.
Infectious bursal disease 3 weeks
16 weeks
Drinking water i/m Chicks between 5-7 days can be vaccinated if required with highly attenuated strains.
Killed vaccine
Commercial layers Marek’s disease Day 1 i/m  
Ranikhet disease  1-7 days
3-4 weeks
8 weeks
16-18 weeks
spray/ occulonasal drops/drinking water
spray/drinking water
i/m or s/c  Drinking water
If mesogenic
If lentogenic
Killed vaccine/mesogenic
La Sota strain
Infectious bursal disease 40th week Drinking water  
Infectious bronchitis 3 weeks Drinking water  
Infectious coryza 3 weeks Drinking water Killed vaccine
EDS – 76 3 weeks Drinking water/spray  
ILT 16 weeks i/m  
Duck breeders/ commercial duck Duck plague 9 weeks
14-18 weeks
14 weeks
eye drop
Killed vaccine
Annual vaccination recommended
  Duck hepatitis 2-4 weeks
8 weeks
16 weeks
i/m or s/c
i/m or s/c
i/m or s/c
Foot web
May be repeated 4-5 months interval
  Duck pasteurellosis 9 weeks
1-10 days
20 weeks
i/m For duck pasteurellosis killed vaccine is to be prepared from duck isolates. Dose same as in poultry.
(Source: Kerala Agricultural University)


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