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Cutaneous Mucinosis

Cutaneous mucinosis is a skin disorder that occurs in certain strains of brown-egg laying chickens. It is characterized by the development of excessive amounts of hyaluronic acid (HA) (formally called "mucin") along the inner skin layer of affected chickens.

Cutaneous mucinosis has previously only been described in humans, dogs (particularly the Chinese Shar-Pei dog breed), and sometimes cats. In it's vesicular form, the syndrome manifests as the development of small, translucent, blister-like bubbles (technically referred to as vesicles) on the skin of the legs, shanks, and feet of affected chickens. These vesicles are fragile and as such are highly susceptible rupturing and leaking out a sticky substance, which is the hyaluronic acid. This weak skin barrier makes affected chickens more susceptible to bacterial skin infections.

Clinical Signs

Feather loss on the head, neck, keel and thigh
Scaly, dry skin
Weight loss
Decreased egg production
Skin may have a slight green tinge
Reduced feed consumption


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory tests
  • Necropsy

Reported Cases

  • Case 1: Cutaneous mucinosis in a Laying hens Twenty-six brown egg–laying chickens between ages 43 and 46 weeks had a history of feather loss, scaly, dry skin, weight loss, and decreased egg production. Microscopic findings in the skin included fragmentation of collagen bundles and interstitial, periadnexal, and perivascular dermal accumulation of wispy, mildly basophilic material that was also occasionally observed within the follicular epithelium. A moderate lymphoplasmacytic and heterophilic perivascular dermatitis was also observed. The wispy to granular material was diffusely Alcian blue positive and periodic acid–Schiff negative (consistent with mucin), suggesting a diagnosis of primary or secondary cutaneous mucinosis. The cause of this condition could not be determined. Ref


There is no treatment::


Scientific References

Age Range

Adult, brown-egg laying hens are most at risk.

Risk Factors

  • Rhode Island Red cross breed