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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Experimental Reproduction of a Spiking Mortality Syndrome of Turkeys

Authors
item Davis, James - GA POULTRY LAB, GEORGIA
item McMurtry, John
item Vasilatos-Younken, Regina - PENN STATE UNIVERSITY, PA
item Connolly, Brett - PENN STATE UNIVERISY, PA
item Woolcock, Peter - CALIFORNIA VET, CA
item Dunn, Patricia - PENN STATE UNIV, PA

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 4, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Spiking mortality syndrome of turkeys typically occurs when a group of 2 to 4 week old poults dies acutely with enteritis, severe dehydration, and severe depression. The cause of this syndrome is unknown. Although this disease in turkeys is similar to that which occurs in chickens, some differences in the etiology of the disease are apparent. In turkeys, mortality rates may be as high as 69%, however, affected turkey poults do not exhibit low blood glucose as in chickens. Poults which do survive display runting and general poor health. This study was conducted to determine the changes in circulating hormones which are associated with growth, plasma insulin-like growth factors-1 and 2, insulin, and growth hormone. It was found that poults which survived had very low levels of insulin-like growth factor-1, which would in part, explain the runting condition present in the surviving poults. The results of this study would be of interest to scientists.

Technical Abstract: Two-day old turkey poults were inoculated with either a chicken embryo homogenate or an intestine-pancreas homogenate collected from field turkeys with the syndrome known as spiking mortality of turkeys. Twelve days post inoculation plasma insulinlike growth factor-1 (IGF-1) level and mean body weights were significantly depressed, and the mean plasma growth hormone level was significantly elevated, in the poultry receiving the turkey-derived homogenate, as was previously reported for chickens with spiking mortality syndrome. The depression in plasma IGF-1 levels may explain the runting seen in poults that survive spiking mortality of turkeys in the field. Plasma glucose levels in the affected poults were within the normal range, unlike chickens with spiking mortality syndrome. Immunohistochemistry on formalin-fixed intestines, ceca, and bursae produced positive staining using an arenavirus antibody in epithelial cells of poults inoculated with the turkey homogenate. Poults inoculated with the chick embryo homogenate did not show noticeable disease.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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