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Brooder Pneumonia

Brooder pneumonia is the acute form of aspergillosis that frequently affects newly hatched chicks. It is a non-contagious, opportunistic infection that predominately affects the chick's respiratory tract, however any organ system may be affected. It is caused by infection with Aspergillus molds. Aspergillus fumigatus is the most common species isolated from infected birds, followed by A. flavus, A. nidulans, and A. amstelodami.

Transmission


Chicks become infected with Aspergillus through environmental exposure.

Clinical Signs

Difficulty breathing
Reduced feed intake
Increased thirst
Weakness
Open-mouthed breathing
Lethargy
Blindness
Enlarged abdomen

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Laboratory tests
  • Necropsy

Treatment

NameSummary
Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
Itraconazole10 mg/kg administered orally, twice a dayK Marx
Amphotericin B1 mg/kg administered IT, TID + 1.5 mg/kg IVK Marx
Ketoconazole60 mg/ml
Tarwood (Loxostylis alata) extract200 mg/kgM Suleiman, N Duncan, J Eloff, V Naidoo
Ant. Tartrate30C once a day for 3 daysK. Glos 2015
Drosera rotundfolia30C once a day for 3 daysK. Glos 2015

Prevention

  • Not purchasing or shipping chicks in the mail
  • Keep warm, do not expose to cold
  • Do not overcrowd birds
  • Daily removal of any leftover uneaten feed
  • Inspecting feed regularly for signs of mold.
  • Frequently move feeders and water dispensers to different areas and place on elevated platforms to minimize spillage
  • Conduct regular air quality tests
  • Clean droppings from brooder daily, to reduce build up of ammonia fumes.
  • Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  • Exposing chicks to dusty conditions

Scientific References

    Age Range

    Newly hatched chicks are highly susceptible.

    Risk Factors

    • Shipping chicks in the mail
    • Exposure to damp, poorly ventilated areas
    • Exposure to moist, moldy or dusty bedding and/or straw or hay bales
    • High air temperatures combined with high humidity
    • Exposure to dust
    • Build up of ammonia, caused by excessive accumulation of feces
    • Cold stress
    • Any accumulation of moisture
    • Stress in general