ThePoultrySite Quick Disease Guide
Duck Viral Hepatitis
A Pocket Guide to
By Paul McMullin
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A viral disease of ducks occurring worldwide and previously a scheduled disease in UK. Morbidity is around 100% and mortality 0-95%.
The disease is transmitted by infected ducks and other waterfowl and spreads rapidly, recovered birds carrying the virus for 8 weeks. The infective agent, a picornavirus may also survive for ten weeks in brooders and five weeks in faeces. A different picornavirus causes a similar condition in North America.
- Sudden death.
- Death in good condition.
- Fall on side, paddling of legs, arching of back, rapid deterioration and death, often in opisthotonus.
- Liver swollen.
- Punctate/diffuse haemorrhages.
- Kidneys and spleen swollen.
- Microscopically - focal necrosis, bile duct proliferation and inflammation.
History, lesions, SN serology, isolation in CE (causes stunting of 9 day embryo).
Differentiate from Duck plague (viral enteritis), Duck septicaemia (anatipestifer), coccidiosis, Newcastle disease, Influenza and a 'Type II Variant' hepatitis caused by Astrovirus.
Antiserum, 0.5 ml serum of recovered birds given intramuscularly.
Vaccination and/or antiserum, breeder vaccination. Live, only slightly attenuated vaccine is applied at day old by foot web stab and may be repeated in breeding birds to provide maternal immunity.