Diagnosing chicken diseases

Written by john lindell
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Chicken diseases can't be diagnosed without first observing the various symptoms they cause. Farmers must be alert for a variety of signs that may then lead to a diagnosis of a specific disease. Symptoms that involve a chicken's feathers can indicate different problems. Chickens that have moist areas beneath their wings will be suspected of having infectious coryza, a bacterial infection that affects the bird's respiratory system. Chickens that pick at their feathers or try to eat their own feathers are most likely suffering from a nutrition deficiency, or even lice.

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Symptoms Involving the Body

A diagnosis of botulism can be helped by witnessing chickens going through spasms that affect the entire body. Paralysis can also mean botulism, but it's also a symptom of Marek's disease, an affliction of younger chickens. Lymphoid leukosis, another viral malady that results in tumours in the lymph system of an adult chicken, can be diagnosed when a chicken becomes paralysed. Coccidosis may be the culprit when a chicken is dehydrated; this disease, caused by microscopic organisms, brings about bouts of anaemia and diarrhoea.

Eye Symptoms

Chickens that suddenly go blind may have a case of avian pox, a viral disease that affects many species of birds. Aspergillosis can also result in blindness, and chickens diagnosed with this deadly fungal disease will also develop lung infections. Chickens that have large, swollen eyes may have mycoplasmosis, another bacterial-related illness (also called sinusitis).

Respiratory Signs

Chicken diseases such as Newcastle disease and bronchitis are diagnosed by observing a number of clinical signs. Coughing, sneezing, discharge from the nostrils, shaking of the head and gasping for breath can indicate a variety of respiratory-related ailments in chickens.

Fowl Cholera

Fowl cholera is a particularly deadly bird disease that's capable of wiping out entire flocks of chickens. Sometimes during an acute instance of this bacterial disease, the first sign of a problem is a number of dead chickens that show no outward signs of disease. However, chickens that begin to show signs of not eating, develop a fever, have diarrhoea and a discharge from the mouth will most likely be diagnosed with fowl cholera.

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