Managing turkey diseases

Saturday September 1 2018

Managing turkey diseases

Fowl pox disease is a viral infection that attacks turkeys and chickens. FILE PHOTO 

By Christine Katende

A friend visited my farm and he told me that my turkeys have fowl pox, how can I go about it? Jackson Musinguzi

Dear Jackson
Fowl pox disease is a viral infection that attacks turkeys and chickens.
It commonly presents with typical swellings on appendages (beak, feet, legs and comb) and around the tissues that cover the eyes.
The swellings can, as the disease progresses, change into thick scabs on the parts affected with purse formed underneath.
The infection in worse situation can spread down the food pipe and lungs, causing swellings and wounds.

This form of pox can kill the affected birds in a very short period of time. The virus presents in those affected parts of the body and is transmitted from one bird to another by contact, especially where there are wounds or abrasions on the skin of the unaffected birds. The virus can be moved in air via tiny droplets of moisture. Mosquitoes and other biting insects may also transmit the virus from one victim to another.

Fowl pox is very common in seasons where mosquito numbers are abundant. The disease in young birds is often very severe with some mortality. In adults, there is usually a drop in production. The extensive infection in a layer flock results in decreased egg production just as it is in chicken. Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing the disease from disturbing poultry flocks.

This combined with biosecurity and cleanliness measures on the turkey/birds’ house can help prevent future fowl pox episodes. Once birds get infected, it is important to provide supportive antibiotics and multivitamin to help keep the bird’s immunity strong and to ward off secondary bacterial infection. Once in a while, it is good to spray disinfectant mist in the bird house or dwelling place to kill off viruses on the litter and to also limit reinfection of those in healing process.

However, you have to seek advice and service from a nearby veterinary doctor.

Answered by Samuel Sewagudde, a veterinary doctor.