Signs of Illness in Poultry: Exotic Newcastle Disease (END)

What is Exotic Newcastle Disease (END)?

END, also known as virulent Newcastle Disease (vND), is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting all species of birds.

END, also known as virulent Newcastle Disease (vND), is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting all species of birds.

END is one of the most infectious diseases of poultry in the world and is so fatal that many birds die without showing any signs of disease. The death rate of almost 100 percent can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. It can also infect and cause death even in vaccinated birds.

 

What are the signs?

Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) is a deadly viral disease that can affect all species of birds. END spreads quickly and can infect and cause death even in poultry that is vaccinated. An infected bird may show the following signs:

  • Sudden death and increased death loss in flock
  • Sneezing, gasping for air, nasal discharge, coughing
  • Greenish, watery diarrhea
  • Decreased activity, tremors, drooping wings, twisting of the head and neck, circling, complete stiffness
  • Swelling around the eyes and neck

 

How does END spread?

Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) is spread mainly through direct contact between healthy birds and the bodily discharges of infected birds. The disease is transmitted through infected birds' droppings and secretions from the nose, mouth, and eyes. END spreads rapidly among birds kept in a confined space, such as commercially-raised chickens.

Virus-bearing material can be picked up on shoes and clothing and carried from an infected flock to a healthy one. The disease is often spread by vaccination and debeaking crews, manure haulers, rendering truck drivers, feed delivery personnel, poultry buyers, egg service people, and poultry farm owners and employees.

The END virus can survive for several weeks in a warm and humid environment on birds' feathers, manure, and other materials. It can survive indefinitely in frozen material. However, the virus is destroyed rapidly by dehydration and by the ultraviolet rays in sunlight.

 

Practice Backyard Biosecurity

To help prevent the disease from spreading: 

  • Restrict traffic onto and off of your property.
  • Disinfect shoes, clothes, hands, egg trays or flats, crates, vehicles, and tires.
  • Avoid visiting other poultry farms or bird owners. If you do, be sure to change clothes and clean your hands and shoes before entering your own bird area.

 

Vaccines

Vaccination is another tool to protect your birds against END. Your local agricultural extension office, veterinarian, or feed stores that sell vaccines in your area can give vital information on the proper vaccines for your birds. Good health for your birds benefits everyone.

 

Smart Practices When Buying Birds

To help be certain of your new birds are healthy, here are a few simple steps you can follow:

  • Buy from a reputable dealer.
  • Request certification from suppliers that birds were legally imported.
  • Maintain records of all sales and shipments of flocks.
  • Keep new birds separated from your flock for at least 30 days.
  • Keep young and old birds and birds of different species and from different sources apart.

 

Report Sick Birds

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If your birds are sick or dying call your agricultural extension agent, a local veterinarian (call us, River Landings Animal Clinic, at 941-755-4592), or the State Veterinarian, or call the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at 1-866-536-7593 to be in touch with a local contact.


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Signs of Illness in Poultry: Avian Influenza

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What is Avian Influenza (AI)?

Avian influenza viruses can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl, as well as a vast variety of other birds. Migratory waterfowl have proved to be a natural reservoir for the less infectious strains of the disease known as low pathogenicity avian influenza. Avian influenza viruses can be classified into low pathogenicity (LPAI) and higher pathogenicity (HPAI) based on the severity of the illness they cause. HPAI is an extremely infectious and fatal form of the disease that, once established, can spread rapidly from flock to flock. However, some LPAI virus strains are capable of mutating under field conditions into HPAI viruses.

 

Signs of Avian Influenza

  • Sudden death without clinical signs
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Decreased egg production
  • Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing, sneezing
  • Lack of coordination
  • Diarrhea

 

How is Avian Influenza spread?

The disease is spreadable to birds from contact with infected wild birds and their droppings. It is also spreadable from bird to bird direct contact. AI viruses can also be spread by manure, equipment, vehicles, egg flats, crates, and people whose clothing or shoes have come into contact with the virus or virus-infected birds. AI viruses can remain viable at moderate temperatures for long periods in the environment and can survive indefinitely in frozen material.

 

Practice backyard biosecurity

To help prevent disease from spreading:

  • Restrict traffic onto and off of your property.
  • Disinfect shoes, clothing, hands, egg trays or flats, crates, vehicles, and tires.
  • Avoid visiting other poultry farms or bird owners. If you do, be sure to change clothes and wash your hands and shoes before entering your  own bird area.

 

Vaccines

In the United States, vaccination against Avian Influenza is not routine, nor is it our first choice for dealing with an outbreak. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is not common in our country—it is considered an exotic disease in the United States. If HPAI is detected in U.S. poultry, APHIS will work with the States to respond and quickly eliminate it.

While AI vaccines reduce outward signs of the disease in birds, they do not prevent birds from becoming infected. If used, vaccines can help slow down the spread of the viruses to protect healthy birds outside the quarantined area. However, vaccines cannot eliminate the disease itself.

Vaccination is simply a tool we can use as part of our overall eradication strategy, along with many other actions needed to stop an HPAI outbreak: quarantines and animal movement restrictions, emergency euthanasia and depopulation of animals, cleaning and disinfection at affected locations, surveillance to detect any disease spread, and proper biosecurity.

 

Smart Practices When Buying Bird

To help be certain your new birds are healthy, here are a few simple steps you can follow:

  • Buy from a reputable dealer.
  • Request certification from suppliers that birds were legally imported.
  • Maintain records of all sales and shipments of flocks.
  • Keep new birds separated from your flock for at least 30 days.
  • Keep young and old birds and birds of different species and from different sources apart.

 

Report sick birds

defend-the-flock-logo-generic.png

If your birds are sick or dying call your agricultural extension agent, a local veterinarian (call us, River Landings Animal Clinic, at 941-755-4592), or the State Veterinarian, or call the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at 1-866-536-7593 to be in touch with a local contact.

 


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Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for more recipes, articles, and clinic updates delivered to your inbox (here). Or, you can keep up to date by liking and following our Facebook page (here). We also have additional helpful articles under our new Avian category (here).

Poultry Owners: Biosecurity Explained in 6 Simple Steps

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As a poultry owner, you know how important it is to keep your birds healthy. By practicing biosecurity, you can help reduce the chances of your birds being exposed to animal diseases such as avian influenza (AI) or exotic Newcastle disease (END).

"Biosecurity" may not be a common household word. But, for poultry and bird owners it can spell the difference between health and disease. Practicing biosecurity can help keep disease away from your farm, and keep your birds healthy.

Biosecurity: Make it Your Daily Routine

Consistent biosecurity practices are the best way to prevent diseases such as AI and END. The following steps can help you keep your birds healthy:

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Making biosecurity a part of your daily routine while caring for your birds can decrease the chance of END or AI showing up on your doorstep.

Information sourced from the USDA. For a full brochure on biosecurity, read the United States Department of Agriculture's online PDF (here).


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IS YOUR DOG OR CAT OVERWEIGHT?

HOW CAN OWNERS KNOW WHETHER THEIR DOG OR CAT IS OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE?

Photography source: Pet Obesity Prevention

Photography source: Pet Obesity Prevention

Photography source: Pet Obesity Prevention

Photography source: Pet Obesity Prevention

Count and feel for the ribs. You should be able to easily feel/count your pup's ribs when you lightly run your fingers across their side.

Look for the indentation. When you look down on your pet from above, you should see an hourglass figure or an indentation near the midsection. If your pet looks like a blimp from above, it’s carrying extra weight.

Spy that slope. When you view your pet from the side, you should see a slight tuck or upward slope of the tummy. If the abdomen hangs low and drags near the ground, that indicates the most dangerous and biologically active form of fat, abdominal fat, is present.  

 

Photography source: Pet Obesity Prevention

Photography source: Pet Obesity Prevention

IS MY PET AT RISK FOR A MEDICAL PROBLEM DUE TO EXCESS WEIGHT?

Dogs and cats carrying extra fat are at greater risk for developing debilitating diabetes, crippling arthritis, deadly high blood pressure, kidney disease, and many forms of catastrophic cancer. You need to have a frank conversation with your vet to find out if your pet is potentially facing one of these conditions. If so, what can you do to cut those odds? The most important decision you make each day about your pet’s health is what you choose to feed it. Choose wisely; your pet’s life depends on it.

It’s never too late to reduce your pet’s chances of contracting one of these grim disorders. Early recognition and awareness is the best defense against many diseases. Ask the question.


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Common Eye Problems in Dogs

Did you know a dog’s eye can develop more than just cataracs of the eye? Eye conditions have a tendency to worsen progressively, so it is important to recognize and discuss any concerns that you might have about your dog’s eyes with your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

 

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Eyelid Protrusion (Cherry Eye)

A dog has three eyelids. Two are readily visible and an extra one, called the third eyelid, normally hides from view just below the inner corner of the eye. The third eyelid is home to the tear producing gland that is normally hidden. However, some dogs have a congenital weakness of the ligaments that hold it in place. When the ligaments are weakened, the gland pops out of its normal location and looks much like a “cherry” at the inner corner of the eye. Due to it being a condition is due to genetics, both eyes are often affected over time. Treatment of cherry eye is simple— a veterinarian will perform simple surgery to attach the gland back to normal position.

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Corneal Wounds

The surface of the eye is covered by the cornea, which is a clear, skin-like tissue. Much like skin, the cornea can be injured. Lacerations (cuts), punctures, and ulcers are all quite common in dogs. Trauma to the eye is often to blame, like when a dog runs through tall grass and is poked in the eye. In other cases, other problems such as poor tear production or abnormal anatomy can put a dog at risk for corneal damage. A dog with a corneal wound will rub the affected eye and squint due to pain. The eye may also appear red and have excessive drainage. Treatment involves prevention or treatment of infections with antibiotic eye drops or ointments, managing pain, or simply giving the cornea time to heal. In severe cases of corneal wounds, surgery or other treatments may be needed to protect or repair the cornea.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) or Dry Eye

When a dog develops a disease called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye, the tear glands produce fewer tears than what is normal. Tears are important because they remove potentially damaging material from the surface of the eye and nourish corneal tissues. Believe it or not, a lack of tears can cause bigger problems, such as corneal ulcers, chronic drainage of mucus from the eyes, and pain. Treatment in mild cases of KCS can often be managed with frequent application of an artificial tear solution, but medications that stimulate tear production (i.e. cyclosporine) are usually necessary. In severe cases, one option is to perform a surgery that redirects a duct carrying saliva to moisten the eye.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

The conjunctiva are the mucus membranes that cover the inside of a dog’s eyelids, both sides of the third eyelid and some parts of the eyeball itself. Conjunctivitis and Pink Eye are interchangeable terms that simply mean inflammation of the conjunctiva. The symptoms of conjunctivitis include reddened and swollen conjunctiva, eye drainage, and discomfort.

Conjunctivitis is more of a symptom of a disease, not a disease itself. Many conditions in dogs cause conjunctivitis, including physical irritation (like dust or inward growing eyelashes), infections (bacterial and viral) and allergic reactions.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Sterile saline eye washes can be used to flush irritants from the eye. Bacterial eye infections are usually resolved when treated with the appropriate prescribed antibiotic eye drop or ointment. The chances of catching pink eye from your dog is very low, but it makes perfect sense to wash your hands thorough after applying your dog’s eye medications. Make an appointment with your vet if your dog’s conjunctivitis worsens or fails to resolve over the course of a day or two.

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Glaucoma

Production and drainage of fluid is balanced with precision to maintain constant pressure in the eye. Glaucoma occurs when this balance is disrupted and pressure increases. Symptoms include pain, eye redness, increased tear production, a visible third eyelid, corneal cloudiness, dilated pupils, and in advanced cases, an enlarged eye.

Treatment may involve a combination of topical or oral medications that decrease inflammation, absorb fluid from the eye, lower fluid production within the eye and promote drainage of fluid from the eye. In some cases, surgery is also a considerable option. Do not delay in contacting your veterinarian if you are worried your dog may have glaucoma, as it can result in blindness.

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Entropion

Eyelids that roll inwards is what is called entropion. Entropion causes hair to rub on the surface of the eye, resulting in pain, increased tear production, and eventually damage to the cornea. Entropion can develop as a result of chronic squinting due to discomfort or eyelid scarring. It can also be a congenital problem. A veterinarian can temporarily suture the eyelids to a more normal position (eyelid tacking) if entropion has occurred in result of a recoverable condition. Otherwise, there is surgery available to permanently fix the eyelid.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can be hard to spot. It is a condition that causes dogs to gradually become blind over time while their eyes remain to appear normal. The first noticeable symptom of PRA is with difficulty seeing at night. Unfortunately, no effective treatment exists for PRA, but the condition is painless and dogs generally adapt extremely well to becoming blind.

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Cataracts

Cataracts block light from reaching the back of the eye, resulting in poor vision or blindness, depending on severity. Cataracts are often confused with lenticular sclerosis—a normal change for aging dogs that affects a dog’s lenses. Both conditions give the black center of the eye (pupils) a white, grey, or milky appearance. However, one can tell with a standard eye exam performed by your veterinarian. Cataract surgery is available when a dog’s vision is severely compromised, otherwise most dogs adapt very well to ailing vision.


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