Diagnosis of Poultry Diseases

Darrell Trampel, Faculty, Veterinary Medicine


Iowa is the No. 1 egg producing state in America with over 50 million laying hens. The egg industry continues to grow in this state and Hy-Line International is the world's largest source of genetics for egg-type chickens. Iowa produces approximately 7.0 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 world's largest producer of quail eggs and chicks and this country's 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 Iowa State University (ISU) extension poultry veterinarian is to provide diagnostic assistance to Iowa's poultry producers.


Diagnostic Cases (January 1, 2004 - December 31, 2004)
1.Necropsy and/or Histopathology 216 Species No. Cases
    i. Chickens, layers134 cases
    ii. Chickens, broilers 38 cases
    iii. Turkeys 13 cases
    iv. Quail 15 cases
    v. Partridge 5 cases
     vi. Pigeon 1 cases
    vii. Pheasants 4 cases
    viii. Guinea fowl 1 case
    ix. Pea fowl 2 cases
    x. Swan 1 case
    xi. Cockatiel 2 cases
Total 216 cases
2.Coordination of Three Poultry Disease Surveillance Programs
     i. Avian Influenza serology 924
    ii. Salmonella enteritidis monitoring 295
    iii. Avian pneumovirus monitoring 168
3.Total number of diagnostic cases 603


This work provides vital support for Iowa's poultry and game bird industries in general as well as for specific companies, such as Hy-Line International. Poultry producers receive individual care 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.


121 -- Adding Value and Enhancing Agricultural Products

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu