VLA Report Highlights Spirochaetosis in Mature Layers

UK - Among the cases in the VLA Monthly Scanning Surveillance Report for November 2009 was avian intestinal spirochaetosis diagnosed in a flock of 59-week-old free-range layers.
calendar icon 15 January 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Commercial Layers and Layer Breeders


Avian intestinal spirochaetosis was diagnosed in a flock of 59-week-old free-range layers submitted with a history of drop in egg production and high cumulative mortality attributed to feather loss, pecking, cannibalism and wasting. Post mortem examination of culled birds revealed regressed ovaries and distended caeca with pale yellow frothy contents from which Brachyspira intermedia was isolated. Spirochaetosis in layers is more often a problem in the early part of lay where it can be associated with production drops, failure to reach peak egg production and failure to gain bodyweight as expected at this age.

Broilers and Broiler Breeders

Spiking Mortality Syndrome

A sharp increase in mortality with one per cent losses in a flock of 17,000, 12-day-old broilers was attributed to spiking mortality syndrome (probable hypoglycaemia). Post-mortem examination revealed congested livers, pale spleens and the presence of very little food in the digestive tract.

Histological demonstration of fine fat droplets in myocardium and kidney, though not specific, is used to support the diagnosis in such cases. As occurs in the condition known as fatty liver and kidney syndrome (FLKS) due to biotin deficiency, there is thought to be a mobilisation of fat to provide an alternative energy source during the hypoglycaemia of spiking mortality.

Enterococcus cecorum

Chronic spondylitis and E. coli septicaemia were diagnosed in a flock of 56-day-old broilers submitted with a history of poor performance. Post mortem examination in one bird revealed a large ventral swelling of the spine centred on the body of the free thoracic vertebra T4. Bacterial cultures produced good growth of Enterococcus–like colonies with biochemical features consistent with Enterococcus cecorum.

Staphylococcal arthritis

Lameness due to Staphylococcus aureus arthritis and tenosynovitis were seen in four flocks of broiler breeders aged seven days and 14, 24 and 28 weeks. In addition, traumatic tendon ruptures in the absence of infectious tenosynovitis were diagnosed in the 28-week-old flock and E. coli egg peritonitis and septicaemia in the 24-week-old flock.



Histomoniasis (blackhead) was diagnosed by RVC in an 18-week-old Kelly Bronze turkey, which was found dead. It was the fourth turkey out of 400 that had died in a month, and the remaining birds were well. Typhlitis and liver necrosis were the major post mortem findings. The liver was markedly enlarged and friable, with numerous focal to coalescing cream lesions. The caecum of one bird was dilated with firm necrotic material.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on the diseases mentioned in this article by clicking here.
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.