Fowl pox is mild to the severe, slow-developing disease of birds caused by an avipoxvirus and three common strains have been identified. The three strains are the fowl pox virus, pigeon pox virus, and canarypox virus. The strains vary in their virulence and have the ability to infect other avian species. However, many of the strains are group-specific. Approximately sixty species of birds from 20 families have been diagnosed with fowl pox. The strain seen in wild turkeys is the fowlpox virus.
PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF FOWL POX IN POULTRY
Vaccinate your birds against fowl pox. When you purchase your day-old chicks, ensure that the breeders provide you with a vaccination schedule.
During the past several years there has been a great upsurge of interest in maintaining small backyard poultry flocks. These birds are raised for hobby, show and food. Though owners have much interest in their birds, the health status is often overlooked. Several diseases which are easily vaccinated against need to be considered in their health management programs. One such disease is fowl pox.
- Warty, spreading eruptions and scabs on the comb and wattles.
- Caseous deposits in the mouth, throat and sometimes trachea.
- Poor growth.
- Poor egg production.
Pox is a relatively slow-spreading viral infection of chickens characterized by scab-like lesions on the skin of the unfeathered body parts and/or diphtheritic (wet) membranes lining the mouth or air passages. It has been present in chickens since the earliest times and is found throughout the world. Infection with the fowlpox virus will cause the chickens have poor growth, poor feed conversion and a precipitous fall in egg production. Mortality will seldom be marked if the lesions are limited to the skin. However, death may occur if the oral cavity or air passages become involved.
The disease may occur in any age bird, primarily during the warm months of the year. The virus is stable and can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected chicken or by mosquitoes.
Pox is readily diagnosed by a veterinarian based on flock history, presence of typical lesions, and in some instances by microscopic examination of affected tissues and virus isolation studies.
There is no treatment for fowl pox. Control and prevention in chickens are accomplished by vaccination by the wing web method with a commercially available fowlpox or pigeon pox vaccine. This should be administered to all chickens at 12-16 weeks of age. Vaccinated birds should be examined for takes about seven to ten days following inoculation. A take consists of swelling of the skin or a scab at the site where the vaccine was applied.
A high percentage of chickens showing reaction (takes) indicates a satisfactory vaccination. The absence of a take could be the result of the vaccine being administered improperly, use of a vaccine inadequate potency (improperly stored or used after the expiration date), or vaccine being applied to an immune bird.
Precautions should be taken when administering the pox vaccine as it is a live type of virus vaccine. Because the pox vaccine produces a mild form of the disease, only healthy birds should be vaccinated. It is strongly recommended that all chickens in a house be vaccinated on the same day. The vaccine must be applied only to the vaccination site, and precautions are taken to prevent contamination of other parts of the chicken, the premises and the equipment. Mosquito control should also be part of the preventive program.
These simple precautions will provide protection to your chickens, and allow you to enjoy and raise your flock free of this disease.
Never vaccinate sick birds. Always supplement your birds with Stressmix in their drinking water during vaccination as it is a stressful event.
Fowlpox is a disease that spreads slowly and also takes time to manifest following the infection, so it is important that you isolate any new birds that are introduced into the farm for at least three weeks.
Ensure that there is an isolation unit as far as possible from the resident birds. And observe the new birds regularly for any signs of disease and treat if need be.
Practicing all-in, all-out poultry management
Control insect population where the birds are as they also spread fowl pox.
Keep wild birds away as they spread diseases into the farm through their droppings or secretions. You can keep them out by placing wire nets and avoiding spillage of feeds outside the poultry house.
Humans are the biggest threat to the spread of diseases. Humans transfer diseases through their clothing, shoes, hands, equipment, and vehicles.
Every farmer should control the number of people that come into the farm.
All visitors should have their cars and shoes disinfected at the entrance into the farm. Everyone should wash their hands with a disinfectant and wear protective clothing – a dust coat and gumboots before they enter the poultry house.
Fow lpox is the worldwide disease of poultry caused by viruses of the family Poxviridae and the genus Avipoxvirus. The viruses causing fowlpox are distinct from one another, but antigenically similar, possible hosts, including chickens, turkeys, quail, canaries, pigeons, and many other species of birds. Wikipedia
There should be a footpath at the entrance of every poultry house that all visitors should dip their footwear.
Disinfect farm equipment, drinkers, and feeders regularly and seek advice from a veterinarian on the best disinfectant for your production needs.