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Enteric Diseases of Poultry with Special Attention to Clostridium perfringens



The enteric health of growing poultry is imperative to success of the production. The basic role of poultry production is turning feed stuffs into meat. Any changes in this turning process, due to mechanical, chemical or biological disturbance of digestive system (enteric disorders) is mostly accompanied with high economic losses due to poor performance, increased mortality rates and increased medication costs. The severity of clinical signs and course of the disorders are influenced by several factors such as management, nutrition and the involved agent(s). Several pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites) are incriminated as possible cause of enteric disorders either alone (mono-causal), in synergy with other micro-organisms (multi-causal), or with non-infectious causes such as feed and /or management related factors. In addition, excessive levels of mycotoxins and biogenic amines in feed lead to enteric disorders. Also factors such as high stocking density, poor litter conditions, poor hygiene and high ammonia level and other stressful situation may reduce the resistance of the birds and increases their susceptibility to infections. Under field conditions, however, it is difficult to determine whether the true cause of enteric disorders, is of infectious or non-infectious origin. In recent years and since the ban of use of antimicrobial growth promoters in several countries the incidence of intestinal disorders especially those caused by clostridial infection was drastically increased. The present review described in general the several factors involved in enteric disorders and summarized the available literatures about Clostridium perfringens infection in poultry.
Pakistan Veterinary Journal
ISSN: 0253-8318 (PRINT), 2074-7764 (ONLINE)
Accessible at:
Enteric Diseases of Poultry with Special Attention to Clostridium perfringens
Hafez Mohamed Hafez*
Institute of Poultry Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Free University Berlin, Königsweg, 14163 Berlin, Germany
*Corresponding author:
October 10, 2010
April 18, 2011
April 21, 2011
Key words:
Clostridium perfringens
Enteric diseases
Necrotic enteritis
The enteric health of growing poultry is imperative to success of the production.
The basic role of poultry production is turning feed stuffs into meat. Any changes in
this turning process, due to mechanical, chemical or biological disturbance of
digestive system (enteric disorders) is mostly accompanied with high economic
losses due to poor performance, increased mortality rates and increased medication
costs. The severity of clinical signs and course of the disorders are influenced by
several factors such as management, nutrition and the involved agent(s). Several
pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites) are incriminated as possible cause of
enteric disorders either alone (mono-causal), in synergy with other micro-organisms
(multi-causal), or with non-infectious causes such as feed and /or management
related factors. In addition, excessive levels of mycotoxins and biogenic amines in
feed lead to enteric disorders. Also factors such as high stocking density, poor litter
conditions, poor hygiene and high ammonia level and other stressful situation may
reduce the resistance of the birds and increases their susceptibility to infections.
Under field conditions, however, it is difficult to determine whether the true cause
of enteric disorders, is of infectious or non-infectious origin. In recent years and
since the ban of use of antimicrobial growth promoters in several countries the
incidence of intestinal disorders especially those caused by clostridial infection was
drastically increased. The present review described in general the several factors
involved in enteric disorders and summarized the available literatures about
Clostridium perfringens infection in poultry.
©2011 PVJ. All rights reserved
To Cite This Article: Hafez HM, 2011. Enteric diseases of poultry with special attention to Clostridium perfringens.
Pak Vet J, 31(3): 175-184.
The basic role of poultry production is turning feed
stuffs into meat. Broilers and meat turkeys are very
efficient at both growth and feed conversion rate. Any
slight alteration from the optimal condition is mostly
accompanied by disruption of the growth process and all
over performance. To reach the maximal potential of
development, considerable demands should be placed on
good intestinal health.
Enteric disorders are one of the most important
groups of diseases they affect poultry and are continuing
to cause high economic losses in the many areas world-
wide due to increased mortality rates, decreased weight
gain, increased medication costs, and increased feed
conversion rates. Several pathogens (viruses, bacteria and
parasites) are incriminated as possible causes of enteric
disorders either alone (mono-causal), in synergy with
different other microorganisms (multi-causal) or with
non-infectious causes such as feed and /or management
related factors (Table 1). Under field conditions, however,
it is difficult to determine weather the true cause of enteric
disorders in poultry is of infectious or non-infectious
origin (Hafez, 2001).
Since the first report of Moore et al. (1946), it is
generally known, that supplementation of poultry feed
with antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) improves
performance of livestock. The effect of AGP on gut flora
results in improvement of digestion, better absorption of
nutrients, and a more stable balance in the microbial
population. As consequence this is accompanied with
reduced intestinal disorders. However, AGP can also
increase the prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria.
Based on “Precautionary Principle” and experiences
made in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the
Netherlands, the EU has decided to ban the use of growth-
promoting antibiotics in feed of food producing animals
completely by January 2006. The first step was taken in
Pak Vet J, 2011, 31(3): 175-184.
1997 by the ban of avoparcin, followed by spiramycin,
tylosin phosphate, zinc bacitracin and virginiamycin in
1998 and carbadox and olaquindox in 1999. Field
observations in several countries in Europe showed that
poultry industry faced several problems after the ban of
AGPs. The impact of the ban has been seen on the
performances (body weight and feed conversion rate) as
well as on the rearing husbandry (wet litter and ammonia
level), animal welfare problem (foot pad dermatitis) and
general health issues on the birds (enteric disorders due to
dysbacteriosis and clostridial infections) (Hafez, 2008).
The present paper reviews the currently most
important causes of enteric disorders of poultry and their
economic impacts with special attention to clostridial
Table 1: Some possible causes of enteric disorders in poultry
Non - Infectious Infectious
Feed Viral agents
Structure Reo, Astro, Entero, Rota,
Palatability Coronavirus enteritis, HE
Energy content ND, Influenza A
Pellet quality Bacterial agents
Management Salmonellas, E. coli,
Available feed space Clostridia
Available water space Mycotic agents
Distribution of feeders Candida
Distribution of waterers Parasites
Air quality Coccidia, Histomonas,
Temperature Hexamitia, Ascaridia
Stocking density
Non-infectious factors involved in intestinal disorders
Enteric health and nutrition are closely related. Poor
enteric health can adversely affect food digestion, gut
motility and nutrient absorption by several means.
Likewise, poor nutrition and feed quality can either
increase the bird’s susceptibility to enteric disorders or
directly cause them (Ferket, 1996; Hafez, 1998).
Nutritional factors that influence gut health include feed
intake, palatability, feed ingredient quality, feed
formulation and pellet quality. In addition, mistakes in
feeding technique, the amount of fibre in the feed, the
content and quality of the raw materials as well as sudden
feed changes or restriction, can result in changes in the
intestinal flora and/or in the enzymatic activity which lead
to digestive disorders (Nixey, 1989; Kaldhusdal and
Skjerve, 1996; D’Mello, 1997; Corless and Sell, 1999;
Annett et al., 2002; Batal and Parsons, 2002; Kocher,
2003; McReynolds et al., 2004). Also, excessive levels of
mycotoxins and biogenic amines in feed lead to enteric
disorders (Smith and Hamilton, 1970; Burditt et al., 1983;
Brown et al., 1992; Dwivedi and Burns, 1986; Hoerr,
Feed contains a little dust; however, excess dust can
adversely affect the palatability and lead to reduction of
feed intake. Badly stored feed can contain fungal spores,
and fat may go rancid which results in reduction of the
feed intake and may negatively affect the content of some
vitamins in the feed (Dhand et al., 1998; FAO, 2004).
Inadequate feeder space and false distribution can result in
competition and stronger birds dominating the feeder with
a consequent variation in feed intake within the flock.
Feed can contain undesirable substances such as
mycotoxins, which adversely affect the immune system,
increase the susceptibility of the birds to infectious
diseases and cause poor response to vaccine (Uraguchi
and Myamazaki, 1978; Campbell et al., 1981; Burns and
Dwivedi, 1986; El-Karim et al., 1991; D’Mello et al.,
1993, D’Mello and MacDonald, 1998; Devegowda et al.,
1998). Proper adjustment of feeder is a factor that should
receive constant attention (Hafez, 1998).
Management and environmental factors
Good rearing management is the starting point for
healthy, productive and profitable poultry production in
agreement with animal welfare. Rearing management
mean all factors which influence the birds health include
several factors such as house structure, climatic conditions
(ventilation, temperature, litter condition), stocking
density, feed and water supply, hygienic condition as well
as the knowledge’s and qualification of the stockman.
These factors affect each other and can promote or inhibit
the health condition of the flock. In aim to achieve desired
performance results, managers of turkey flocks should
integrate good environment, husbandry, nutrition and
disease control programmes (Sundrum, 1995; Hafez,
1996; 1998). The rearing management must be directed to
satisfy the bird’s requirements, to promote the production
and to prevent diseases condition (Morgen and Avens,
1985). Any disturbance will cause stress, which will
reduce the resistance of the birds, increase their
susceptibility to infections and reduce their immune-
response to vaccines (Sainsbury, 1992; Hafez, 1998).
Infectious diseases
Several infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria,
fungus and parasites are involved in intestinal disorders
(Fig. 1). These infectious agents can introduce and spread
in poultry farms by different routes. It occurs by vertical
and/or horizontal route. At early days of age the main
disease problems are related to vertically transmitted
infections such as salmonella, E. coli and improper
hatchery management (Hafez, 1999; Hafez, 2005;
Bermudez and Stewart-Brown, 2008). Those and other
infectious agents can also be transmitted horizontally
(laterally) by direct contact between infected and non-
infected susceptible birds, and through indirect contact
with contaminated feed, water, equipment, environment
and dust through ingestion or inhalation (Hafez, 1996;
Bermudez and Stewart-Brown, 2008).
Infections with Clostridium perfringens
Infections with Clostridium perfringens in poultry
can cause several clinical manifestations and lesions
include necrotic enteritis, necrotic dermatitis,
cholangiohepatitis as well as gizzard erosion. However,
subclinical infection can take place too. In addition, C.
perfringens type A has been showed to cause food
poisoning in humans (Løvland and Kaldhusdal, 2001;
McClane et al., 2006; Novoa-Garrido et al., 2006).
Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive, non-
motile, spore-forming anaerobic bacterium which is
widespread in soils, feed, litter and the intestinal tract of
Pak Vet J, 2011, 31(3): 175-184.
diseased and healthy birds (Char et al., 1986; Frame and
Bickford, 1986; Gazdzinski and Julian, 1992; Branton et
al., 1997). The optimum growth occurs within
temperature range of 12-50°C and pH between 6.0 and 7.0
(Adams and Moss, 1995). Under optimal conditions,
4347°C, C. perfringens grows extremely rapidly, with a
generation time of 8-10 min, and growth is accompanied
by abundant gas production (Bryant and Stevens, 1997).
The bacterial spores are very resistant to heat, desiccation,
acids and many chemical disinfectants (Willis, 1977).
C. perfringens is divided into 5 biotypes A, B, C, D,
and E based on the synthesis of four major lethal toxins:
alpha, beta, epsilon, and iota. Along with these four major
toxins, enterotoxin (CPE) and beta2 (CPB2) toxins
produced by C. perfringens are considered as important
toxins for enteric diseases (McDonel, 1986; Songer, 1996;
Waters et al., 2003, Smedley et al., 2004, McClane et al.,
2006). However, it is not clear whether CPE and CPB2
are involved in C. perfringens-associated avian enteric
diseases (Crespo et al., 2007).
The infections in poultry are mostly caused by C.
perfringens type A, and to a lesser extent by type C
(Songer and Meer, 1996; Engström et al., 2003). Because
C. perfringens type A is highly prevalent in the intestines
of healthy animals, controversy exists about its real
pathogenic role (Smedley et al., 2004; McClane et al.,
2006). Additionally, it was shown that strains isolated
from necrotic enteritis outbreaks did not produce more
alpha toxin compared to isolates from the gut of clinically
healthy broilers (Gholamiandehkordi et al., 2006).
Timbermont et al. (2009) examined the ability of C.
perfringens isolates from both healthy and diseased
poultry, and from calf hemorrhagic enteritis cases,
producing different concentrations of alpha toxin in vitro,
to induce necrotic enteritis in broilers. The obtained
results revealed that induction of necrotic lesions in the
broiler gut is not associated with the ability to produce
alpha toxin in vitro. Moreover, the results also suggest
that the virulence of C. perfringens strains is to some
extent host specific since two C. perfringens strains
isolated from calf hemorrhagic enteritis were not able to
produce necrotic lesions in chickens.
Keyburn et al. (2008) were able to identify a novel
toxin (netB) in a C. perfringens type A strains isolated
from chickens suffering from necrotic enteritis. According
to the authors this novel toxin is the first definitive
virulence factor to be identified in avian C. perfringens
strains capable of causing necrotic enteritis. However,
netB strain could be also found in healthy chickens and
turkeys (Gad et al., 2011a) as well as in other animal
species such bovine (Martin, 2010). On the hand, Martin
(2010) reported that the majority (58%) of chickens with
NE were caused by C. perfringens isolates that were NetB
positive. Under experimental condition they found that
only strains that possess NetB were capable of producing
NE regardless of the source of the isolate. NetB negative
strains including those isolated from cases of NE were
unable to produce NE in the disease model. Martin and
Smyth (2009) also found a strong correlation between the
detection of the cpb2 gene and netb gene. However, when
interpreting the results it has to be kept in mind that the
presence of the gene of a toxin does not necessarily mean,
that the toxin is produced, as it was shown for netb toxin
(Abildgaard et al., 2010) or cpb2 (Crespo et al.,2007).
Necrotic enteritis (NE)
NE is an acute disease caused by Clostridium
perfringens when proliferates to high numbers in the
small intestine and produces toxins responsible for
damaging the intestinal lining (Long and Truscott, 1976;
Shane et al., 1985). It was firstly described by Parish
(1961). The disease has been observed in several domestic
and wild birds world wide. Recently several reviews were
published (Van Immerseel et al., 2004; Williams, 2005;
Wilson et al., 2005; McDevitt et al., 2006; Opengart,
2008). Beside clinically manifested disease, subclinical
infections may take place and are mostly accompanied
with reduction of performance.
Mode of infection
The most important source of infection in poultry
appears to be contaminated feed, litter, water and the
environment (Wijewanta and Seneviratna, 1971;
Komnenov et al., 1981; Craven et al., 2001a). In addition,
some reports about the possible vertical transmission have
been published (Köhler et al., 1974a, b; Shane et al.,
1984; Craven et al., 2001b, 2003). Recently, Martin
(2010) were able to demonstrate under experimental
condition, that factors such as co-infection with Eimeria
species, genotype of chicken and the strain of C.
perfringens were the most critical factors involved in
disease development, while other factors such as age of
chickens, contact with litter and protein content of the diet
played a lesser role.
Clinical signs and lesions
After experimental infection, the first mild clinical
signs are evident approximately 24 to 36 hours after
administration of a pure C. perfringens culture to broiler
chickens (Bains, 1968; Helmboldt and Bryant, 1971;
Balauca et al., 1976; Al-Sheikhly and Truscott, 1977;
Balauca, 1978). The clinical signs appear suddenly;
apparently healthy birds may become acutely depressed
and die within hours (Long, 1973; Tsai and Tung, 1981;
Shane et al., 1985). Mortality ranges between 2 and 10%.
Affected birds show ruffled feathers, marked depression,
in-appetence, tendency to huddle, watery droppings and
diarrhoea (Long, 1973; Porter, 1998; Gazdzinski and
Julian, 1992).
The presence of C. perfringens in the intestinal tract
or inoculation of the animals with high doses of C.
perfringens, however, does generally not lead to the
development of necrotic enteritis. One or several
predisposing factors may be required to elicit the clinical
signs and lesions (Shane et al., 1984; Cowen et al., 1987;
Kaldhusdal et al., 1999). It appears that some
dysfunctions of the alimentary tract are necessary
predisposing cause of infection. Intestinal stasis, intestinal
distension, coccidiosis, salmonellosis, crop mycosis and
haemorrhagic enteritis (HE) may predispose the birds to
infection (Al-Sheikhly and Al-Saieg, 1980; Shane et al.,
1985; Baba et al., 1992, Williams, 2005). Factors
predisposing the intestinal tract to overgrowth by
clostridia organisms may also be the consumption of diets
high in energy, protein and fish meal as well as the
Pak Vet J, 2011, 31(3): 175-184.
consumption of high fibre litter and wheat based diet
(Branton et al., 1987; 1997; Kaldhusdal and Skjerve,
1996; Ficken and Wages, 1997; Kocher, 2003). Panneman
(2000) demonstrated that the proximal intestine of normal
birds has very low levels of bacteria, whereas birds
affected with dysbacteriosis have substantially higher
bacterial counts. Clostridium spp. has been shown to
contribute to this overgrowth. Dysbacteriosis is defined as
the presence of a qualitatively and/or quantitatively
abnormal flora in the small intestine causing a clinical
disorder and/or malabsorption. It is seen in broilers after
21 days of age with wet faeces and a reduction in feed
intake (Fabri, 2004). Furthermore, Siegel et al. (1993)
reported that genetic susceptibility could be an additional
factor, which can influence the course of infection, since a
significant difference in mortality rate between different
major histocompatibility complex genotypes was
observed. An outbreak of necrotic enteritis occurred in
chickens that were B13B13 or B21B21 at the MHC in
sublines of lines selected for high (HA) and low (LA)
antibody response to sheep erythrocytes. Percentage
mortality and hen-day egg production, although similar
for both background genomes, were different for MHC
genotypes. Mortality was 6% for B21B21 and 15% for
B13B13 types. Although hen-day egg production for both
types declined from about 76 to 50%, the decrease
occurred earlier but recovery of survivors was faster in
B13B13 than in B21B21 pullets (Siegel et al., 1993).
On autopsy dehydration is the most common finding.
Breast muscles are dark red and gizzards are full of litter.
Severe inflammation in the duodenum and jejunum is the
most predominant finding, but in some instances the entire
length of the intestinal tract is involved (Bains, 1968;
Helmboldt and Bryant, 1971; Long et al., 1974; Tsai and
Tung 1981; Ficken and Berkhoff, 1989). The intestine is
distended thin walled and filled with gas and contains
dark offensive fluid (Broussard et al., 1986). The mucosa
is covered with green or brown diphteroid membrane,
which can be easily separated from the lining (Fig. 1).
Varying degrees of sloughing of the intestinal mucosa
could also be observed (Fig. 2). As the condition
progresses, areas of necrosis can be recognized from
outside of the intestine (Helmboldt and Bryant, 1971;
Long et al., 1974; Balauca, 1978; Shane et al., 1985).
Initial microscopic lesions develop at the apices of
villi and are characterized by sloughing of epithelium and
colonization of the exposed lamina propria with bacilli,
accompanied by coagulation necrosis. Progression of
lesions usually occurs from villi apices to crypts. Necrosis
may extend into the submucosa and muscular layers of the
intestine (Fig. 3) (Nairn and Bamford, 1967; Helmboldt
and Bryant, 1971; Long et al., 1974; Tsai and Tung, 1981;
Opengart, 2008). Large numbers of gram-positive bacilli
can be seen (Fig. 4 and 5) within the necrotic debris
(Randall, 1991). In per acute cases there is little
inflammatory cell infiltrate although, if the animal
survives, there is a progression to heterophil and
mononuclear cell infiltration followed by fibrosis (Shane
et al., 1985; Ficken and Wages, 1997).
Cholangiohepatitis causes severe economic losses
due to high liver condemnation rate on the processing and
downgraded of the slaughtered carcasses. Clostridium
perfringens is usually isolated in association with the
disease. The hepatitis characterized by an enlarged firm
liver sometimes with a slightly knobby surface and a
medium tan colour. Histopathological lesions consist of
hyperplasia of the bile duct, fibrinoid necrosis, cholangitis
and occasionally focal granulomatous inflammation
(Onderka et al., 1990; Løvland and Kaldhusdal, 1999;
Sasaki et al., 2000). Onderka et al. (1990) experimentally
reproduced the condition by either tying off the bile ducts
or injecting C. perfringens into the bile duct. It seems that
the presence of C. perfringens in many of the gall
bladders of affected livers suggested some involvement of
either the bacterium or its toxin which interfere with the
liver function.
Gizzard erosions
Gizzard erosions has been observed in commercial
broiler chickens and several non-infectious factors such as
mycotoxin-contaminated feed, vitamin B6 and E
deficiency, inadequate levels of sulphur-containing
dietary amino acids, high levels of dietary copper, pelleted
feed as well as inclusion of certain fish meals in the diets
and were discriminated as possible cause. Ono et al.
(2003) reported on Outbreaks of adenoviral gizzard
erosion in slaughtered broiler chickens in Japan and
Novoa-Garrido et al. (2006) found a significant
association between gizzard lesions and increased caecal
C. perfringens counts in broiler chickens.
A presumptive diagnosis may be made from the case
history, clinical signs, lesions and staining fresh smears of
upper part of the intestinal tract with Gram stain showing
an abundant number of clostridia organisms (Ficken and
Wages, 1997; Hafez and Jodas, 1997). This should be
confirmed by the isolation of the causative agent. For
isolation several media are available such as sheep blood
agar supplemented with neomycin or tryptose-sulfite-
cycloserine agar (TSC). The identification can be carried
out using biochemical tests. Most of isolates ferment
lactose, glucose, maltose, hydrolyze gelatin, and reduce
nitrate. This bacterium is non-motile, indole and catalase
negative (Ficken and Berkhoff, 1989). In addition, PCR
was developed to detect of alpha toxin (Heikinheimo and
Korkeala, 2005) as well as a real-time PCR for
quantitative detection of C. perfringens in gastrointestinal
tract of poultry (Wise and Siragusa, 2005). Also ELISAs
for direct detection of C. perfringens major toxins and
enterotoxin are commercially available.
Treatment with antibiotics such as penicillin,
amoxicillin, ampicillin, erythromycin, dihydrostrepto-
mycin and tetracyclin provided a satisfactory clinical
response. Penicillin’s are known to be particularly active
against C. perfringens. Resistance to penicillin is very rare
and β-lactamase has not been demonstrated. Three days is
the minimum duration of treatment, however longer
applications may be required. Recently, Gad et al. (2011b)
were determined the minimum inhibitory concentrations
of 16 antibiotics for 100 Clostridium perfringens isolates
collected between 2008 and 2009 from commercial turkey
Pak Vet J, 2011, 31(3): 175-184.
flocks using a commercially available broth micro-
dilution test kit. No isolates were resistant against β-
lactam antibiotics (amoxicillin, oxacillin, and penicillin),
lincospectin, tylosin, doxycyclin, tetracycline,
enrofloxacin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, lincomycin,
and tilmicosin. A low frequency of resistance was
detected against erythromycin and tiamulin with 5 and
20%, respectively. Spectinomycin, neomycin and colistin
showed the highest incidence of resistance with 74, 94
and 100%, respectively.
According to Brennan et al. (2000) administration of
dietary Tylan® for seven consecutive days following
Fig. 1: Necrotic enteritis: The mucosa is covered with green or
brown diphtheroid membrane, which can be easily separated
from the lining.
Fig. 2: Severe necrotic enteritis with necrotic pseudomem-
brane covering the intestinal mucosa.
Fig. 3: Severe, acute, necrotizing enteritis with extensive
transmural spreading as well as associated, necrotizing and
granulomatous steatites/serositis; large number of Gram-
Positive bacilli, located multifocal within lesions (H & E 20X)
(Courtesy: Dr. Olivia Kershaw, Berlin).
Fig. 4: Necrotic enteritis: note large number of Gram-Positive
bacilli, located multifocal on the surface as well as within lesions
(Gram X200) (Courtesy: Dr. Olivia Kershaw, Berlin).
Fig. 5: Necrotic enteritis: note large number of Gram-Positive
bacilli, located multifocal on the surface as well as within lesions
(Gram X600) (Courtesy: Dr. Olivia Kershaw, Berlin).
confirmation of an NE field outbreak reduced the NE
mortality and lesion score and improved overall growth as
well as feed conversion in broilers. The optimum dose of
Tylan to control NE was 100 ppm.
No resistance to the ionophorous anticoccidial drugs
such as Narasin has been found (Watkins et al., 1997;
Martel et al., 2004). Brennan et al. (2001) reported that
Narasin, when administrated at 70 ppm in feed from Day
0 to 41 prevents morbidity, mortality and suppression of
growth and feed conversion associated with NE in
For the commercial poultry industry, controlling the
levels of C. perfringens is an important issue because of
the economic cost of infected flocks. It has been estimated
that, worldwide, C. perfringens costs the international
poultry industry in excess of $US 2 billion per year
(Kaldhusdal and Løvland, 2000). In addition, costs to
broiler producers associated with subclinical (mild)
necrotic enteritis (SNE) were estimated recently by
Skinner et al. (2010) using published information on
impacts on body weight and feed conversion rate (FCR)
associated with SNE and costs and revenues associated
with broiler production. SNE was estimated to result in a
12% reduction in body weight and a 10.9% increase in
FCR compared with healthy birds. For the purposes they
considered scenarios involving hypothetical flocks of
Pak Vet J, 2011, 31(3): 175-184.
20,000 birds raised to final body weights ranging from
4.63 to 7.94 lb. The incidence of SNE was assumed to
occur at 20% based on the literature. SNE resulted in a
loss to producers ranging from US$878.19 to US$1480.52
per flock. When feed costs required to obtain SNE flocks
having a total live body weight equal to equivalent healthy
flocks at market age were calculated, the increased cost to
producers ranged from US$370.49 to US$739.38 per
flock (Skinner et al., 2010).
Strategies to reduce the incidence of clostridial
infections are necessary help to increase the profitability
of the poultry production and several further approaches
are generally used to combat the infection and as
alternatives to AGPs. Investigations indicate that
competitive exclusion, prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes and
acids can impact the incidence and severity of NE in
poultry (Fukata et al., 1991; Elwinger et al., 1992;
Hofacre et al., 1998; Kaldhusdal et al., 2001). The data
suggest that these products may provide the poultry
industry with an alternative management tool that has the
potential to promote better intestinal health and decrease
monetary losses due to C. perfringens (McReynolds et al.,
According to Langhout (2007), these approaches will
need adaptations in the feeding program and/or feed
production. The practical relevance of these approaches
may vary between the different areas in the world. At this
moment it is difficult to evaluate novel strategies
developed to antibiotic-free feeding concepts.
Combination of different approaches is necessary to
enhance the performance and reduced health status of the
birds such as:
i) Selection of highly digestible feed ingredients to
reduce nutrients for microbial degradation.
ii) Improvement in the balance of the essential amino
acids resulting in lower total dietary protein levels.
This will reduce the risk for clostridium problems,
since this bacterium in particular increases during
proteolytic fermentation.
iii) Improvement in the physical form of the diet, for
example via the inclusion of coarse particles in the
diet. Coarse particles will improve the passage rate of
the feed through the intestinal tract and as a
consequence increase digestion and reduce bacterial
fermentation in the intestinal tract.
iv) Introduction of a special prestarter diet in the feeding
program. The main objective of this prestarter diet
should be to stimulate the development of the
immune system and the development of an optimal
micro flora.
v) Improvement of climate control in the broiler house
to avoid stress in the animal and keeping litter quality
in optimal condition.
vi) Improvement of disease control in broilers. This
disease control focuses much more on the prevention
of health problems than on treatment of diseases.
Active and passive immunity using vaccination
against C. perfringens and its toxins appears to offer
protection. Heier et al. (2001) found out that broiler flocks
with high titres of maternal antibodies against C.
perfringens alpha-toxin had lower mortality during the
production period than flocks with low tiers. Also
Løvland et al. (2004) use toxoids vaccines based on C.
perfringens type A and C toxoids to vaccinate breeder
flocks. The IgG responses in vaccinated parent hens were
distinct and the levels of antibodies to C. perfringens
alpha - toxin in progeny of the vaccinated hens was high
enough to protect the progeny against subclinical C.
perfringens associated necrotic enteritis. On the other
hand several recent investigations showed that immunity
to NE after oral infection using virulent strain and
subsequent treatment is much better than using avirulent
C. perfringens strains and they identified immunogenic
secreted proteins apparently uniquely produced by
virulent C. perfringens isolates and concluded that there
are certain secreted proteins beside to alpha-toxin, that are
involved in immunity to NE in broiler chickens
(Thompson et al., 2006; Kulkarni et al., 2007). Further
additional study showed the ability of oral immunisation
against C. perfringens in broiler chickens using an
attenuated Salmonella vaccine vector (Kulkarni et al.,
Implementation of several approaches such as
improvement of management, feed formulation and use of
alternative products to modulate the intestinal flora led to
an improvement of the situation. Limiting exposure to
infectious agents through biosecurity, vaccination,
supportive therapy, cleaning and disinfection are essential.
In addition, early recognition in managing the enteric
disorders is very important.
Finally, use of an effective anticoccidial drug in the
ration is helpful to minimise the effect of enteritis. Since,
recent investigations showed that the use of some
alternative products might be able to reduce the intestinal
colonization with pathogenic bacterial agents. This could
be an additional tool to reduce enteric disorders in future.
I would like to thank Dr. Olivia Kershaw, Institute of
Animal Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Free
University Berlin for providing the histopathological
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... Since 2006, some European countries have prohibited the use of antibiotics that stimulate growth in animals raised for food. In addition, health hazards such as dysbacteriosis and clostridiarelated gastrointestinal disorders are growing[10].Multidrug-resistant bacteria are increasingly posing a serious danger to human health, animal health, and effective antibacterial therapy globally. Furthermore, the formation of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria is not guaranteed by the development or discovery of new antibiotics[11]. ...
... Pseudomonas, Staphylococci, Hepatitis, and encephalomyelitiscan result from this sort of transmission. Transmissions of the various microorganisms discussed above can also take place horizontally through direct contact with animals[10].E. coli, infectious bronchitis, avian infl uenza, infectious bursal disease, Newcastle disease, Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale, mycoplasma, and metapneumovirus are common illnesses in chickens across the world. ...
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Poultry production, health, and immunity are some of the factors that can encounter upcoming poultry sector growth. Consumer confidence, quality of product and safety and type of product, and the diseases, which are emerging and re-emerging will be continuing to be the main challenges to the present situations and the industry's strategic future. Zoonotic and foodborne infections and diseases are fi rmly associated with the poultry industry. Elimination, control of zoonotic diseases, eradication, and foodborne pathogens present a key challenge to the industry of poultry. Furthermore, the hazards to public health by consuming food with higher residues of antibiotics will stay a life-threatening concern. Poultry production theory explained here in a short review not only be restricted to overlook control of the disease. Somewhat, this will also include the interconnection of animal immunity, health, and welfare. It is important to keep in view that chicken is not prone to intra-nasal infections by COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pathogen. However, the pandemic of COVID-19 will be affecting the consumption of poultry, transportation, and the economy of poultry farming. This will also draw attention to its, social dimension, economy, ethics, and the sustenance of the achievement of the highest ecological safety. This review aims to explore these main tasks in detail, ensuring the industry's sustainable growth and ecological safety. Chain partners need to be more involved in present and future planning to fulfi ll human demand. production have been the current key goals of the industry of poultry. Henceforth, human welfare necessities, and meeting per capita consumption, goal-oriented and continuous effi cient health care for the spread of disease, control, and reduce the applications of antibiotics [1]. These activities will consist of the launching of strategies to control the disease which are infectious, face continuous fl uctuations in social and political situations, address perceptions of consumers regarding the welfare of animals, and ensure the security and safety of foods and ecological security problems. Furthermore, the constant rise in the feedstuff cost and thus foods and feeds remain noticeable problems [2]. The occurrence of novel and unanticipated infections and new legislation in some nations will also persist as important problems.
... Of note, high-dose penicillin is the most common antibiotic therapy used to treat C. perfringens-related soft tissue infections in humans, and the possibility of developing resistance to penicillins and β-lactamase is rare. Based on the UNIPROT database, the bla 2 gene was initially identified in Firmicutes, and C. perfringens isolates could acquire this gene from an external source and incorporated it into their genomes [48,49]. In this study, 84% of C. perfringens showed penicillin resistance, which is a worrying percentage compared with a previous study (21.8%) [50]. ...
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Background Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens) is an important pathogen in livestock animals and humans causing a wide array of systemic and enteric diseases. The current study was performed to investigate the inhibitory activity of myricetin (MYR), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), and zinc oxide (ZnO) nanocomposite against growth and α-hemolysin of C. perfringens isolated from beef meat and chicken sources. Results The overall occurrence of C. perfringens was 29.8%. The prevalence of C. perfringens was higher in chicken (38.3%) than in beef meat products (10%). The antimicrobial susceptibility testing revealed that C. perfringens isolates exhibited high resistance levels for metronidazole (93%), bacitracin (89%), penicillin G (84%), and lincomycin (76%). Of note, 1% of C. perfringens isolates were pandrug-resistant (PDR), 4% were extensive drug-resistant (XDR), while 91% were multidrug-resistant. The results of broth microdilution technique revealed that all tested C. perfringens isolates were susceptible to MYR-loaded ZnO/PVA with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranged from 0.125 to 2 µg/mL. Moreover, the MYR either alone or combined with the nanocomposite had no cytotoxic activities on chicken red blood cells (cRBCs). Transcriptional modifications of MYR, ZnO, ZnO/PVA, and ZnO/PVA/MYR nanocomposite were determined, and the results showed significant down-regulation of α-hemolysin fold change to 0.5, 0.7, 0.6, and 0.28, respectively compared to the untreated bacteria. Conclusion This is an in vitro study reporting the antimicrobial potential of MYR-coated ZnO nanocomposite as an effective therapeutic candidate against C. perfringens. An in vivo approach is the next step to provide evidence for applying these alternatives in the treatment and prevention of C. perfringens-associated diseases.
... Enteric bacterial diseases are regarded as one of the most important group of diseases that affect broiler chickens and causes severe economic losses in poultry production (Hafez 2011; Abdel-Alim and Ahmed 2020). Therefore, this study is focused on isolation and characterization of some important enteric bacteria in different Egyptian governorates. ...
This study was designed to isolate and characterize the pathogenicity of the most common bacteria causing enteric diseases in broilers in some Egyptian governorates. Enteric bacterial organisms like Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonellae, and Clostridia perfringens (C. perfringens) were isolated and identified from 100 dead and diseased broilers in Giza, El-Kalubia and El-Sharqia governorates. The samples were subjected to conventional isolation as well as biochemical and serological identification techniques. Molecular and toxigenic detection of C. perfringens were performed on one selected isolate by multiplex PCR. The pathogenicity test of some isolated bacterial strains was done on 80 a-day-old broiler chicks. The clinical observation, performance parameters, bacterial re-isolation and histopathological examination were carried out after bacterial challenge. The results revealed isolation of E. coli, Salmonella and C. perfringens in rates of 17, 11 and 39%, respectively. Serological identification of E. coli revealed that O78 (35.2%) and O1 (23.5%) were the highest isolated serotypes, while O117 (17.6%), O91 (11.7%), O112, and O146 (5.8% each) were the lowest ones. Salmonella enteritidis (S. enteritidis) was the most prevalent (36.3%) followed by S. kentucky, S. larochelle (27.2%, each) and S. inganda (9%). Multiplex PCR of C. perfringens strains revealed presence of both cpa and cpb genes that encoding to alpha (α) and beta (β) lethal toxins, respectively. The pathogenicity of E. coli O78, S. enteritidis, and C. perfringens were tested in broiler chickens. The results showed that E. coli O78, S. enteritidis and C. perfringens were pathogenic strains. It was concluded that enteric bacterial pathogens especially E. coli O78, S. enteritidis, and C. perfringens type C are widely distributed in Egyptian broiler chicken flocks and still causing severe losses because of mortalities and decreasing in production.
... Infections with mycoplasma, aspergillus, E. coli, salmonella, pseudomonas, streptococci, staphylococci, encephalomyelitis, and hepatitis may result from this transmission. Another way for several microbes, like the one stated above, to spread is by horizontal (lateral) contact between animals (14). ...
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The future expansion of the poultry business is hampered by a number of reasons, including chicken immunity, health, and productivity. Major obstacles to the present state of the sector and its strategic future will continue to be consumer confidence, product quality and safety, product kinds, and the introduction and re-emergence of illnesses. Poultry is inextricably related to zoonotic and foodborne illnesses. Foodborne and zoonotic pathogen eradication, elimination, and/or management provide a significant challenge to the chicken business. The risks to the general public's health from eating foods with significant antibiotic residues will also continue to be a major problem. This review's idea of chicken farming goes beyond only thinking about disease prevention. Instead, it will take into account how the immunity, wellbeing, and health of the animals are interconnected. It is crucial to understand that hens are not vulnerable to intranasal SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) viral infection. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on chicken farming's finances, transportation, and consumption. Along with these factors, it will evaluate the maintenance of high environmental security as well as economic, ethical, and social aspects. For the industry to meet consumer demand and guarantee sustainable agriculture, shareholders, veterinarians, farmers, and all other stakeholders in the chain of poultry production need to be more active in the present state and the sector's strategic future. The current evaluation examines these crucial activities as a result.
... Clostridium (C.) perfringens type A which costs the global poultry industry up to 5-6 billion USD every year (Wade and Keyburn, 2015). This bacterium resides as a physiological microbiome in the intestines of animals and birds (Hafez, 2011). C. perfringens is classified into five toxinotypes (A-E) depending upon the type of toxins produced viz. ...
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Ever since the reduction of antimicrobial growth promoters in animal feed, infectious diseases have re-emerged in certain parts of the world, necrotic enteritis (NE) for one. The current study determines the protective efficacy of egg yolk antibodies (EYAs) in experimentally infected broiler chicken. Eighty (80), day-old broiler chickens were procured and divided into four groups (G1-G4). Group G1 served as a negative control, while G2 served as positive control viz infected with C. perfringens type A (1 x 10 8 cfu/ml) from days 17-19 of the experiment. Groups G3 and G4 immunized passively with anti-clostridial IgY @ 1 ml per bird between days 21-24 via oral route, while 22 nd and 24 th days via I/M route, respectively. Two killings were performed (days 26 th and 35 th) and the birds were observed for growth performance, hematology and serum biochemistry. The study results showed a statistically significant decrease in growth, hematology and serum protein values, while elevation in serum enzyme values of the birds in group G2 when compared to group G1. The groups G3 and G4 (passively immunized) showed the values less affected and close to the physiological ranges. Hence it was concluded that anti-clostridial EYAs (IgY) has ameliorative effects against experimental clostridial infection in broiler chicken. To Cite This Article: Abadeen ZU, Javed MT, Rizvi F and Rahman SU, 2021. Salutary effects of anti-Clostridium perfringens type A egg yolk antibodies (IgY) on growth performance and hemato-biochemical parameters in experimentally infected broiler chicken. Pak Vet J, 41(4): 562-566. http://dx.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of in ovo administration of a mixture of Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) and Newcastle disease vaccine (NDV) on growth performance, intestinal development, and mucosal immunity in newly hatched chicks. Six hundred specific‐pathogen‐free (SPF) Leghorn fertilised eggs were incubated in a commercial hatchery and divided into four groups: (a) control group injected with 1 ml of 0.9% physiological saline, (b) APS group injected with 1 ml of 1 mg/ml APS solution, and (c) NDV group injected with 1 ml of 104.0 EID50/dose of NDV solution, and (d) APS + NDV group injected with a mixture of 0.5 ml of 2 mg/ml APS plus 0.5 ml 104.0 EID50/dose ND vaccine (NDV) on Day 18.5 of incubation. The results showed that in ovo injection of APS or the mixture of APS and NDV increased the body weight at 1 day (IW) and final weight (FW) at 28 days and increased the feed conversion ratio (FCR) at 1–7, 8–14, 15–21, and 1–28 days of age. The villus height (VH) was increased (p < 0.05), and the crypt depth (CD) was decreased (p < 0.05) in the duodenum compared with the control group. The VH/CD ratios were increased (p < 0.05) in the APS + NDV group compared with controls, NDV group, and APS group on d3. The levels of slgA in washings were increased (p < 0.05) on Days 3, 7, 14, 21, and 28, and the number of IgA+ cells in the duodenum was increased on Days 7, 14, 21, and 28. In addition, the IgA+ cells were promoted from the villus root to the apex in the APS + NDV group. It can be concluded that in ovo administration of NDV conjugated with APS compared with NDV alone may be more effective in promoting growth performance and intestinal mucosal immunity.
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This study was designed to investigate the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in domestic turkeys and infection rates of gastrointestinal parasites infesting turkeys and the relationship with their ages. Seventy-one dropping samples were randomly collected from turkeys reared in Erbil city from April 2019 to the end of June 2019. To diagnose the parasites using wet cotton swabs, fifty swab samples were collected from the oral cavity, esophagus, and crop. Coprological examinations of the samples were carried out in the Laboratory of the Parasites/ Veterinary Medicine College / University of Mosul. The results also showed that the total percentage of infection with gastrointestinal parasites was 35.21%. Five nematode species were recorded in Erbil city turkeys, Heterakis gallinarum 28%, Capillaria spp. 24%, Trichostrongylus spp < /em>. 16%, Strongyloides avium 12% and Ascaridia galli 4%. Furthermore, Eimeria spp. of intestinal protozoan was diagnosed, with a 48% infection rate. Strongyloides avium larvae were detected in the turkeys' oral cavity swabs, with an infection rate of 4.0%. Results showed higher infection in > 8 weeks ago) (40%), 4 weeks age (30.76%), and 8 weeks age (27.77%). While the result of this indicates significant variations in the infection rates between the age of > 8 weeks and each of the ages of 4 weeks and 8 weeks. The study revealed that the majority of infection was single infection (76%), followed by double infection (16%), and mixed infection (8%).
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The present study was planned to evaluate the ameliorative effects of egg yolk antibodies (EYAs) in broiler chicken. For this purpose, 80-day-old broiler chickens were divided into four groups (A–D), where group A was kept as negative control. Experimental infection with C. perfringens (1 × 108 cfu/mL) was induced via oral route on days 17, 18 and 19 of the experiment in groups B, C and D. Groups C and D were passively immunized by anti-clostridial IgYs @ 1 mL per bird via oral and oral and intramuscular (I/M) routes respectively, on days 21 to 24, and on days 22 and 24 of the experiment, respectively. Two necropsies were performed (the first on day 26th and the second on day 35th). Birds in group B showed behavioral signs e.g., laziness, depression and diarrhea, gross post-mortem lesions e.g., increase in the relative weights (RW), due to acute swelling and congestion of liver and kidneys and ballooning and hemorrhages of jejunum and microscopic lesions e.g., congestion and necrosis in liver and kidneys’ parenchyma and disrupted epithelium with fewer goblet cells in jejunum, compared to the group A. Birds in groups C and D, showed significant improvements in clinical and behavioral signs, RW of liver, kidneys and jejunum, swelling, congestion and mononuclear cells’ infiltration in liver and kidneys and damages in the jejunal-wall, compared to group B. The most significant changes were found in birds of group C. Our study revealed ameliorative effects of EYAs on certain biological parameters however, further studies would be needed to justify a safer production and a reliable application of EYAs in NE outbreaks.
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Parasitic infections in pigeons are very important due to their adaptability to different environmental conditions, as well as their relationship with human society. In this study, 250 samples of domestic and wild pigeons (Columba livia) were collected from different areas in Samawah, Al-Muthanna province, Iraq, from March 2020 to January 2021. Clinical examination of external parasites was conducted by screening fecal samples for intestinal parasitic infections and preparing direct swabs from the beaks. Out of the 250 pigeon samples (125 domestic and 125 wild pigeons), 65 pigeons were found infected (26%), including 40 domestic (32%) and 25 wild pigeons (20%) (P≤0.05). The results showed that these parasitic infections belong to three major groups of bird parasites: 1) Protozoa, such as Eimeria species (spp.) oocyst, Cryptosporidium spp., and Trichomonas gallinae, with prevalence rates of 21 (16.8%), 14 (11.2%), 19 (15.2%), 11(8.8%), 7 (5.6%), and 2 (1.6%), 2) Helminths, such as cestodes (Raillietina tetragona) and nematodes (Ascaridia columbae) with prevalence rates of 5 (4%), 4 (3.2%), 4 (3.2%), and 2 (1.6%), as well as Arthropods, including lice (Menacanthus stramineus) with prevalence rates of 5 (4%) and 3 (2.4%) in domestic and wild pigeons, respectively. Additionally, no significant difference was found between male and female pigeons in their infection rate (P≤0.05). The findings also revealed that the highest percentage of infection in both genders of domestic and wild pigeons was caused by one spp. of parasites (62.5% and 64% in domestic and wild pigeons, respectively), followed by two spp. (24% and 27.5% in domestic and wild pigeons, respectively), and three spp. of parasites (10% and 12% in domestic and wild pigeons, respectively). However, there was no significant difference between domestic and wild pigeons regarding their infections with one, two, or three spp. of parasites (P≤0.05). It is thus concluded that differences in the prevalence of these parasites in different regions are partly due to differences in nutrition, feeding habits, and geographical environment.
The modern poultry industry oriented for high production and better quality at low cost, together with increasing claim of consumers for poultry meat products, demands continuous efficient and goal oriented veterinary care. The present review describes the history of turkey domestication and the organisation of commercial meat turkey industry in Germany as well as disease conditions and problems related to rearing system and genetics in meat turkeys with special reference to cannibalism and debeaking problem, respiratory diseases, leg weakness, breast blisters and aortic rupture.