Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/2010
Publication Date: 10/5/2010
Citation: Huff, G.R. 2010. Osteomyelitis in turkeys. In: Proceedings of the NC Turkey Industry Days Conference, October 5 - 7, 2010, in Wilmington, NC. Section 5. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Turkey osteomyelitis complex (TOC) is a condition in which apparently healthy, usually male birds have infections that are hidden in their bones, joints, and muscles. Some of these birds have a green liver, which provides a method for detecting these carcasses in the processing plant. Our research has provided evidence of a link between TOC and the degree of stress in the production environment. It appears there may be a cumulative effect of the various stressors involved in turkey production, which can have a profound effect on the immune system of some fast-growing male birds, leading to decreased resistance to opportunistic bacterial infection. There appears to be a genetic component because lines of turkeys selected for fast growth have a higher incidence of TOC in experimental challenges. This suggests that it may be possible to genetically select birds with a more appropriate physiological response to production stressors. In addition, these studies demonstrate the effects that stressors can have on body weight and feed conversion as well as condemnation problems such as air sacculitis and cellulitis, which are prevalent in our stress challenge studies. We hope this research will encourage producers to evaluate their production practices with an eye on reducing stress, or any changes in the production environment, whenever possible.