Clinical Signs of E.coli infection in Broilers
- Clinical signs vary from inapparent to total unresponsiveness just prior to death depending on the specific type of disease produced by E. coli.
- Localized infections generally result in fewer and milder clinical signs than systemic diseases.
- Coliform cellulitis is typically not detected until the birds are processed.
- Lameness and retarded growth are seen in birds with skeletal lesions that develop as a sequel to sepsis. When joints or bones of 1 leg are affected, birds walk with a characteristic hopping motion to keep weight off the affected leg.
- Birds with lesions in both legs are either nonambulatory (do not move) or have great difficulty in standing and walking.
- When the thoracolumbar spine is affected, the birds have an arched back, sit on their hocks, and bear little or no weight on their feet.
- Occasionally they will sit back on their tail and hocks with their feet elevated off the ground.
- Birds with chronic lameness have caking of droppings around the vent and on abdominal feathers.
- Severely affected individual birds are unresponsive when approached, do not react to stimuli, and are easily caught and handled. Look into the video for the clinical signs discussed above
- They sit with their eyes closed in a hunched position with drooping of the head, neck, and wings. The beak may be inserted into the litter to support the head.
- Affected birds are typically undersized for the flock and found at the ends of the house, along the side walls, or under feeders or waterers.
- Birds with colisepticemia are often terminally moribund or very lethargic.
- Decreased water consumption is associated with a poor prognosis.
- They may be victims of “cannibalism” by other birds.
- Feces are green with white to yellow urates because of anorexia and dehydration.
- Young birds with omphalitis and infected yolk sacs also may have difficulty in walking because of abdominal distention, which alters weight distribution and impairs balance.
- Dehydration is indicated by dark dry skin, which is especially noticeable in the shanks and feet.
- Dehydrated young chicks typically have prominent raised folds of skin along the medial and lateral sides of the shanks and toenails that appear black.
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