Effects of mycotoxins on the bone structure and leg weakness in poultry
Leg abnormalities probably cause more economic losses than any other single abnormality in the chicken house.
Around 20 percent of condemnations in broilers from farms with high condemnation rates were directly or indirectly attributable to leg weakness
This article suggests mycotoxins are one of the nutritional factors causing skeletal disorders and lists the various bone diseases in broilers possibly caused by mycotoxins.
During 2004 and 2005, a survey was done in India on poultry feeds where out of 984 feed samples analyzed, 824 samples were found to be positive for the presence of aflatoxin, ochratoxin and T-2 toxin. Of these cereals, cereal by-products, oilseed meals and finished feeds, more than 90 percent tested positive for mycotoxins. Not only are aflatoxins a problem in the region; but also ochratoxins and T-2 toxin.
Nevertheless, mycotoxin surveys around the world indicate protein sources such as rapeseed meal, cottonseed meal, and palm kernel meal are more susceptible to mycotoxin contamination than conventional raw materials such as soybean meal.
Owing to high prices of conventional raw materials, feed manufacturers have opt for alternatives to soybean meal and this has increased the potential for mycotoxicoses for many livestock species.
Higher cost of maize has forced a look at other energy sources, including byproducts such as rice bran, wheat bran and screenings.
Many mycotoxins are concentrated in the outer covering of the seeds and therefore the chances of mycotoxin related problems are increased when such materials are used in animal rations.
Some of the bone diseases discussed in this article include Tibial Dyschondroplasia, characterized by an abnormal cartilage mass in the proximal head of tibiotarsus, a condition most common in broiler chickens and rickets.
Another disease discussed is articular gout, which is the condition in which high plasma uric acid leads to precipitation of urate crystals either in synovial fluid and tendon sheaths of various joints.
The article also estimates the economic losses due to the leg abnormalities and culling rates typical in most farms.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Biomin.