Bacterial and Viral Diseases: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Bacterial and Viral Diseases
Index of Bird Diseases ... Symptoms and Potential Causes ... Bird Species and Diseases They are Most Susceptible to

Fungal Infections by Dr. Rob Marshall ... Microbiology for the Aviculturist: Do your own cultures or gram stains - step-by-step instructions

Vinegar: A Natural Approach to Avian Management

Chicken Pox / Fowl Pox ... Coryza ... Epidemic Tremor ... Fowl Cholera ... Infectious Bronchitis ... Lymphoid Leucosis ... Marek's Disease ... Avian Influenza

(For more in-depth information on each of the above diseases, please go to the Bird Disease page)


A disease affecting chicken, pheasants, guinea fowl, turkeys and other game birds
Cause: Simple coryza, the common cold, is usually caused by improper management in which birds are subjected to undue exposure. Infectious coryza is caused by a specific microorganism and its severity is increased in birds subjected to resistance lowering factors.
Common Symptoms: Respiratory distress accompanied by watery and swollen eyes and poor condition.
Treatment: Simple coryza responds to correction of undue exposure. Antibiotics are beneficial. Infectious coryza sometimes responds to erthyromycin, streptomycin and sulfonamides, if treated early.
Control: Depopulation of farms and starting with clean chicks. Consider vaccination if exposure risk is high.

Cause: A virus.
Symptoms: A disease affecting chickens clinically under 6 weeks of age. Incoordination of gait, staggering, falling to one side, occasional tremors of the head. Excitement intensifies symptoms.
Treatment and Control: No treatment except isolation of affected birds. Vaccinate breeder flocks to provide immunity to chicks.



Cause: A virus of the leukosis-sarcoma complex. Occurs mainly in laying hens between 4 and 10 months or age.
Symptoms: Tumors in the bursa of Fabricius will spread to many other internal organs, especially the liver, spleen and kidney.
Treatment: None.
Control: Development of resistant strains of chickens by Poultry geneticists.



Cause: A virus. Highly infectious, severity varies.
Symptoms: Sudden death is common. Clinical signs include sudden drop in egg production. depression, loss of appetite, blue combs and wattles, diarrhea, blood-tinged discharge from nostrils.
Treatment: None.
Control: Monitoring, strict quarantine and rapid destruction of all infected flocks. Poultry producers should practice strict management control.

* From Diseases of Poultry, a paper by Dr. Gary D. Butcher, DVM, PhD., Poultry Veterinarian, College of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville. From publication PS-5, Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

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