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Aspergillosis (Brooder Pneumonia)
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Aspergillosis has been observed in almost all birds and animals, including man. The disease is observed in one of two forms; acute outbreaks with high morbidity and high mortality in young birds, and a chronic condition affecting adult birds. It is more of a problem in turkeys than in chickens.

The condition is caused by Aspergillus fumigatus, a mold or fungus-type organism. Occasionally other types of molds are involved. These organisms are present in the environment of all poultry. They grow readily on many substances such as litter, feed, rotten wood and other similar materials.

The bird comes in contact with the organisms through contaminated feed, litter or premises. The disease is not contagious and does not spread from one bird to another. Most healthy birds can withstand repeated exposure to these organisms. Inhalation of large amounts of the infectious form of the mold or reduced resistance of the bird apparently results in infection. In adult turkeys, the disease more often affects the male.

In the acute form in young birds, main symptoms are gasping, sleepiness, loss of appetite and sometimes convulsions and death. Occasionally the organism invades the brain, causing paralysis or other forms of nervous symptoms. The more chronic form in older birds usually results in loss of appetite, gasping or coughing and a rapid loss of body weight. Mortality is usually low and only a few birds are affected at one time.

The disease produces hard nodular areas in the lungs and an infection of the air sacs. Sometimes the air sac lesions are similar to those produced by infectious sinusitis or CRD. In some birds, colonies of mold growth can be seen on the air sac membranes.

Diagnosis is usually made from history, symptoms and lesions. It may be necessary to base diagnosis on microscopic lesions.

The disease can usually be prevented by avoiding moldy litter, feed or premises. There is no treatment for the affected flock. Cleaning and disinfecting the equipment is often helpful.

 

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The items listed below provide links to MCES resources available on the world-wide-web. Specific information on poultry related topics that is not available through these sites can be requested from Mississippi State University; Poultry Science Department; Box 9665; Mississippi State, MS 39762 or by e-mail at poultry@dept.msstate.edu.