Salpingitis is an infection and inflammation of the hen’s oviduct. It is one of the most common causes of mortality in adult backyard and commercial laying hens. The infection is most frequently caused by Escherichia coli
, and less commonly, Actinobacter, Corynebacterium, Pasteurella, Streptococcus
Estrogenic activity involved in the process of egg laying facilitates the migration of infectious pathogens from the cloaca to the oviduct. Once the bacteria gains access to the oviduct, it can penetrate the oviduct wall or travel through the open end of the infundibulum, and enter the bird’s abdominal cavity, resulting in peritonitis.
Salpingitis disrupts the normal functioning of the oviduct, resulting in hens not laying any eggs (although they may continue ovulating internally, which is referred to as “internal laying”), lay erratically, and/or produce abnormal and malformed eggs (such as soft-shelled, shell-less, lash eggs, blood-streaked, decreased size, etc.).
Over time, if the hen continues to lay internally, masses of caseous exudate (egg material) will collect in her abdomen resulting in egg yolk peritonitis
and impaction of the oviduct. The accumulation of this material causes abdominal distension and extreme discomfort for the bird (well, imagine if your body was stuffed full of rotting egg material). She will have difficulty walking and will stand in a classic, “penguin-like” posture.
Most common clinical signs include:
- Laying abnormal or malformed eggs (irregularly shaped, soft shelled, blood-streaked, smaller in size, etc.)
- Not laying any eggs or irregularly laying
- Distended abdomen, which feels hard upon palpation. (Advanced stage)
- Standing with a “penguin-like” posture. (Advanced stage)
- Difficulty walking or perching. (Advanced stage)