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Vitamin E Deficiency
Avian Encephalomalacia, Crazy Chick Disease, Hypovitaminosis E
Vitamin E Deficiency Overview
Vitamin E deficiency is an essential nutrient for chickens of all ages, and its deficiency causes several disorders. These include erythrocyte hemolysis, nutritional muscular dystrophy, cerebellar encephalomalacia, and exudative diathesis.
Encephalomalacia: Encephalomalacia is a serious disorder that causes permanent tissue damage to the chicken's brain, as a result of localized softening of the cerebral. This form of vitamin E deficiency occurs most often in chickens that are getting fed a diet containing high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids of the linoleic acid series (such as that found in many cooking oils) and low levels of vitamin E. Dilauryl succinate has also been documented to induce encephalomalacia in chickens.
Exudative diathesis (ED): ED occurs as a result of selenium deficiency in chickens, and it primarily affects the capillary walls. Clinical signs observed include greenish-blue discoloration of the skin in localized areas of the chick's body, along with edema and hemorrhages, often resulting in bow-legged posture and pendulous (loosely hanging) crop in the throat latch area.
Nutritional muscular dystrophy: Nutritional muscular dystrophy, also known as white muscle disease or nutritional myopathy, is a disease that primarily affects the chicken's striated muscles. It involves progressive weakness and degeneration of the muscles that control movement. Affected chicks are often unable to stand or walk, and are seen on the ground with their legs spread laterally.
The National Research Council’s Committee on Animal Nutrition recommends that chickens receive 10 IU of vitamin E per kg feed (1 IU = 0.67 mg dl-α-tocopheryl acetate) from hatch until they are up to six weeks old, and then 5 IU/kg feed for chickens older than six weeks of age.