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Other Names: Thyroid Hyperplasia, Dysplasia
Avian goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the chicken's thyroid gland, which is located in the neck. It's presence does not necessarily mean that the thyroid gland is malfunctioning, but rather indicative that there is a condition present that is causing the thyroid to grow abnormally. There are several conditions associated with the development of goiter, such as:
Dietary iodine deficiency The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce thyroid hormones. When there is not enough iodine in the blood, it causes the brain to signal the thyroid glands resulting in a proliferation of follicular epithelial cells, eventually resulting in enlargement of thyroid gland.
Exposure to toxins: When chickens are exposed to high levels of organosphosphates or chlorinated biphenols it can cause an enlargement and hperplasia of the glands.
Septicemic diseases: When they are associated with an acute onset it can affect the thyroid glands and causes inflammation and hyperplasia.
In chickens, avian goiter is most often caused by excessive eating of goitrogenic agents, such as kale, broccoli, turnips, cabbage, flax rapeseed, and soybeans.