Gout in poultry accounts for very high mortalities and morbidity rate in poultry which results in huge loss to poultry farmers. Gout can be described as the metabolic disruption and disorder that leads to kidney damage. It can arise as a result kidney failure and production of excessive uric acid that the kidney cannot excrete. This results in growth depression due to high level of uric acid deposits in the tissues and blood.
Signs of Gout
- Ruffled feathers;
- Reduced feed intake;
- Emaciation and Paralysis;
- Enteritis characterized with moist vent;
- Post mortem shows enlargement of kidney lobules, tiny crystals of urate in the tissues and joints.
There are two types of gout:
- Articular Gout: it is a chronic type of gout and it is characterized with high deposits of uric acid in the joint, tendons and ligaments.
- Visceral Gout: high level of uric acid that causes mechanical damage to the tissues and white chalky crystals will appear on the tissues.
Causes Of Gout
- Poor Feed and Water Management: unbalanced feed especially with high levels of calcium, phosphorus and feed protein should not be above standard requirement. Water deprivation or inadequate water supply to aid flushing out of uric acid, inadequte drinkers or nipples , poor brooding temperatures and very low water pH which irritates the epithelium thereby leading towater rejection.
- Infectious Diseases: This predisposing factors include Infectious bursal disease, Infectious bronchitis and Avian nephritis which is transmitted from mother to chicks.
- High Level Mycotoxin: high level of toxin the feed causes damage to the kidney and ureters i.e Ochratoxin;
- Excessive use of antibiotics and chemicals.
Control of Gout
- Balanced ration should be fed at all times:
- Good quality toxin binder and acidifiers must be included in the feed to take care of toxins and microbes in the feed;
- Efficient disease management: the attention of veterinary doctor should called for vaccination and disease control;
- Adequate ventilation and the right brooding temperature should be maintained;
- Minimal use of antibiotics, copper sulphate, anticoccidial drugs and disinfectants;
- Good biosecurity: consistent check of water and feed quality before they are served to the birds, also standard poultry management should be practised.
Poultry farmers must prevent incidences of gout by ensuring a good management is in place and prevention of any factor that will predispose the birds to have kidney damage.