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Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease which occurs frequently in chickens. It is defined as the hardening of the arteries related to intimal thickening and lipid deposition in the vessel wall. This results in reduced blood flow and the supply of oxygen to cells and organs. The type of artery affected and where the hardening develops varies.
Many chickens with atherosclerosis won't show any clinical signs of being affected, other than sudden death. However, when signs do present, chickens may develop neurological signs such as ataxia, twisted neck, paresis, blindness, convulsions or sudden falling.
Gylling, H., et al. European Atherosclerosis Society Consensus Panel on Phytosterols. Plant sterols and plant stanols in the management of dyslipidaemia and prevention of cardiovascular disease.. Atherosclerosis (2014)