Most Common Diseases in Poultry

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 15, 2018
Most Common Diseases in Poultry

Poultry are constantly subjected to diseases that can spread rapidly if they live in colonies. For this reason it is recommended that they have proper bird vaccinations against diseases that are common amongst poultry.

Furthermore, the hygiene of the facilities will be central to combating diseases and parasites. A strict veterinary control is absolutely necessary to address any outbreak of disease.

In this AnimalWised article we will point out the most common diseases in poultry, read on and find out!

You may also be interested in: Most Common Hamster Diseases


  1. IBV
  2. Fowl cholera
  3. Infectious coryza
  4. Avian encephalomyelitis
  5. Bursitis
  6. Avian influenza
  7. Marek's Disease
  8. Newcastle
  9. Fowlpox


IBV is caused by a coronavirus that affects only chickens and chicks. Disordered breathing (wheezing, crackles), runny nose and watery eyes are the main symptoms. It spreads through the air and completes its cycle in 10-15 days.

This common disease in domestic poultry can be prevented through vaccines. Later it is difficult to tackle.

Most Common Diseases in Poultry - IBV

Fowl cholera

Fowl cholera is a highly contagious disease that can attack various species of birds. A bacterium (Pasteurella multocida) is the cause of this disease.

The sudden death of apparently healthy birds is characteristic of this serious disease. Another symptom is that the birds stop eating and drinking. The disease is transmitted through contact between sick and healthy birds. The outbreak appears between 4 and 9 days after contracting the disease.

Disinfection of facilities and equipment is absolutely necessary, as is treatment with sulphas and bacterin. The bodies must be removed immediately to prevent the other birds pecking on it and becoming infected.

Infectious coryza

Infectious coryza is caused by a bacteria called Haemophilus gallinarum. Symptoms are some sneezing, oozing eyes and sinuses, which solidifies and can cause loss of the bird's eyes. The disease is spread through airborne dust or contact between sick and healthy birds. The use of antibiotics in water is recommended.

Avian encephalomyelitis

Avian encephalomyelitis Is produced by a picornavirus. It mainly attacks juveniles (1-3 weeks) and is also amongst the most common diseases in poultry.

Rapid body tremors, unsteady gait and progressive paralysis are the most obvious symptoms. There is no cure and the slaughter of the infected individuals is recommended. Eggs from vaccinated individuals immunizes descendants, hence the importance of prevention through vaccines. On the other hand, faeces and infected eggs are the main vector of infection.

Most Common Diseases in Poultry - Avian encephalomyelitis


Bursitis is a disease caused by a birnavirus. Respiratory noise, ruffled feathers, diarrhoea, tremors and lack of energy are the main symptoms. Mortality does not usually exceed 10%.

It is a highly contagious and a common disease in poultry that is transmitted by direct contact. No cure is known, but vaccinated birds are immune and transmit their immunity through their eggs.

Avian influenza

Avian influenza is caused by a virus of the family Orthomyxovridae. This serious and contagious disease causes the following symptoms: ruffled feathers, crests and swollen chins and oedema in the eyes. The mortality rate is near 100%.

It is believed that migratory birds are the main vector of infection. Also, there are vaccines that reduce the disease mortality and help prevent it. With the disease already contracted, treatment with amadantina hydrochloride in water is beneficial.

Marek's Disease

Marek's disease, one of the most common diseases in poultry, is caused by a herpes virus. A progressive paralysis in the legs and wings is a clear symptom. Tumours in the liver, ovaries, lungs, eyes and other organs are also produced. Mortality is 50% in non-vaccinated birds. The disease is spread by dust that has follicular flakes of the infested bird adhered to it.

Chicks should be vaccinated on their first day of life. Facilities should be disinfected very carefully if there has been contact with sick birds.

Most Common Diseases in Poultry - Marek's Disease


Newcastle disease is produced by a highly contagious paramyxovirus. A hoarse chirping, coughing, wheezing, crackles and respiratory distress are followed by strange head movements (hiding this between legs or shoulders), and an abnormal backwards gait.

Bird sneezing and their droppings are the vector of contagion. There is no effective treatment for this disease that is common in birds. A cyclical vaccine is the only remedy to immunize poultry.


Fowlpox is produced by the Borreliota avium virus. This ailment has two ways of manifesting itself: wet and dry. The wet one causes ulcers in the lining of the throat, tongue and mouth. The dry one produces dry scabs and pimples on the face, crest and chins.

The vector of transmission are mosquitoes and coexistence with infected animals. Only vaccines can immunize birds as there is no effective treatment.

Most Common Diseases in Poultry - Fowlpox

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Most Common Diseases in Poultry, we recommend you visit our Prevention category.

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1 comment
This is important information for me, helping me to know more about common diseases in chickens to help me prevent chickens and chicken care better. I have raised chickens in large numbers so I am very interested in diseases to prevent thuoc ga da
Administrador AnimalWised
Glad we could help!
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Most Common Diseases in Poultry