Diagnosis of Poultry Diseases

Darrell W. Trampel, Faculty, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

Iowa is the No. 1 egg producing state in America with over 55 million laying hens.  The egg industry continues to grow in this state and Hy-Line International is the worlds largest source of genetics for egg-type chickens.   Iowa produces approximately 8.0 million turkeys per year.  A significant broiler industry is centered around Agri-Processors in Postville, IA which is a kosher processing plant.  Iowa has the one of the nations largest producer of quail eggs and chicks and this countrys largest producer of Hungarian partridge.

A certain degree of mortality is associated with commercial production of poultry.  For example, livability of turkeys between placement in the brooder house as poults and marketing at 18 weeks is approximately 90%.  In addition to diseases that cause mortality, other subclinical disease conditions exist that do not kill the birds but reduce the rate of gain and feed efficiency of a flock.


A major part of the job responsibilities of the ISU extension poultry veterinarian is to provide diagnostic assistance to Iowas commercial poultry producers, gamebird producers, and owners of small-scale or hobby flocks.  In addition, Dr. Trampel serves as the co-oordinator of three state-wide poultry disease surveillance programs: a) Avian Influenza in turkey and chicken flocks; b) Salmonella enteritidis monitoring of commercial egg-type chicken flocks; and c) Avian pneumovirus monitoring of commercial turkey flocks.  


The poultry diagnostic cases from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006 are listed below.

Diagnostic Cases (January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2006). 

Report Name     Total Accessions
Anticoagulant Panel                                     2
Avian influenza AGID                                    191
Avian influenza AGID - 1                                1086
Avian influenza AGID - EY                               47
Avian Influenza ELISA                                   30
Avian Pneumovirus ELISA                                 618
Avian Pneumovirus IFA (NVSL)                            36
Bacterial ID Extended                                   11
Bacterial ID Short                                      38
Clostridium  FA                                         1
Comments                                                65
Culture Saved                                           13
Culture Summary                                         1
Egg Culture -  Negative                                 4
Egg Culture - Suspicious                                1
Hematoxylin and Eosin Slides                            148
Immunohistochemistry West Nile Virus (WNV)        1
Necropsy (juvenile - adult)                             91
Necropsy (neonate - fetus)                              25
PCR - Avian influenza virus                             67
Poultry - Salmonella Enviromental Negative              240
Poultry - Salmonella Enviromental Positive              209
Poultry - Salmonella Enviromental Suspicious            232
Poultry Susceptibility                                  48
Poultry Susceptibility                                  3
PRRS virus ELISA                                        1
Pullorum-typhoid AGG                                    2
Pullorum-typhoid AGG (NVSL)                             1
Referral (NVSL)                                         1
Rotavirus AgELISA                                       6
Routine Culture                                         72
Routine Culture                                         78
Salmonella Id                                           19
Salmonella Identification (NVSL)                        207
Serogrouping Lancefield & Salmonella                    1
Slant Request                                           5
Special Stains Immunohistochemistry                     1
Tetra enrichment                                        49

Avian species for which necropsy, histopathology, or both were performed.

Egg-type Chickens (Layers)      115
Meat-type Chickens (Broilers)     30
Turkeys   16
Quail           6
Pigeons         5
Pheasants           2
Peafowl     2
Partridge           2
Guinea fowl         1
Osprey             1
Total   180


This work provides vital support for Iowas poultry and gamebird industries in general as well as for specific companies, such as Hy-Line International.  Poultry producers receive individual attention and the most rapid diagnoses that science will allow.  A rapid diagnosis permits early intervention via vaccination, antibiotic therapy, or management changes which greatly reduce the morbidity and mortality in affected flocks.  In addition to protecting bird health, monitoring programs for avian influenza and Salmonella enteritidis are potential zoonotic diseases and ongoing surveillance programs are important for protecting public health.

June 28, 2007
180 - Other ANR Programs


Page last updated: August 2, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu