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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Aspirin and Ascites Syndrome in Broilers

Authors
item Balog, Janice
item Huff, Geraldine
item Rath, Narayan
item Huff, William

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 3, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Ascites in broiler chickens is a disease that closely resembles congestive heart failure in humans. The right ventricle of the heart enlarges, the blood gets thicker and the abdominal cavity fills with fluid. A group of body chemicals called prostaglandins are involved in the regulation of constriction and dilation of blood vessels in mammals and are involved in the formation of blood clots. Aspirin inhibits prostaglandins and should result in less blood clots and should dilate blood vessels, so blood flows more freely. Two trials were conducted to determine the effect of dietary aspirin, a prostaglandin inhibitor, on ascites development in broilers. The experimental design consisted of 1,360 male broiler chicks, which were placed at either local altitude (1,260ft above sea level) or in a hypobaric chamber that simulated an altitude of 9,500ft above sea level. At each elevation, five dietary treatments were employed (Control, 0.025% aspirin, 0.05% aspirin, 0.10% aspirin, and 0.20% aspirin). In both trials, birds raised at high altitudes were significantly lighter, had a higher incidence of ascites, and had several differences in hematology, when compared with birds raised at local elevation. Only in Trial 2, however, did dietary aspirin significantly affect ascites incidence. At the 0.20% aspirin level, ascites incidence was significantly lower when compared to controls (34% vs. 56%). Aspirin, at the 0.20% level, also significantly decreased hematocrit levels when compared to controls. Unfortunately, birds fed 0.20% aspirin also were significantly lighter than controls. This decrease in BW may have been partially responsible for the beneficial effect on ascites development obtained through feeding aspirin.

Technical Abstract: Prostaglandins are involved in the regulation of constriction and dilation of pulmonary blood vessels in mammals and are involved in the formation of blood clots. Birds with ascites, in an effort to counteract hypoxia, will develop greatly increased hematocrit and red cell counts. Increasing hematocrits result in more viscous blood. Two trials were conducted to determine the effect of dietary aspirin, a prostaglandin inhibitor, on ascites development in broilers. The experimental design consisted of 1,360 male broiler chicks, which were placed at either local altitude (1,260ft above sea level) or in a hypobaric chamber that simulated an altitude of 9,500ft above sea level. At each elevation, five dietary treatments were employed (Control, 0.025% aspirin, 0.05% aspirin, 0.10% aspirin, and 0.20% aspirin). At the end of 5 wks, blood samples and organ weights were collected, and all birds were examined for signs of ascites. In both trials, birds raised at high altitudes were significantly lighter, had a higher incidence of ascites, and had several differences in hematology, when compared with birds raised at local elevation. Only in Trial 2, however, did dietary aspirin significantly affect ascites incidence. At the 0.20% aspirin level, ascites incidence was significantly lower when compared to controls (34% vs. 56%, P </= .06). Aspirin, at the 0.20% level, also significantly decreased hematocrit levels when compared to controls. Unfortunately, birds fed 0.20% aspirin also were significantly lighter than controls. This decrease in BW may have been partially responsible for the beneficial effect on ascites development obtained through feeding aspirin.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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