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Dr: Fares El-Khayat
Department of Poultry Diseases
Collage of Vet. Medicine- Kafr El-Sheikh
Economic importance of the parasitic diseases:
1-cause direct serous specific diseases as coccidiosis.
2-cause indirect diseases as anemia due to ectoparasite infestations.
3-transmit other pathogens as virus "leucosis and pox"; bacteria "spirochetosis"
and other parasites "black head diseases".
4-cause annoyance or irritation that lead to decrease of flesh and egg
production i.e. profit eaters.
5-Young birds that recovered from a parasitic infestation → stunted in growth
& show delayed sexual maturity.
Factors affecting The Incidence of Parasitic Diseases:
1-Breed: Heavy breeds are more resistant to ascaridiasis than light breeds.
2-Age: Young birds are more susceptible and seriously affected with parasites
than adult or older birds.
3-Season: ectoparasite infestations have increased incidence in summer or
warm season e.g. fowl tick infestation.
4-Nutrition: Balanced ration increase the resistance to infection with Ascaridia
species. Certain vitamins and/or amino acids have a direct role on the life cycle
of coccidiosis e.g. vitamin B1, B6, biotin, methionin and others.
5-System of housing: tracheal worm infestation and cestodiasis are associated
with the free range system. Coccidiosis is associated with deep litter system.
6-Previous exposure to infestation: In most parasitic infestations a previous
exposure to sub-lethal doses of the parasites provides a sort of immunity. This
fact is used as a rule foe application of vaccines against certain parasites as
7-Hygein: Bad hygienic measures leads to serious parasitic infestation while
strict hygienic; measures leads to decrease in the occurrence of parasitic
8-Management: Overcrowded birds are affected more seriously with parasitic
diseases than uncrowded ones.
9-Use of drugs: the use of coccidiostats decreases incidence of coccidiosis.
Classification of parasitic diseases
I -Metazoan parasites:
1-Nematodes as roundworm (Ascaidiasis), cecal worm "Hetrakiasis",
Hair worm (capillariasis) and Tracheal worm (syngamiasis ).
2-Cestodes that include tape worm infestation or cestodiasis.
3-Trematodes that include Echinostomum revolutum.
B- Ectoparasites includes:
1-Permanent ectoparasites (lice).
2-Intermittent ectoparasites including Ticks, Mite "Red or Roost mite,
Depluming mite (body mange) and Scaly leg mite (leg mange)".
II-Protozoan parasites includes:
1-GIT Protozoan parasites "Coccidiosis, Trichomoniasis, Histomoniasis
2-Blood protozoal parasites " avian malaria, Hemoproteus infestation
(Pigeon malaria), Leucocytozoonosis (Turkey and malaria) and
Tetra-sporocystic dizoic oocyst
Blackhead (Histomoniasis, Enterohepatitis): Blackhead is an acute or chronic
protozoan disease of fowl, primarily affecting the cecae and liver. The disease is
present wherever poultry are raised. Blackhead is one of the critical diseases of
growing turkeys and game birds. It may cause stunted growth, poor feed
utilization and death. It is of lesser economic importance in chickens since they
are more resistant, but the incidence in chickens apparently is increasing.
Hexamitiasis (Infectious Catarrhal Enteritis): Hexamitiasis is an acute
infectious disease of turkeys, quail, ducks, chukar partridges and pigeons.
Heavy losses have been reported in one outbreak in ring-necked pheasants.
Chickens apparently are not affected.
Trichomoniasis in domestic fowl, pigeons, doves, and hawks is
characterized, in most cases, by caseous accumulations in the throat and
usually by weight loss. It has been termed “canker,” “roup,” and, in hawks,
Three ways of transmission: In pigeons, transmission occurs when infected
older birds (carriers) feed "pigeon milk" to newly hatched squabs. Adult
birds, which do not show signs of disease, may carry the infection for a year
or more and are a constant source of infection for their young.
Turkeys & chickens → through contaminated drinking water or food.
Wild birds → eating birds of prey. An infection may be established in a
raptor that has fed on an infected prey bird.
n by blood
lining of B.Vs
T & D malaria.
Avian blood protozoal disease
Anemia, weakness, fever, emaciation
kidney & with
Avian blood protozoal disease
ring” (0.5-4 µm)
oval bodies in
lateral to the
film shows large
along edges &
tail of smear. It
lack pigment &
distort RBC or
WBC, making it
Shape of it varies
while others are
s in R.B.Cs.
stain shows the
leaving a thin
Avian blood protozoal disease
(10 ppm) in feed
Avian blood protozoal disease
Parasitic diseases (external)
All classes of poultry are susceptible to mites, some of which are blood-suckers,
while others burrow into the skin or live on or in the feathers.
Others occur in the air passages and in the lungs, liver and other internal organs.
Poultry mites cause retarded growth, reduced egg production, lowered vitality,
damaged plumage and even death. Much of the injury, consisting of constant
irritation and loss of blood, is not apparent without careful examination.
The Common Chicken Mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) is the most common mite
found on all types of poultry. It is a blood-sucker, and when present in large
numbers, loss of blood and irritation may be sufficient to cause anemia. Egg
production is seriously reduced.
This mite feeds at night, and usually remains hidden in cracks and crevices during
the day. It attacks birds at night while they are on the roost. In heavy infestations,
some mites may remain on the birds during the day. About a day after feeding, the
female lays eggs in cracks and crevices of the house. The eggs hatch and the mites
develop into adults within about a week. During cold weather, the cycle is slower.
A poultry house remains infested four to five months after birds are removed.
Since the mite feeds on wild birds, these birds may be responsible for
spreading infestations. However, it is more likely that spread of the mite is
promoted by using contaminated coops. Human carriers are also important.
Since these mites do not stay on the birds during the day, apply treatments to
houses and equipment as well as the birds.
The Scaly-Leg Mite (Knemidocoptes mutans) lives under the scales on feet and
legs of poultry. It also may attach to the comb and wattles.
It causes thickening of scales on the feet and legs that gives the impression that
the scales are protruding directly outward, rather that laying flat on the limb.
It spends its entire life cycle on the birds and spreads mainly by direct contact.
The Depluming Mite (Knemidocoptes laevis, variety gallinae) causes severe
irritation by burrowing into the skin near the bases of feathers and frequently
causes feathers to be pulled out or broken.
The mite is barely visible to the naked eye and can be found in follicles at the
base of the feathers. The mites crawl around the birds at times, spreading from
bird to bird.
1-Ascardiasis (large round worm): Grayish white, 1½ to 4 inches long"
length varies with age and species", infecting the duodenal lumen. Ascaridia
species, usually of semi-mature and mature birds manifested by severe
Primary species: Ascarida galli that affect chickens and less frequently
turkeys. Other species "Ascarida colmbse" affect pigeon.
Location: intestinal lumen.
Symptoms: all ages, the greatest damage is in young birds less than 12 wks
of age. Unthriftiness, droopy wings, emaciation, reduced egg production.
Treatment: Piperazine salts are the dug of choice.
Roundworms in small intestine Ascaridia galli eggs
2-Cecal Worms: White, ¼- to ½-inch long "length varies with age and
species" worms infecting the lumen of the cecal pouches. Several species of
Primary species: Heterakis gallinae
Location: Cecal lumen.
Symptoms: With heavy infection (500), especially in young birds,
listlessness, depression and unthriftiness are present. In production birds,
heavy infestation of cecal worms can adversely affect production. Cecal
worm eggs can be carriers of the blackhead organism Histomonas meleagridis .
Autopsy: Large numbers of worms can cause thickening of the cecal walls,
Treatment: Phenothiazine is the drug of choice. Piperazine salts,
Hygromycin B and Levamisole in the feed.
Gapeworms = Tracheal worm
Syngamus trachea (gapeworm)
Primary species: Syngamus trachea
Location: Inner lining of trachea.
Symptoms: Respiratory distress and death may occur from
Autopsy: Red worms can be found in trachea causing inflammation,
ulceration and accumulation of mucus in the trachea.
3-Capillaria or hair roundworms
Primary species: Capillaria amulata
Location: Embedded in the mucosal lining of the SI.
Symptoms: Droopiness, anemia, muscular weakness, loss of
appetite, foul breath, emaciation, twisting of the neck and paralysis
of the legs are described.
Autopsy: To identify presence of small roundworms, scrape mucosa
of infected area, wash through a fine mesh screen, and backwash into
a large glass jar. Identify worms suspended in the backwash.
Inflammation and thickening of walls are described.
Treatment: Levamasole in drinking water, Hygromyacin B in feed.