An outbreak of systemic histomoniasis in 9-to-11-wk-old meat-type male turkeys associated with high mortality is reported. Clinical signs in turkeys included anorexia, depression, diarrhea, loss of weight, and increased mortality between 7 and 13 wk of age. Seven-week cumulative mortality in the turkeys of affected houses ranged from 24% in one to 68% in the other compared with 1.3% of turkeys in the house not affected by histomoniasis. Necropsy of the turkeys revealed enlargement of the livers, most of which had numerous pale white nodules ranging in size from 0.3 to 1.5 cm in diameter. Cecal walls were severely thickened, the lumens were distended with caseous cores, and the mucosa was ulcerated. The bursa of Fabricius in four birds was enlarged and contained pale yellow exudate in their lumens. The kidneys, pancreas, and spleens in a few birds had pale or yellow foci. Microscopically, there were multifocal necrosis and granulomatous inflammation in the liver, ceca, peritoneum, bursa of Fabricius, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, proventriculus, and in spleens associated with histomonads. Electron microscopy also confirmed the presence of histomonads in the liver and ceca. This is the first report of naturally occurring systemic histomoniasis in turkeys affecting the bursa of Fabricius, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, and proventriculus.
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Vol. 53 • No. 2