Health

News 2858 views update:Mar 9, 2016

Likely cause of spotty liver in layers identified

Research has isolated a type of campylobacter bacteria that may cause spotty liver disease in chickens, offering the hope that more tailored treatment for the condition may soon become available.

UK veterinarian Tim Crawshaw was able to identify a novel bacteria strain in the liver of laying hens in five separate outbreaks of spotty liver. He subsequently was able to grow the campylobacter in-vitro, something that has proved a challenge for scientists in the past.

Similar degradation

When this campylobacter was experimentally administered to other poultry, their livers showed similar degradation to spotty liver. This was taken as strong evidence that the specific strains were the cause of the disease.

Crawshaw was working for the Animal and Plant Health Agency while completing the research.

Findings to play key role in future control

He said: "We are very excited to have identified a likely cause of spotty liver disease in chickens after many years of research. We believe this finding has the potential to play a key role in control of the disease in future."

The next stage, added Crawshaw, would be to confirm the bacteria causes the disease in layers in peak lay, with a view to identifying effective treatments. The ultimate outcome could be a vaccine that creates immunity against the condition.

Source: Poultry World

Jake Davies

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