Fowl Pox In Chickens
Fowl pox is an illness seen in chickens and other types of poultry that is caused by a virus. The illness can present itself in two different forms: dry pox or wet pox. In the dry form of fowl pox, the affected bird will develop wartlike bumps on the comb, wattles, earlobes and other non-feathered parts of the body. In the wet form, yellow, firm, cheese-like bumps form inside the mouth and windpipe. These bumps can grow so large that they interfere with the bird’s ability to breathe, eat and drink, which then may lead to the bird’s death.
Fowl pox can be spread by mosquitoes, from bird-to-bird contact through wounds from insect bites, from injuries caused by poorly constructed fencing or housing or fighting; or by inhaling the virus found on infected chicken dander and dust. Luckily, the fowl pox virus spreads from bird to bird quite slowly. So if you have a bird diagnosed with fowl pox, it is possible to vaccinate the remainder of the flock before any symptoms show up in the others to help prevent any further infections.
The fowl pox vaccine is a wing-web stab administered between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Fowl pox is usually found as a combination vaccine along with pigeon pox and avian encephalomyelitis vaccines. Prevention of fowl pox also includes management of mosquito populations by eliminating stagnant water sources in the summer months, regular cleaning and sanitizing of the poultry waterers, and keeping the poultry manure cleaned up to help keep insect populations in check.
Since it is a virus, there aren’t any effective treatments to eliminate the fowl pox virus itself once a bird has become infected. Keep the infected bird isolated from the rest of the flock while it recovers. Supportive therapy to help the bird recover during its illness includes keeping fresh food and water available at all times, making sure the bird is kept warm and dry, and if there are wet lesions developing inside the bird’s mouth, swabbing with a cotton swab to remove large lesions may be necessary. For the dry-form lesions, swabbing with an iodine solution may help heal the scabs and prevent a secondary infection from setting in. In most cases, the infected bird will recover from fowl pox within about 4 to 5 weeks with careful observation, good nutrition and supportive care.
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