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Foot-pad dermatitis and experimentally induced coccidiosis in young turkeys fed a diet without anticoccidia.


Foot-pad dermatitis (FPD) is a widespread challenge to turkey production. This study aimed at evaluating the effects of using floor heating and exposure to litter with critical moisture content (35%) under experimental infection with Eimeria. adenoeides on the severity of FPD in turkeys. Two trials were done; in each trial, 4 groups of 2-wk-old female turkeys were reared over 4 wk. At the start of the experiment (d 14), each bird had normal foot pads. All birds were fed ad libitum on identical pelleted diets without any anticoccidial additive. The first 2 groups were kept on dry wood shavings with or without floor heating; the other 2 groups were housed on wet wood shavings of 35% moisture with or without floor heating. Two birds in each of the 4 groups were experimentally infected with E. adenoeides via crop intubation (~50,000 oocysts/bird). Foot pads were assessed weekly for external scoring and at d 42 of life for histopathological scoring. The number of oocysts eliminated via excreta was determined. In both trials, using floor heating resulted in significantly decreased FPD scores (2.06 ± 0.735; 1.47 ± 0.734, trials 1 and 2, respectively) compared with groups housed without floor heating (3.88 ± 0.812; 2.73 ± 1.25, trials 1 and 2, respectively). Birds continuously exposed to wet litter (35% moisture) showed significantly increased FPD scores (3.41 ± 1.23; 2.69 ± 1.34, trials 1 and 2, respectively) compared with the group not exposed to wet litter (2.53 ± 1.00; 1.53 ± 0.683, trials 1 and 2, respectively). The coccidial infection in both trials resulted in markedly lowered DM contents of excreta (14.8 and 15.1%, trials 1 and 2, respectively) and litter (58.0 and 57.6%, trials 1 and 2, respectively) in the groups exposed to wet litter without using floor heating. In both trials, using floor heating resulted in the highest mean DM content of litter (85.1 and 85.0%, trials 1 and 2, respectively) and the highest BW (2,693 and 2,559 g, trials 1 and 2, respectively). The results suggest that induced diarrhea caused by coccidial infection led to poor litter quality, and hence, increased the severity of FPD, which can be overcome by using floor heating.


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    Institute of Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation, Hannover, Germany.

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    Poultry science 91:3 2012 Mar pg 627-35


    Floors and Floorcoverings
    Foot Diseases
    Housing, Animal
    Poultry Diseases
    Statistics, Nonparametric

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article



    PubMed ID