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Dissecting Aneurysm, Aortic Rupture

Extracted From:
A Pocket Guide to
Poultry Health
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By Paul McMullin
© 2004
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A complex, genetic condition of turkeys linked to male sex and high growth rate. It has been suggested that degenerative changes in the wall of the artery and copper deficiency may be factors. A sudden noise or other cause of excitement can lead to an 'outbreak', presumably due to a sudden increase in blood pressure.


  • Sudden death with no warning signs, birds found on breast or side.
  • Skin pale.
  • Possibly blood in the mouth.

Post-mortem lesions

  • Carcase anaemic.
  • Abdominal cavity full of blood.
  • Haemorrhages in lungs, kidneys, leg muscles, pericardial sac.
  • Rupture of major blood vessel at base of heart or by the kidneys.
  • A longtitudinal split of the abdominal aorta is the most common lesion.


History and lesions.


None currently licensed. Reserpine, a tranquilizer, was included in feed at 1 ppm for 3-5 days to reduce blood pressure. Aspirin at 250 ppm in feed or water may be of benefit.


Limit feed in birds of 16+ weeks. Reserpine in diet of birds of 4+ weeks (no longer licensed in the UK).

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