Presenter – Victoria Roberts BVSc MRCVS. An honorary avian lecturer at Liverpool Vet School,
honorary vet to The Poultry Club, she edits the British Poultry Standards, has had a column in Country Smallholding for 10 years, and is currently President of the British Veterinary Zoological Society.

So here it is, the long awaited follow up to “Treating Pet Chickens – Part 1” and, unlike a number of film sequels, this more than matched up to the first in the series.

Victoria Robert’s initial webinar concentrated on the husbandry and general health checks of this ever increasing visitor to the small animal practitioner. “Part 2” premiered last week and quickly got down to the ‘Nitty gritty’ of backyard poultry diseases with discussions centring around their diagnosis and treatment. From parasites to respiratory disease, a whole battery (pardon the pun) of diseases was discussed in the short space of an hour.

External parasite discussions featured ‘bad boy’ mites, known for their pathogenicity with the northern fowl mite hitting the headlines as being the most pathogenic. This mite stays on the bird permanently and its constant feeding on blood meals will inevitably cause anaemia.

The scaly leg mite also featured and although treatment is easy, involving the dunking of legs in surgical spirit, the affected skin would not look normal again until the bird moults which is usually on a yearly basis. Victoria was also keen to stress that fipronil should never be used in chickens for the treatment of ectoparasites, as it has been shown to get into eggs and alter embryological development.

Internal parasites featured gapeworm, ascarids and tapeworm, but capillaria was cited as the most pathogenic of all the internal parasites and can be quickly fatal to its host. Even if one capillaria egg is found on faecal examination, this must be viewed as significant and treatment must be instigated. Flubendazole is the treatment of choice for worming chickens as there is no egg withdrawal time, and at the stated licensed dose should treat all relevant worms except for tapeworm where a higher dose is required

Respiratory disease is commonly encountered within poultry medicine and Victoria was keen to distinguish between Mycoplasmosis and Infectious Bronchitis, two respiratory diseases commonly seen in poultry. Mycoplasmosis is highly contagious and produces a ‘sweet smelling’ nasal discharge and some foaming within the eyes. Most poultry with Mycoplasmosis require some sort of intervention before they get better. Infectious Bronchitis(IB) is much more transient and often owners will report a number of their flock having suffered from snivelling and sneezing which then went on to recover without any intervention. Despite their apparent recovery, the virus responsible for IB goes on to localise in the oviduct where affected chickens will produce either eggs with poor shells or no shells at all.

Treatment of many respiratory diseases involves the use of antibiotics, but Victoria stressed that Baytril Oral should never be used as treated poultry would need to be completely removed from the food chain. Ms Roberts advised using Tylan soluble powder, and if chronicity appears to have developed then Tylan 200 injection could be used at 0.5ml injected IM into breast muscle and repeated after 48hrs. No more than two injections should be given as it has the potential to cause muscle necrosis and would also be ineffectual.

There is so much more content from ‘Part 2’ that I could bombard you with, including the use of cider vinegar in drinking water which can play an integral role in keeping poultry healthy, as well as a number of ‘top tips’ on emergency and critical care. It was a fantastic follow up webinar to Part 1 and in my opinion should be a real hit at the box office.

The Stethoscope (MRCVS)

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