Retrospective analysis of post-mortem findings in domestic ducks and geese from non-commercial flocks in Sweden, 2011–2020

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Abstract

Background: Small poultry flock ownership has become a popular hobby in Europe and North America in recent years but there is a general lack of information regarding bird health and welfare. This retrospective analysis of routine post-mortem cases of non-commercial anseriform poultry aimed at providing information on causes of mortality mostly in relation to mortality events. For this purpose, birds that were submitted for routine post-mortem diagnostics to the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) in Sweden in 2011–2020 were retrospectively reviewed to determine main causes of mortality. Results: Records from 79 necropsy submissions involving 120 birds (domestic ducks n = 41, Muscovy ducks n = 45, hybrid ducks n = 2 and domestic geese n = 32) were retrieved and analysed. Most submissions (72.2%) represented flock disease events and unexpected mortality was the most common cause of submission (70.9% of submissions). Twenty-two submissions (27.8%) were referred by veterinarians. There was a wide range of diagnoses of infectious and noninfectious aetiologies. Infectious causes of mortality included parasitic (19.2%), bacterial (13.3%), fungal (10.0%) and viral infections (3.3%) (at bird level of all 120 birds). Some of these infections such as duck virus enteritis (DVE), highly pathogenic influenza (HPAI H5N8) in Muscovy ducks and leucocytozoonosis (Leucocytozoon sp.) in all three species were most likely acquired from contact with wild free-living waterfowl. Generalised yeast infection (Muscovy duck disease) was diagnosed in Muscovy ducks and in a Muscovy duck/domestic duck hybrid. Other diseases were related to generalised noninfectious causes (27.5% of all birds) including diseases such as kidney disease, amyloidosis, cardiac dilatation, reproductive diseases and idiopathic inflammatory conditions. Nutritional or management-related diseases were diagnosed in 14.2% of all birds including rickets and gastrointestinal impaction/obstruction. Congenital/developmental, neoplastic, toxic and traumatic causes of mortality were rare. Conclusions: The information obtained in this study can be used to identify and evaluate risks and help owners and veterinarians to prevent disease and provide adequate veterinary care for non-commercial anseriform poultry.

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Jansson, D. S., Otman, F., Bagge, E., Lindgren, Y., Etterlin, P. E., & Eriksson, H. (2021). Retrospective analysis of post-mortem findings in domestic ducks and geese from non-commercial flocks in Sweden, 2011–2020. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 63(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13028-021-00614-x

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