(As originally written for http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/fowl-pox-avipoxivirus/ October 21, 2014)
Top Blogger for the week of October 21, 2014
Chicken Coop Chatter©
Fowl pox (Avipoxivirus ) is a common occurrence in areas of temperate, humid weather, where there are large mosquito populations; however, it is found worldwide and present wherever there is standing water or mosquito breeding grounds. Though fowl pox is most common in late summer through fall, and it can take several weeks to months to manifest, showing up in winter or early spring. It can be mistaken for frostbite because the black scabs (warts) of Fowl pox may be present around the eyes, comb, wattles and the feet and start out as whitish pus like sores. As those scabs heal, they will turn black or dark brown and they can drop off into feed and water and infect the other fowl.
Fowl pox can take on two different distinct forms. The dry form will show up as whitish pus, then turn to scabs, that turn black and are primarily on exposed areas and will spread to other areas if not treated. Most birds will survive from this form of fowl pox if detected and treated promptly. The wet form will show up in the mouth and throat and affect the respiratory tract and this may cause a high mortality rate if not detected and promptly treated. Two distinctly different treatments are required for treating the different forms. Fowl pox is not contagious to humans, but is contagious to other poultry. If you detect an outbreak, do not bring new birds into your flock until the disease is under control.
For our purposes, we will talk about the black scab form. You can inoculate your birds to prevent an outbreak, especially if you are in areas prone to high mosquito populations and wild bird populations. If you see even one of the flock affected, you will need to vaccinate all of the flock. It is viral, contagious and can be life threatening.
Chicks from 12 weeks old and older can be vaccinated, but always follow explicit instructions that come with any medication, to make sure of the doses and age requirements. Always make certain the instructions indicate egg consumption when using any medications. Most will require that you not eat the eggs from medicated birds for five to 14 days after the last dose. Strictly adhere to all instructions.
The best known and most effective treatment is vaccination as a preventative. If you are not able to inoculate the birds yourself, you will need to call in a vet that is versed in poultry diseases. Be mindful of lesions that can become infected which may cause an underlying problem and will need to be treated separately. Lesions can be treated with an iodine solution or topical antibiotic; however, you risk spreading the disease to other parts that may not be infected.
The vaccination is usually inserted into the wing web of chicks. You will need to spread the wing out of each bird and inject there. This will be easiest with a helper, but can be done alone by holding the bird firmly with one hand while spreading the wing and injecting with the other hand. A nylon stocking may be useful to insert the chick/chicken into, leaving one wing exposed to receive the injection. A poultry cone may be useful if you are able to insert the bird into the cone and still allow the wing to be exposed. ALWAYS use gloves and keep your hands clear of the needle. Never direct the needle toward your face or eyes when filling or using the syringe. You will need to read the instructions thoroughly from the manufacturer of the product you use for where they recommend injections be made. Regardless, you must avoid injecting into muscle or bone.
If one or two birds are showing signs of the whitish pus or dark scabs, lack of appetite, lethargy or reduced laying, those birds must be isolated and and the remaining flock promptly vaccinated to prevent a full outbreak. The affected birds can usually be returned to the flock within 10 to 14 days.
Prevent standing water around the coop to help keep illnesses down.
You must clean all waterers, feeders and cages with a 10 percent bleach (sterilizing) solution. Continue to feed a high protein diet and offer plenty of water.
The best preventative is to avoid standing water in and around the coops and your property. However, if you live near swamp or stagnant water, mosquitoes may be a problem regardless of your efforts. It may be beneficial to put up mosquito netting around the run and plant mosquito repelling plants near the coop and run.
Use strict biosecurity methods in and around your flocks. Do not allow other poultry owners into the coops, runs or brooders. Never bring in new birds without strict quarantine methods. Always wash thoroughly after handling all fowl. When treating more than one area or flock, you must wash between entering those areas so you are not inadvertently spreading from one flock to another. Wash boots and clothing thoroughly to prevent pathogens from spreading from one area to another. Following these rules will help assure healthy flocks into the future.
Chicken Coop Chatter© All Rights Reserved 2011-2016