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Since approximately 2008, the incidence rate of “classic” tenosynovitis in hens and broiler ﬂocks has been on the increase, even in the face of comprehensive vaccination programs.
Introduction Within the past few years, there has been no shortage of discussion concerning viral arthritis and tenosynovitis across the industry. This has been fueled by an increase in the “classic” forms of the disease both well-defined Jim Stockam, Technical Services Veterinarian and well-diagnosed in chickens, but also by the emergence of similar signs and lesions in meat-type turkeys proven to be associated with avian reovirus. Several issues can be associated with avian reoviruses in chickens such as stunting syndrome, immunosuppression, enteric disease, and respiratory disease. Of these, viral arthritis/tenosynovitis is the most readily diagnosed and arguably of the most economic importance.1 Although reoviruses have been associated with other diseases in commercial turkeys, tenosynovitis has historically been a very uncommon finding. Economic Losses Since the reoviruses that cause tenosynovitis are present worldwide in most commercial poultry operations, the potential for large economic losses is a constant threat in unprotected ﬂocks.2 Both acute and chronic cases produce a varying degree of lameness which leads to increased cull rates and mortality in broiler and hen ﬂocks alike. In
A LO H M A N N A N I M A L H E A LT H N E W S B R I E F
Further Viral Arthritis/Tenosynovitis Updates
affected ﬂocks, clinical signs and lesions are much less pronounced at younger ages but increase in severity as the age increases. Uniformity and feed conversion also suffer partially due to the physical lameness, but also due to the intense immunosuppressive nature of the virus which can cause the birds to be more susceptible to disease. Hens exhibit decreased weights and uniformity which directly affects egg production. Breeding males undergo the same weight challenge which directly affects fertility. As broiler ﬂocks approach processing age, other losses become more obvious resulting in higher feed conversions, lower average daily gains, and sometimes higher medication costs.3 Automated evisceration equipment relies on a certain level of ﬂock uniformity. Poor ﬂock uniformity results in higher contamination and condemnation rates due to physical damage to the carcasses. Gastrocnemius tendon ruptures are
Further Viral Arthritis/Tenosynovitis Updates, p.1
Notes from the Director of Sales, US & Canada, p.4
often very pronounced in these ﬂocks and produce increased condemnation rates of leg quarters due to the green color observed after picking.4
Current Issues Since approximately 2008, the incidence rate of “classic” tenosynovitis in hens and broiler ﬂocks has been on the increase, even in the face of comprehensive vaccination programs. The ﬂocks present with pronounced clinical lameness, swollen hocks, joint immobility,
to be antigenically different from S1133. Also, the turkey isolates have been shown to be pathogenic to both turkeys and chickens when introduced into the foot pad.6 There appears to be considerable variation in disease severity in both the chicken and turkey outbreaks. Some ﬂocks exhibit varying degrees of lameness but very little mortality. Other ﬂocks suffer an increase in mortality of 2-5%. The same inconsistencies have also been noted in weight gain, feed conversion, and susceptibility to secondary infection. Resistance to reovirus infections does increase with age and hens will eventually seroconvert to field challenges which may provide an insight as to the variability of outbreaks. Possible Explanations The question remains as to why previous immunization methods appear to have recently lost some of their efficacy. One possible explanation is that variant strains of reoviruses have always been present but are just now beginning to play a prominent role as etiologies of the disease. Another consideration could be that previously known pathogenic strains may have undergone genetic reassortment much in the same way as inﬂuenza viruses do. Orthoreoviruses are double stranded RNA viruses that are non-enveloped and possess a genome consisting of 10 segments. Due to these properties, they could maintain the ability to undergo reassortment and produce viruses that may be different in antigenicity or pathogenicity. In other words, they have the ability to “reshufﬂe” genetic material in order to produce a different virus while maintaining similar characteristics of the old one. The new virus may cause the same “disease” with the same clinical signs and lesions, but is antigenically
Disease Control History The role of immunization in attempts to control viral arthritis/tenosynovitis is well documented and has been generally successful. Vaccination programs are designed to protect breeders and broilers through the use of multiple vaccinations.5 Protection from ongoing challenges is typically acquired through the application of three live vaccines given to pullets and males within the first 6 weeks of age followed by one or two inactivated vaccines between 10 and 18 weeks of age. Programs such as these have historically induced adequate protection for production hens and provided early parental immunity protection to broiler chicks. The fact that severe forms of the disease have rarely been encountered for several years in wellprotected ﬂocks is clear evidence that the vaccine strains have delivered sufficient cross protection to the general population of field strains commonly found in the industry.
ruptured gastrocnemius/ digital ﬂexor tendons - and mortality in the same manner as has been seen in unprotected ﬂocks. Flocks in question usually exhibit reovirus titers much higher than clinically normal ﬂocks that have received the same vaccination protocols. Also, reovirus can readily be isolated from both acute and chronic lesions. During the same time frame, the Midwest turkey industry has witnessed the emergence of a similar syndrome affecting tom turkeys. This condition is characterized by many of the same clinical signs and lesions seen in chickens with viral arthritis/tenosynovitis.6 Exclusive to turkeys, however, is the dramatic increase in aortic ruptures and the distinctive correlation between ruptured digital ﬂexor tendons and aortic rupture mortality in the same animal. Avian reovirus strains have been isolated from turkey lesions but are reported
different enough that conventional reovirus vaccines are not as effective in immunizing the animal against the new virus. Although there is no hard evidence to substantiate the role of reassortment as it relates to the current situation, virus neutralization assays used to compare the strains have shown that while some of these viruses are of the same serotype, they differ antigenically from the chicken viral arthritis Further attempts are strain S1133.6 underway to characterize these novel strains in hopes of gaining knowledge that will lead to effective live and inactivated vaccines. Summary Poultry operations should strive to attain an accurate diagnosis of lameness thought to be caused by reoviruses. The goal should be to avoid clouding the issue with those factors unassociated with viral arthritis/ tenosynovitis, so that a true disease assessment can be made. A combination of serology, histopathology, virus isolation, and antigen specific testing can be employed to rule in or rule out the presence of a variant field strain. Once determined, integrators may opt to use an inactivated autogenous product in hopes of creating some level of immunity to the new virus strains. However, due to the variability of disease severity and lack of field information, evaluation of these products is difficult and more specific challenge studies need to be completed. Also, without an effective live primer, the level of immunity derived from autogenous products may not be as effective as immunization programs geared toward traditional strains. Hopefully, with a greater
understanding as to the characteristics of these novel strains, more effective vaccines can be developed to assist in control of the changing viral arthritis/tenosynovitis issue. References 1. Rosenberger, J.K. and N.O. Olson. 1997. In B.W. Calnek, H.J. Barnes, C.W. Beard, L.R. McDougald, and Y. M. Saif (eds.). Diseases of Poultry, 10th ed. Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA, 711-718. 2. Dobson, K.N., and J.R. Glisson. 1992. Economic impact of a documented case of reovirus infection in broiler breeders. Avian Diseases 36:788-791. 3. Jones, R.C. Reovirus Infections. 2010. In: Diseases of Poultry. Y. M. Saif, J. R. Glisson, A. M. Fadly, L. R. McDougald, L. K. Nolan, and D. E. Swayne (eds). Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA, 311-___ 4. Johnson, D.C. and L. Van der Heide. 1971. Incidence of tenosynovitis in Maine broilers. Avian Diseases 15:829-834. 5. Schat, K.A., and M.A. Skinner. 2008. Avian Immunosuppressive Diseases and Immunoevasion. In: Avian Immunology. G. Davison, B. Kaspers and K. A. Schat (eds). Elsevier, Ltd., London, U.K. pp 314-337. 6. J. Rosenberger, J. Trites, D. Mills, J. Stockam, S. Rosenberger, and M. Markis. 2012. Characterization of reoviruses isolated from tendons of turkeys presenting with tenosynovitis and digital ﬂexor tendon rupture. Proceedings of the 61st Western Poultry Disease Conference. p 13.
Notes from the Director of Sales
Being able to respond to new and emerging challenges in the poultry industry is a priority for Lohmann Animal Health. Accomplishing this requires commitment, dedication and collaboration. The Technical Service Team at Lohmann Animal Health plays a key role in our ability to respond to challenges. Members of that Tim Hopson Director of Sales, US & Canada team include Jim Stockam, D.V.M. Lohmann Animal Health (author of this Avian Insight), Keith International, Inc. Honegger, D.V.M., Mariano Salem, D.V.M., Sandy Aehle, M.S.; and Andy McRee D.V.M. (Head of Technical Services). This group of avian professionals is committed to assisting customers as well as acting as liaisons between industry, the Research and Development Team at Lohmann Animal Health and many research and diagnostic labs. Our R&D team in Winslow, Maine is dedicated solely to poultry research. This allows Lohmann to respond to emerging issues, in addition to the improvement and development of current and new poultry biologicals. We are grateful for collaboration with our customers, as well as research and diagnostic labs, as we all share the common goal of improving the poultry industry. LAHI offers a number of commercial vaccines with REO isolates for the domestic and international markets. Most common products used domestically are AviPro® 226 BTO2-Reo and AviPro® 442 ND-IB2-BTO2-Reo. Lohmann is always looking at ways to improve products to best match current challenges. Producing a USDA licensed product does take time; Lohmann Animal Health recognizes the poultry industry doesn’t always have that “time.” For that situation, Lohmann can offer the poultry industry Autogenous Vaccines to help manage through those challenges. Talk to one of our avian professionals today to learn more about Lohmann Animal Health and how we can help you or visit our website at www.lahinternational.com.
Lohmann Animal Health International 375 China Road Winslow, Maine 04901, USA Phone: (+1) 207-873 3989
for more information:
(+1) 207-873 3989 (+1) 800-655 1342 www.lahinternational.com
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