Disease Management


Disease control guidelines Diseases are likely where larger numbers of birds are reared in confinement. Therefore, a planned programme for the prevention and control of diseases in the poultry houses is a crucial factor in profitable poultry farming. The following general principles are to be followed.
  • Clean the house at least two weeks before housing a new batch of birds.
  • Remove all old litter and equipment. Clean the ceiling, walls and floor. Thorough sweeping and washing followed by treatment with disinfectants are necessary.
  • Wash, disinfect and dry the equipment before placing in the house.
  • Clean the light reflectors, replace burnt out bulbs and check electric connections.
  • Keep all wild birds, rats, dogs and cats out of the farm.
  • Do not allow visitors into the poultry houses.
  • Burn or bury all dead birds immediately.
  • Clean the waterers and feeders daily with 1% ammoniacal solution.
  • Change foot-bath at the entrance of poultry house daily.
  • Adhere to strict sanitation in and around the poultry house.
  • Remove wet litter immediately.
  • Look for signs of ill health in the flock every time you enter the poultry house.
  • Deworm the birds as and when required after peak production.
  • If any disease is suspected, immediately obtain accurate diagnosis and follow recommendations of the poultry specialist consulted.

Fowl cholera

Poultry, Turkey and Duck

Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment

In acute cases birds may die without showing any symptom. In less severe form breathing rapid- open beak, feather ruffled, comb and wattle become cyanotic. There may be yellowish diarrhoea. In chronic form swollen comb and wattle, joints hot and painful. In duck acute haemorrhagic enteritis and oozing of blood from oral cavity noticed. Sudden death.


Blood smear from ailing bird, spleen, liver, lung etc. from sacrificed or dead bird in separate cover (on ice), long bones from putrefied carcass in charcoal packing. In chronic case smear from wattle

Demonstration of orga- nism in blood smear, isolation of organism from internal organs, isolation of the organism from long bone, in chro- nic case it is difficult to demonstrate the organism in blood. Smear from wattle is used, biological method using pigeon


Treatment: Sulpha drugs and TMP combination, Enrofloxacin are effective. Drugs like Flamequin, Ampicillin, Chloramphenicol, Chlortetracycline and Novobiocin are also used.
1. Killed vaccine
2. Formalinised vaccines with adjuvant:
1 ml s/c
Salmonella pullorum)

Ducks & Turkey

Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment

Chicks hatched from infected egg, moribund or dead chick may be seen in the incubator. Sometimes disease is not seen for 5-10 days. Peak mortality during second or third week. Affected birds may exhibit a shrill cry when voiding excreta, which is white or greenish brown. Infection spread within the flock for a long time without any distinct signs. Reduction in egg production, fertility and hatchability.


Ailing bird or freshly dead birds, or spleen, liver and intestine on ice from dead birds.


Isolation and identification of organism from diseased birds, whole blood agglutination using coloured antigen (not for turkey), tube agglutination test, ELISA, post mortem lesions. In adult, abnormal ovary with misshapen, discoloured ova, pedunculated with thickened wall.


No treatment is likely to effect complete elimination of carrier from infected birds.
Sulphadiazine, Sulphamerazine, sulphapyrazine, Sulphamethazine are the most effective in chicken (not in turkey poults). Furazolidone is effective. Also chloramphenicol, colistin and apromycin are effective. No vaccination practised and all positive birds may be disposed off by slaughter. Birds recently vaccinated with
S.gallinarum (9R) may give low titre.
Since transovarian transmission of organism is there, only eggs from salmonella free flock should be used for hatching.


Paratyphoid infection of birds with Salmonella other than
S. Pullorum and
S. gallinarum

Poultry, Turkey, Ducks and Goose

Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment

Similar to pullorum


Two ailing birds
Internal organs in sterile vials, by special messenger on ice.


Isolation and identification of organism, clinical observation and autopsy findings, serological tests


Furazlidone, injectable gentamicin, spectinomycin, and sodium nalidixate are the drugs of choice. Bacterin and attenuated live vaccines are used.


(E. coli)


Poultry, Turkey, Duck

Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment

In acute form, symptoms resemble fowl cholera or fowl typhoid.


Ailing bird or internal organs in sterile containers through special messenger on ice


Symptoms, isolation and identification of organism, PM lesions, pericarditis, peritonitis, air saculitis, perihepatitis, septicaemic carcass with liver, spleen, lung, kidney dark and congested.


Faecal contamination of hatching eggs reduced by fumigating or disinfecting eggs within 2 hours of laying. Antibiotic administration after studying the antibiogram. Furazolidone is fed (0.04%) for 10 days and chlortetracycline in water (600 mg/5 L) for 5 days. Inactivated vaccine from 02:K1 and 078: K SO strains are effective. For ducks, inactivated vaccine prepared from 078 strain is effective.


Infectious coryza   (Haemophiluspara gallinarum)


Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment
Affects upper respiratory tract, sero mucoid nasal and occular discharges and facial oedema, conjunctivitis with closed eyes.

Ailing bird or trachea and lungs in sterile containers on ice.


Isolation and identification


Sulpha drugs plus TMP, streptomycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, quinolone 2nd   generation.


Erysipelas       (Erysipeolothrix insidiosa)


Turkey & Chicken

Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment
Sudden death, especially in toms. Cutaneous lesions may be seen. Affected males have swollen discoloured turgid snood and dewlap.

Ailing bird, piece of liver, spleen in sterile vials on ice, bones of putrefied birds in charcoal, impression smears (from liver, spleen and heart blood smear.


Sudden loss of adult turkey in flesh with septicaemic lesions, isolation and identification of organism, bone marrow culture in putrefied carcass, agglutination test.


Crystalline penicillin is the drug of choice. Erythromycin and broad-spectrum antibiotics are also effective. Aluminium hydroxide absorbed whole cell of E.insidiosa (serotype 2) is effective.


Chronic     respiratory disease (CRD) Mycoplasma gallisepticum


Chicken and

Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment

Nasal discharge, shaking of head, coughing, swelling of the orbital sinuses and tracheal rales.
Loss of weight, reduction in egg production and fertility, mortality low.


Ailing bird or trachea, air sac, turbinates and lung in sterile container from dead bird (on ice).


Symptoms, isolation and identification of organism, rapid serum plate test, HI test, ELISA


Chlortetracycline, tylosin, streptomycin, erythromycin or lincomycin can be tried. But some strains are resistant to tylosin, streptomycin, erythromycin or spiromycin. Dipping of egg prior to hatching in tylosin or chlortetracycline is advised for controlling the infection.

  • MG bacterin with oil emulsion adjuvant.
  • Live vaccine F strain of MG can be used.


Gangrenous dermatitis (Clostridium septicum,
Cl. perfringes
type A S. aureus singly or in combination)



Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment

Varying degree of depression, incoordination, leg weakness, ataxia, dark moist areas of skin devoid of feathers, overlying wings, breast, abdomen and leg, extensive blood tinged oedema with or without gas is present beneath the affected skin.


Ailing birds, swab collected from affected area.


Clinical symptoms and lesions, isolation and identification of organism


No treatment is completely successful. Chlortetracycline, Oxytetracycline, Bacitracin, penicillin, copper sulphate in drinking water. Furaxone in feed


Ornithosis (
Chlamydia psittaci)

Parrots and other psittacine birds, domestic poultry, turkey and ducks.

Transmissible to man


Important symptoms Specimens to be collected Diagnosis Control / Treatment

Ruffled plumage, nasal discharge, watery greenish diarrhoea, pasting of feathers, wasting of pectoral muscles, nervous symptoms, respiratory symptoms.


Two ailing birds, impression smears from cut surfaces of liver, spleen, air sac impression smears


Clinical symptoms, P.M.findings, microscopical examination, impression smear, after modified ZN staining isolation and identification of the organism, CFT.


Broad-spectrum antibiotics, chlortetracycline 500-800 g/tonne of feed for 3 weeks. Doxycycline also tried.


Disinfectants and their use
  1. Lysol: Used as a 1-2% solution. Effective general disinfectant, suitable for instrument; poultry equipments, foot-bath etc;
  2. Lime (CaOH powder): An inexpensive general disinfectant can be used as a white wash to walls. 2-5% solution will destroy most pathogenic organisms and their spores. Highly corrosive to skin.
  3. Bleaching powder: May be used as floor disinfectant in empty houses.
  4. Phenols (Cresol): Less toxic but costly. Usually used as a 2-4% solution for disinfecting poultry houses and equipments.

Withdrawal times of drugs used in chicken

Name of drug Action Withdrawal time (days)
Erythromycin phosphate
Estradiol monopalmitate
Gentamicin sulphate
Penicillin powder (buffered)
Streptomycin sulphate

      ---data not available
References Kerala Agricultural University. 2001. Package of Practices- Recommendations: Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Kerala Agricultural University, Trichur. .