Fowl cholera

Occurrence: Worldwide. More prevalent in late summer, autumn and winter.
Species affected: Turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, birds of prey.
Age affected: Young to adults.
Causes: Gram-negative, spore-forming bacterium- Pasturella multocida is spread by other livestock, cats, dogs and rodents. Respiratory spread and cannibalism are important. It is a stress disease occurring at point of lay and with seasonal change. Peractute death without signs can occur. Acute disease is manifest as high fever, thirst, cyanosis, anorexia and ruffled feathers. Chronic symptoms are torticollis (backwards retraction of head and neck), emaciation, severe mortality, enlargement of wattles, combs, legs, footpads and wing joints. Swollen sinuses, hocks and joints, dehydration, respiratory distress, drop in egg production and hatchability can also occur.

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Causes

Turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese and birds of prey can be affected by peracute to chronic fowl cholera. Young adults are most susceptible. It is caused by a gram-negative, non-spore-forming rod, bipolar bacteria, -I-Pasturella multocida-/I-. Variation in pathogenicity occurs between isolates. 

Mode of transmission

It is spread is by rodents, cats, dogs, insects, horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. Respiratory spread and cannibalism are important. Fomites include equipment and feedbags.

Clinical signs

Peracute death without signs can occur. Acute disease causes high fever, thirst, cyanotic, anorexia, and ruffled feathers. Chronic disease causes torticollis (retraction of the head and neck backwards), otitis (ear infection) emaciation, severe mortality, enlargement of wattles, combs, legs, footpads and wing joints and peritonitis.
Swollen sinuses and hocks, dehydration, respiratory distress, swollen joints, drop in egg production, fertility, and hatchability can also occur. Males usually suffer more than females.

Fowl cholera

Postmortem lesions

Peracute disease produces no lesions.
Haemorrhage on heart and fat, conjunctivitis, subepicardial and subserosa haemorrhage, congested breast, and septicemia can occur with chronic form.
Free yolk in abdominal cavity, liver-yellow brown streaks, "egg yolk" peritonitis, consolidation of lungs, mucous in the mouth and nasal passages, and caseous exudate in the palatine cleft (upper part of the mouth) may also be seen.

Treatment & control

Vaccination of pullets with live and/or killed vaccines. Antibiotics in feed or water.

Special note

It is a stress disease occurring with seasonal change and at point of lay. Disease occurs in swine and cattle; cats spread the disease; and several serotypes make vaccination difficult.