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ThePoultrySite Quick Disease Guide

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Contents of Quick Disease Guide

Dysbacteriosis, Non-specific Bacterial Enteritis

Extracted From:
A Pocket Guide to
Poultry Health
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By Paul McMullin
© 2004
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Inflammation of the small intestine associated with wet litter, excess caecal volume and fermentation, is common in countries with restrictions on the use of antimicrobial growth promoters and pressure to reduce therapeutic antimicrobial usage.

The condition is seen mainly in rapidly growing broiler chickens with good food intake.

Dietary changes, feed interruptions and subclinical coccidiosis may be contributory factors. No single bacterium appears to be responsible, rather we are dealing with a disruption in the normal flora of the gut.


  • Diarrhoea.
  • Water intake may be increased or irregular.

Post-mortem lesions

  • Excessive fluid content throughout the small intestine.
  • Wet faeces in the rectum.
  • Voluminous caecae, often with gas bubbles.


Signs, lesions, microscopic examination of scrapings from the wall of the small intestine (to exclude coccidiosis and perhaps to assess the bacterial flora).


Amoxycillin and tylosin treatment appear to be beneficial, especially where treatment is initiated early. Treatment should coincide with good relittering and it is important to provide fresh sanitary drinking water.


Competitive exclusion ('normal adult flora') use in day-old chicks reduces the risk of this condition. Feed acidification may be helpful in some circumstances.

Careful choice of any feed enzymes and their matching with local raw materials can have an impact on substrates made available to intestinal bacteria.

Good control of coccidiosis. Prophylactic antimicrobial medication may be necessary in some circumstances.

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