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ThePoultrySite Quick Disease Guide

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Contents of Quick Disease Guide

Vitamin E Deficiency, Encephalomalacia, Exudative Diathesis, Muscular Dystrophy

Extracted From:
A Pocket Guide to
Poultry Health
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By Paul McMullin
© 2004
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A spectrum of diseases of chickens and turkeys, occasionally ducklings and other birds, seen worldwide, characterised by oxidation of various tissues and caused by Vitamin E deficiency. The problem is associated with feed rancidity typically in diets with high fat. Encephalomalacia and exudative diathesis tends to be seen in young birds of 1-5 weeks of age. Muscular dystrophy is seen more frequently in older and mature birds.


  • Imbalance.
  • Staggering.
  • Uncontrolled movements.
  • Falling over.
  • Paralysis.
  • Ventral oedema.
  • Green wings.

Post-mortem lesions

  • Swollen cerebellum with areas of congestion.
  • Haemorrhage.
  • Necrosis.
  • Blood-stained or greenish subcutaneous oedema.
  • Steatitis.
  • White streaks in muscle.


Signs, lesions, feed rancidity, histopathology, response to medication. Differentiate from Encephalomyelitis, toxicities, necrotic dermatitis.


Vitamin E and/or selenium in feed and/or water. Broad-spectrum antibiotics where there are extensive skin lesions.


Proper levels of vitamin E, selenium, antioxidant, good quality raw materials.

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