Fowl Pox In Chickens

What is Fowl Pox?

  • Fowl pox or avian pox is a slow spreading viral disease in birds.
  • This disease affects many types of birds.
  • Fowl pox may occur in birds of any age.
  • The disease manifests itself in one of two ways – 1) Cutaneous (dry) pox or 2) Diphtheritic (wet) pox.
  • The same organism can cause both the dry and wet pox.

Dry Pox Symptoms

  • Starts with small whitish spots that develop into wart like spots.
  • The spots turn a browny black colour and scab over before final healing.
  • The scabs are visible on the featherless parts of the body – the comb, wattles, ear lobes, face, legs, feet and vent.
  • Laying birds may experience a reduction in egg production.
  • Young birds can have restricted growth.
  • Affected birds may look sick and have a poor appetite.
  • The birds can remain infected for 3 – 6 weeks.

Wet Pox Symptoms

  • Wet pox affects the oral cavity and the upper respiratory tract.
  • Birds may find breathing difficult.
  • Wet pox can cause a nasal or eye discharge.
  • Soft yellow ulcers can form in the mouth and on the tongue.
  • Affected birds may look sick and have a poor appetite.
  • Laying birds may experience a reduction in egg production.
  • Young birds can have restricted growth.
  • The birds can remain infected for 3 – 6 weeks.
  • Mortality does not usually occur unless the respiratory problems are acute.

Causes

  • Fowl Pox is caused by a virus.
  • The disease can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact with infected birds, spread through the air or transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • The virus can survive for months on contaminated premises.
  • Recovered birds do not remain carriers of the disease.

Treatment

  • There is no treatment for fowl pox.
  • Preventative vaccination will control the disease in future flocks.

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