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Factors associated with footpad dermatitis prevalence in Canadian turkey flocks

2021 CPRF
Footpad dermatitis (FPD) causes necrosis and lesions on the footpads of poultry and it is one of the most common diseases in turkey production. These lesions can be painful, so birds severely affected by FPD are less active, eat less, and have poorer growth. The cause of FPD is multifactorial and FPD prevalence can be affected by many aspects of production. However, there is a lack of knowledge about factors influencing FPD in Canadian turkey production systems. This study attempted to identify factors associated with FPD prevalence in Canadian turkey flocks using a survey which was sent to 500 turkey farmers across Canada. Participating farmers scored FPD on 30 birds in their flock using a 0-2 scoring scale based on severity. The prevalence of FPD in the flock was estimated as the percentage of affected birds (score >0). Univariable linear regression modelling was used to identify variables for multivariable analysis (P<0.25 or biologically relevant). Forward-stepping multivariable linear regression modelling then identified the model which explained the most amount of variation in the prevalence of FPD. Four variables were included in the final model and accounted for 26.7% of the variation in FPD prevalence: bird weight, litter type, picking up birds during daily inspections, and using feed/water additives to reduce litter moisture. As average bird weight (kg) increased, the prevalence of FPD was higher (3.6±1.13). FPD was also higher in flocks bedded with straw (12.1±7.9) and higher in flocks where the birds were picked up less frequently during daily inspections (11.6±8.10). Lastly, FPD was higher in flocks that used feed/water additives to reduce litter moisture (20.5±10.59) which may be due to these products being applied as a treatment for a current FPD problem than a prevention tactic. These findings are an exploratory assessment of risk factors related to FPD prevalence on Canadian turkey farms and emphasizes the importance of litter management and the stockperson in reducing FPD. However, the estimates from this study need to be interpreted with caution and further longitudinal studies are needed to assess the identified variables influence on FPD more accurately.
Tags :
footpad dermatitis,turkey
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PhD Candidate

University of Guelph

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