1Dixit K. Parasana, 2I. H. Kalyani,3P. M. Makwana

1Ph. D. Scholar,2Professor and Head,3Assistant Professor,
College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Navsari

Good poultry producers watch feed and water consumption andegg production at all times, but more important, they observe normalsounds and actions of the flock. They sense immediatelywhen any of these conditions are abnormal and interpret them assigns of abnormal health. When this happens, it should be assumedthat an infectious disease has gained entry and may betracked elsewhere during the investigation period. In a modernpoultry production system, any disease creates serious disruptionin the economical operation of the farm and the plants processingproducts from it. Serious infectious diseases can create havoc. Thefollowing steps should be followed when disease is suspected.

Look for Non-infectious Conditions

Take precautions against tracking an infectious disease that maybe present, but investigate management errors immediately. Ahigh percentage of so-called disease problems referred to laboratoriesfor diagnosis are noninfectious conditions related to management:beak trimming errors; consumption of litter and trash;feed and water deprivation; chilling of chicks; injury from roughhandling, automatic equipment, or drug injection; electrical failures;cannibalism; smothering; overcrowding; poor arrangementof feeders, waterers, and ventilators; inexpensive low-qualityfeed ingredients; ingredients causing feed refusal; improper particlesize of feed ingredients; and rodent and predator attacks. These are conditions that do not require services of a diagnosticlaboratory. External parasites (mites, lice, and ticks) canbe determined by producers if they examine affected birds.

Quarantine the Flock

In the event that no management factors can be found, the nextstep is to set up a quarantine of the pen, building, farm unit area,or entire farm, depending upon its design and programming. Ifthis emergency was anticipated when the farm was laid out andprogrammed originally, the quarantine will be a minor problem.If the basic principle of “a single age in quarantinable units” wasdisregarded in original farm planning, a disease outbreak can bean economic disaster. Separate caretakers should be establishedfor affected birds or at least sick ones should be visited last.

Submit Specimens or Call a Veterinarian

The owner or caretaker should submit typical specimens to a diagnosticlaboratory or call a veterinarian to visit the farm and establishthe diagnosis. Owners should seek professional diagnosis,rather than trying to hide some disease because of possible publicrecrimination. Veterinarians and caretakers can and shouldhelp dispel this apprehension by maintaining high ethical standardsand refraining from discussing one producer’s problemswith others. Yet, there comes a time when all producers must be apprised of a problem. Service workers frequently are requestedto examine the flock, select specimens for the laboratory, and initiatefirst-aid procedures until the veterinarian can be called orvisited. If so, they should wear protective footwear and clothingwhen they enter the house. No other farm should be visited enroute to the laboratory.

Diagnosis of condition

It is important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. The courseof action will be determined by the nature of the disease. A producershould not procrastinate for any reason when a diseasethreatens, or it may get completely out of hand before a diagnosisis made. It is not always possible to treat a disease or check itsdeleterious effects, but to plan effectively for the future, it is importantto identify any and all diseases that occur. A veterinarianshould also be aware of the owner’s economic plight at suchtimes and render advice and assistance as quickly as informationis available or a judgment can be made.

Special Precautions

In addition to causing serious losses in poultry, some diseases(chlamydiosis, erysipelas, and salmonellosis) are especially hazardousfor humans. When these conditions are suspected or diagnosed,extra precautions must be taken to ensure against humaninfection. The proper government health authorities should benotified of chlamydiosis outbreaks, and all handling and processingpersonnel should be apprised of the disease, hazards, andnecessary precautions.In some states, certain diseases (Mycoplasma infections, avianchlamydiosis, and laryngotracheitis) must be reported immediatelyto the state animal disease control authorities so that properinvestigation and action can be taken to protect the human populationand the poultry industry. Common sense dictates that whena condition suggestive of an exotic disease, such as velogenicviscerotropicNewcastle disease, fowl typhoid, or avian influenza, isencountered, the proper state and federal regulatory authoritiesshould be informed.

Nursing Care

Nursing care plays an important role in the outcome of a diseaseoutbreak. Additional heat should be supplied to young chicks thatbegin huddling because of sickness. Clean and fresh (or medicated)water should be available at close range. Temporary, moreaccessibly located waterers are sometimes necessary during sickness.If water founts normally are located where chickens mustjump onto some raised device or turkeys must cross through hotsunlight to reach them, the sick will not have the energy or initiativeto seek water. They will soon become dehydrated, an earlystep on the road to death.The same principles are true for feed. Sick birds can be encouraged

toeat if the caretaker will proceed through the house,stirring feed and rattling feed hoppers or adding small quantitiesof fresh feed. Some antibiotics appear to stimulate feed consumptionwhen included in the diet; however, any additive thatproves distasteful to the bird should be removed immediately.Sometimes birds become so depressed and moribund that thecaretaker must walk among them frequently to rouse them so thatthey will eat or drink.Hopelessly sick and crippled birds should be killed in a mannerto preclude or control the discharge of blood or exudates

Use of drugs

No drugs should be given until a diagnosis is obtained or a veterinarianconsulted. If the wrong drug is given, it can be a wasteof money, or it may be harmful or even disastrous. If an infectiousdisease is found and corrective drugs are indicated, theyshould be used very carefully according to directions.Strict regulations govern the use of drugs in mixed feeds forfood-producing animals. Feed manufacturers must have FDAclearance to include drugs in mixed feeds. When treated flocksare to be marketed, a specified period (depending on the drugused) must follow cessation of treatment to allow dissipation ofdrug residues from tissues before slaughter. If the flock is producingtable eggs when treated, the drug must be one permittedfor use in laying flocks, or eggs must be discarded during, andfor varying lengths of time after, treatment, which is a costlyalternative.If the flock is producing hatching eggs when it becomes infectedand there is danger that egg transmission of the infectiousagent from dams to offspring may occur (salmonellosis, mycoplasmosis,and avian encephalomyelitis), eggs should not be usedfor hatching until the danger has passed. It should also be kept inmind that in fertile eggs, residues of drugs used to treat breedersoccasionally may cause abnormalities in some embryos.

Disposition of the Flock

The flock should not be moved or handled until it has recovered,unless the move is to a more favorable environment as part of thetherapy. After treatment, if any, has been completed and the flockappears to be completely healthy, it may be marketed or movedto permanent quarters if such a move is part of the managementprogram. Some healthy carriers may remain. If the flock ismoved to another depopulated farm, this will present no problemexcept that occasionally a disease may flare up from stress ofhandling and moving. If the recovered flock is moved to amultiple-age farm, carriers can introduce the disease into susceptibleflocks already there. If the recovered flock is already in permanentquarters having multiple ages, newly introduced flocksmay be exposed and contract the disease, a common occurrenceespecially with respiratory and litter-borne diseases.