Fowl Pox In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment
Fowl Pox In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment; Pox does not spread fast, and it is among the slowest viral infections of the chicken. It usually shows scab-like lesions on the bird’s skin, especially on the unfeathered parts. It can also appear on the wet or diphtheritic membranes that line the air passage and mouth. Pox had been recorded in chicken centuries ago, and it has global coverage.  When infected, the chicken will experience a reduction in egg production, poor feed conversion, and poor growth.  If the lesions do not go beyond the skin, then the rate of mortality will be low.  However, the involvement of the air passage or oral cavity can lead to increased mortality; it is usually associated with death.        
Fowl Pox In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment
1. Wart like growth in the non-feathered parts of the body


Nature of the diseases

•    Fowl pox is a contagious viral disease of the poultry, and it is widely prevalent. It spreads slowly and very common.
•    Its growth usually appears like warts on the unfeathered areas of the skin, as well as the digestive systems and upper respiratory mucosa.
•    All age groups of birds are affected by the diseases 
•    This condition is important economically because it can lead to increased mortality, reduction in egg production and poor weight gain.    
•    No zoonotic importance has been recorded against it to date.


Causes Of Fowl Pox In Poultry

•    Avipoxvirus is the organism responsible for this condition.  This virus can remain active for several years on dried scabs, and it is considerably resistant to common disinfecting procedures
•    The virus never enters the skin if the surface is not broken.  This means the virus can only gain access, replicate and cause infection in the epithelial cell if the surface is broken.
•    The diseases can be transmitted mechanically via direct contact by biting insects like mosquitos and by contact with contaminated soil or materials that lacerate the skin.
•    The virus can also be carried from dried scabs and feather follicles, which will form droplets or aerosols in the environment, thereby promoting the spread of the infection.
•    It can also be spread via the respiratory tract
•     The virus can be carried from to healthy birds from infected ones during vaccination
•    It can be deposited into the eyes, and it will enter via the lachrymal duct into the larynx, where it can cause upper respiratory tract infection              
•    The disease is common during the winter and rainy seasons. Its spread is also promoted by unhygienic and conditions and overcrowding.
•    This disease can cause a lot of problems in farms where many birds are reared; the problem cannot be eliminated even after vaccination.
Fowl Pox In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment
2. Wart-like growth in the non-feathered parts of the body


Fowl Pox In Poultry: Signs, Causes, Control And Treatment
3. Wart-like growth in the non-feathered parts of the body

Clinical symptoms   

•    Fowl Pox In Poultry can show up either in the form: diphtheritic or cutaneous form. It can also appear as both.
•    The fowl will experience a reduction in egg production, as well as poor weight gain.
•    The cutaneous form is also called dry pox. The lesions will come up on the non-feathered part of the body, corner of the beak, external nares, eyelids, wattles, and comb.
•    The sight of the bird may be affected by the lesion that appears on the eyes. Also, the bird may not be able to reach water and feed when the lesion appears close to the eyes. This will lead to starvation, which may culminate in death.
•    The bird equally experiences papule formation, which will lead to vesicles formation, then pustules formation, and later, Crust or scab. Finally, the bird experiences scar formation.
•    The rate of mortality is low and rarely exceed 25% in the cutaneous form
•    The diphtheritic form is also called the fowl diphtheria or wet pox. This form comes with small nodules at the initial stage, and the nodules form on the mucous membrane of the trachea, esophagus and mouth.
•     Then at a later stage, the nodules assume the cheesy yellow appearance and form a diphtheritic membrane on the organs, which will lead to feeding and breathing problems since it causes interference and obstruction of the airway and mouth.  Mortality can be as high as 50% in this case.


Gross lesion

•    At the initial stage, the lesion looks like a nodular area and have blanched appearance or papule.
•    Then later, the lesion looks yellowish and bigger, and it will become a dark, thick scab.


Control and prevention

•    You can control this problem using two different types of vaccines, which are fowlpox and pigeon pox vaccines.
•    You can use the pigeon pox vaccine on the chicken at any stage of development, and it can be applied via wing web method. It is less pathogenic and can boost immunity of the bird for six months. This means the bird needs to be vaccinated again after the duration.
•    The bird can get solid immunity from fowl pox vaccine. This vaccination is usually done between six and eight weeks of life via wing web method or intramuscular injection.
•    The bird can be examined about ten days after the vaccination for scab or swelling at the point where the vaccine was given; this shows effective or successful vaccination.
•    If these swellings do not appear, it shows that the vaccine has poor potency.  It can also show improper vaccination or presence of maternal antibodies.
•    When such a situation arises, the bird should be given a lot of the same vaccine or a new type of vaccine entirely.  
•    If the affected birds are less than 30% after a disease outbreak, the affected birds should be quarantined, and the remaining birds should be vaccinated as early as possible.
•    The fowlpox can be controlled via biosecurity measures and standard sanitation
•     The premises should be disinfected using 3% phenol, 1:400 cresol and 1:500 sodium hydroxide.


Treatment Of Fowl Pox In Poultry

Antibiotics cannot be used in treating fowl pox since it is caused by a virus. Fowl pox can, however, lead to secondary infection, which can be managed using antibiotics. You can apply triple antibiotics creams and ointments for the external sores consequent of the dry form of the infection.  You can apply a cotton ball soaked in iodine on troublesome sores; the iodine will be absorbed into the sore and sterilize the sore and also kill the bacteria in it.  You can equally apply the iodine to the corner of the mouth or eyes, provided the ointment does not have painkillers.


If it is wet pox, systematic antibiotics will rarely have any effect; this is because a virus is responsible for the respiratory problem associated with the condition.  You should get in touch with a veterinarian if the bird starts experiencing respiratory distress.  You can also soothe the irritated airways by giving the bird VetRx or other related products.  The drug will help the bird to feel better and improve breathing.


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