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Chicken Infectious Anemia

Other Names: Blue Wing Disease, Anemia Dermatitis, Hemorrhagic Syndrome

Chicken infectious anemia (CIA) is a disease of young chicks caused by the chicken anemia virus (CAV). The disease is characterized by aplastic anemia and generalized lymphoid atrophy with concomitant immunosuppression. It is frequently complicated by secondary viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. The disease is controlled by vaccination of breeder chickens so that they can pass on the maternal antibodies to chicks and thus protect them from exposure to the virus in the field.

One of the most specific signs related to CIA is that affected birds will develop anemia about 10-14 days after their first infected. The hematocrit values will typically range from 6 to 27%. They will become pale and depressed. The course of the disease is about 12 to 28 days.


CIAV spreads both vertically and horizontally. Infected chicks will shed high concentrations of the virus in their feces for 5-7 weeks, which other chickens can ingest from fecal contamination of the environment, feed, or water source. It typically takes about 2-4 weeks for the entire flock to become infected. Subclinical infections are frequently observed in commercial flocks.

Clinical Signs

Loss of appetite
Ruffled feathers
Pale comb, wattles, eyelids or legs
Huddling under a heat source
Reduced growth
Red to blue discoloration of skin
Weight loss


  • Virus isolation
  • PCR
  • Increased antibody titers
  • Immunoperoxidase staining


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.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)Supplemented in diet as a powdered herbal extract at a dose of 1%.S.K. Latheef et al., 2017; Mahima et al., 2012
Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)Supplemented in diet as a powdered herbal extract at a dose of 1%.S.K. Latheef et al., 2017
Neem (Azadirachta indica)Supplemented in diet as a powdered herbal extract at a dose of 0.2%.S.K. Latheef et al., 2017



Vaccination - vertical transmission of the disease can be controlled by vaccinating breeding hens with both live attenuated and inactivated vaccines.

Scientific References

Age Range

It occurs in chicken of all ages, however chicks are most susceptible the first 2-4 weeks of life.

Risk Factors

  • Poor sanitation
  • Overcrowding