Ascites in Poultry
Despite investigation of the ascites syndrome for many years, it is still a condition that inflicts financial loss on poultry farmers around the world. It is estimated that of the 40 billion broilers produced annually around the world, 5 percent of these as well as 20 percent of roaster birds die of ascites. The incidence of ascites has been increasing in recent years.
According to an annual survey in the UK, broiler producers reported 88 and 130 million death cases due to ascites in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The cost to the broiler industry of ascites-related condemnation of chicken carcasses at processing reached US$2.25 million dollars in 2003. The cost to the worldwide broiler chicken industry due to ascites related mortality has been estimated to be in excess of US$500 billion per year.
Traditionally, genetics have been blamed for ascites in bird flocks, however, breeding companies have improved genetic resistance of stock to this syndrome. In reality, a considerable number of ascites occurrences are triggered by microbial factors (E. coli, Salmonella sp., Aspergillus) coupled with contributing environmental and nutritional factors.
Acidifiers have gained considerable attention in modern animal production as an efficient alternative to antibiotics. Dietary acidification with organic acids has been shown to contribute to environmental hygiene by preventing feed and water from microbial and fungal deterioration. Moreover, dietary supplementation with acidifiers decreases the occurrence of pathogenic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract thus improving animals' growth performance and health status. It is also proven that acidifiers successfully fight against the gastrointestinal pathogens, like Salmonella sp, E. coli and Campylobacter. With promising results in the alleviation of ascites in broilers, the application of acidifiers can be further expanded.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Biomin.