The objective of this study was to identify the causative agent of cellulitis in turkeys. Eighteen flocks from nine producers were sampled at the local processing plant, and 37 birds with cellulitis on legs or caudal thoracic area were obtained. None of the 37 birds with cellulitis had lesions in other organs. On gross examination, lesions were categorized into two groups: cellulitis with unopened skin lesions (type a) and cellulitis with opened skin lesions (type b). Histopathologically, cellulitis with unopened skin lesions had dermal necrosis with underlying fibrin and inflammatory exudate but cellulitis with open skin lesions had chronic granulomatous/granulation tissue-type reaction associated with foreign material. A complete bacteriologic study was conducted on 25 of 37 birds. Bacteria were isolated from 12 of the 25 birds with cellulitis lesions. No aerobic, microaerophilic, or anaerobic bacteria were isolated from the remaining 13 birds with cellulitis lesions. Escherichia coli was isolated in low numbers in mixed cultures with Proteus mirabilis, Lactobacillus spp., Klebsiella spp., and Staphylococcus spp. in 9 of 12 lesions. The remaining few cases yielded P. mirabilis in pure culture or in mixed culture with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Types a and b cellulitis lesions in turkeys could be associated with primary contact dermatitis and skin abrasions, respectively. Their occurrence is likely associated with different management practices.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1