Air Sac Disease


Mycoplasmosis/CRD/Air Sac Disease

Mycoplasmas are microorganisms that infect birds, animals and people.  Mycoplasma strains can infect the respiratory system and joints of chickens.  There are strains that are weak and strains that are unusually virulent and other strains that inhabit respiratory systems even during good health.  How a bird reacts to Mycoplasmas depends on the genetics, the age of the bird, and general health of the bird.\

Chickens might be infected or colonized early in life with no effects but will be present and take over if the bird gets sick or stressed.  Antibiotics will reduce the amount of bacteria but will never eliminate it.  A healthy bird will keep the bacteria in check.  Once the bacteria get out of control the respiratory tract will be susceptible to other infections or yeasts.

Chickens are most vulnerable to Chronic Respiratory Disease or CRD which is an infection of mycoplasma complicated with a secondary infection.  You can vaccinate chickens with a strain of Mycoplasma that colonizes the respiratory tract but can’t cause the disease.  Eye drops are used to vaccinate

If a bird comes down with CRD expect the cause to be stress caused by overcrowding, poor sanitation, wet litter, parasites, or poor feed.  The symptoms will be watery eyes, breathing difficulties, weight loss, green mucus in the droppings and even death.
 Mycoplasma synoviae (MS)

Is an infections with symptoms of arthritis, synovitis and bursitis in hens and turkeys.  The birds will show signs of being lame, tired, and slow growth.   Mortality rates are low, around 10% and young chickens and turkey poults are susceptible.   Wet litter can exacerbate the symptoms.    The birds become more and more exhausted as the disease progresses.  The cause is M. synoviae, a microorganism that can be transferred through respiratory means. 
Keeping birds in sanitary conditions and keeping wild birds, rats, mice, and other rodents away from the flock will go a long way in minimizing the amount of disease you have to deal with.  Hybrid birds will be more vigorous and healthy than pure breed birds and biosecurity is an absolute must if you want to minimize the chances of contagion.




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