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Black Head In Turkeys

bickiebarnes Junior Member
edited September 2006 in Producers and Vets
CAN ANYONE HELP ME? :confused:

WE ARE A SMALL PRODUCER OF TURKEYS FOR THE XMAS MARKET. 10 DAYS AFTER BUYING THEM IN ONE DIED. WE HAVE NOW LOST 4 IN TOTAL. THE VET AUTOPSIED THEM AND THINKS THEY HAVE BLACKHEAD. I AM TOLD THE BEST MEDICATION IS EMTRYL WHICH WAS BANNED A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. THE ONLY OTHER METHOD IS TO PRODUCE FEED WITH A PRESCRIPTION IN IT FROM THE VET. NO ONE WILL PRODUCE LESS THAN 3 TONNE (OVER £500) AND WE ONLY HAVE 41 TURKEYS! ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS PLEASE! MANY THANKS

Comments

  • Sandy Senior Member
    edited September 2006
    Black head

    Blackhead (Histomoniasis, Enterohepatitis)

    Birds affected
    Birds affected are: turkeys, peafowl, guinea fowl, pheasant and chickens

    Blackhead is an acute or chronic protozoan disease of fowl, primarily affecting the cecae and liver. called Histomonas meleagridis

    The disease is present wherever poultry are raised
    It is a parasite organism called a protozoa, and is a distant cousin of the coccidia parasite
    For the disease to spread amongst fowl the flock must also be infected with the caecal worm
    This worm survives in the fowl yard soil, earthworms
    This disease affects the large intestine, then attacks the liver
    The chooks bowl is eaten by the parasite and then it attacks the liver
    When the chooks die their heads go black, hence the name

    Turkeys:
    Blackhead is one of the critical diseases of growing turkeys and game birds
    It is carried by an intestinal parasite and the symptoms are:- loss of condition, drowsy appearance, ruffled feathers, and diarrhoea, sometimes mixed with blood.
    It may cause stunted growth, poor feed utilization and death.

    It is of lesser economic importance in chickens since they are more resistant, but the incidence in chickens apparently is increasing

    Occasionally the caruncles of the turkey may become dark blue or purple (hence the name black head)

    If you have an outbreak, dead birds and their droppings must be burned
    All utensils should be disinfected daily and, where possible, quick lime should be applied to the run

    To prevent an outbreak, Turkeys should not be run with fowls, and young turkeys should not be run in contact with adult birds

    If this is not possible, then chicks and hens should be kept on clean dry, well-drained pasture and move about frequently

    Symptoms
    Birds develop foamy yellow diarrhoea and sit huddled up
    They appear depressed and ill
    They stop eating and get very thin
    Increased thirst
    Droopiness
    Drowsiness
    Darkening of the facial region
    The birds can be so ill, that their wattle and comb goes blue (thus the name blackhead)
    If not treated the birds usually die
    Any sulphur coloured foamy droppings should be considered as blackhead, even if the bird is not showing any other signs of the disease
    Blackhead acts as an immune suppressor, which will allow other diseases to have greater effect on your bird’s health
    It may cause stunted growth, poor feed utilization and then death

    Continue on next post
  • Sandy Senior Member
    edited September 2006
    Transmission

    The organism in passed in the fecal material of infected birds. In many instances, the organism is shed within the eggs of the cecal worm of chickens, turkeys and game birds. Free-living blackhead organisms do not survive long in nature, but those in cecal worm eggs may survive for years. Therefore, most blackhead transmission is considered due to ingesting infected cecal worm eggs. Transmission may also occur by the earthworm.

    Chickens are frequently infected without showing signs of the disease. These chickens may shed enormous numbers of blackhead organisms, many of which are protected by cecal worm eggs. Outbreaks in turkeys can often be traced to direct or indirect contact with ranges, houses or equipment previously used by chickens. Free-flying birds may also contribute to an infection.

    Losses

    Most blackhead losses occur in young birds (six to sixteen weeks).
    Morbidity and mortality are variable, but mortality seldom exceeds fifteen percent; however, it may approach one-hundred percent in uncontrolled turkey outbreaks. Losses are usually low in chickens

    Prevention

    Good management practices can do much to control the blackhead problem. Do not keep birds of different species on the same premises. Do not range turkeys on ground previously used by chickens unless several years have elapsed. Rotate ranges periodically if possible. Cecal worm control is necessary to reduce blackhead incidence. Wire or slatted floors reduce exposure.

    Good management is the only effective method of preventing this disease since many of the effective drugs used in past years are no longer available commercially. Drugs that reduce the presence of cecal worms, and thus reduce the infection rate, are available but do not have an effect on the Histomonas organism. Refer to the cecal worm section for recommended control practices.


    Necropsy
    Lesions of uncomplicated blackhead are confined to the cecae and liver, thus the reason for the synonymous term, enterohepatitis.
    The cecae are ballooned and walls may be thickened, necrotic and ulcerated.
    Caseous (cheesy) cores within the cecae may be blood tinged.
    Peritonitis may be present if ulcers have perforated the ceca walls.
    Livers are swollen and display circular depressed areas of necrosis about one-half inch in diameter.
    Smaller lesions coalesce to form larger ones.
    Lesions are yellowish to yellow-green and extend deeply into the underlying liver tissue. Healing lesions may resemble those seen in visceral leukosis.
    Blackhead diagnosis is made readily on the basis of the lesions.
    Atypical forms, particularly in chickens, must be differentiated from cecal coccidiosis and Salmonella infections in particular.
    Medications may interfere with atypical lesions.
    Laboratory tests may be required for positive diagnosis in such cases.

    Treatment:
    Dose birds with EMETRYL (Active ingredient Dimetridiazole) at the dosage recommended by the manufacturer or use Hepzide, Enhaptin –always follow vet advice & read label recommendations before giving any medication
    You can only get it these from a veterinarian
    It is important to worm your flock every eight to twelve weeks using an efficient wormer eg. Levamisole at the manufacturers dose rate
    Do not mix it with any other medication

    Treat for blackhead first – EMETRYL
    Then treat for worms – Levamisole
    Without proper worming treatments, blackhead will be a recurring problem

    References used in this article are
    Book - A Guide to Keeping Poultry In Australia: by Dorothy Reading
    And
    http://www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/index.htm
  • bickiebarnes Junior Member
    edited September 2006
    Many thanks for the replies, the information will help a great deal, although the best medication (emetryl) is now banned in uk. I will speak to the vet tomorrow. Thanks again
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