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Dactylariosis

Dactylariosis, previously referred to as ochroconiasis, is a rare fungal disease affecting chickens and turkeys. It is caused by infection with Dactylaria gallopava (also referred to as Ochroconis gallopava), a neurotropic dematiaceous mold. It grows best during hot and humid weather and is more common in tropical or subtropical climates. D. gallopava affects the chicken's respiratory and central nervous system (CNS).

Occurrence of this disease is often associated with contaminated litter made from wood products (wood chips and sawdust) and mold growth in egg incubators. D. gallopava grows well in acidic environments with moderately high temperatures. Cases will reoccur if fungi growth develops in incubators or in the environment of where chickens are kept. Chickens become infected by inhaling the spores from the mold source.

Symptoms

Incoordination
Tremors
Circling
Paralysis
Twisting of neck
Blindness
Difficulty breathing
Death

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Fungal culture
  • Necropsy

Treatment

MethodDetails
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.
Antifungal drugs

Prevention

  • Practice good sanitation
  • Regular disinfection of egg incubators
  • Prevent mold growth by ensuring good airflow in coops and reduce humidity

Scientific References

Age Range

Dactylariosis is a neurotrophic mycotic disease of young chickens, similar to Aspergillus.

Risk Factors

  • Moisture and humidity, mixed with poor ventilation and airflow
  • Not cleaning and disinfecting incubators in between hatchings

Seasonality

WinterSpringSummerAutumn