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Kinky-back Syndrome

Spondylolisthesis

Kinky-back syndrome, otherwise known as spondylolisthesis, is a skeletal spinal disorder of chickens. It is defined as the ventral dislocation of the anterior end of the articulating 4th thoracic vertebrate, which rotates the posterior end causing it to pinch the spinal cord. The damage to the spinal cord results in the onset of partial posterior paralysis in the chicken.

Chickens with kinky back syndrome are often seen sitting on their tail, extending their feet outward or letting them fall over to one side of their body. Once the condition stops birds from being able to walk, they are unable to reach food or water on their own, and are at risk of dying from starvation.

Clinical Signs

Arched back
Extending neck outward
Using wings to assist with walking
Walking backwards
Hock-sitting posture
Lameness
Sitting on tail with feet extended
Falling over sideways

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Radiographs

Treatment

Supportive care: Provide a therapeutic support device, such as a sling, chicken wheelchair, etc. to help take some of the pressure off of their legs.

Prevention

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Heavy, meat-type chicken breeds such as broilers are more prone to developing this condition, as a result of rapid growth.
  • Females are more at risk than males.