Opportunistic observations of and necropsies from selected commercial (meat) turkey flocks revealed skeletal lesions consistent with chondrodystrophy, characterized by leg and vertebral deformities, occurring at very low incidences in turkeys from two primary breeds and various multiplier breeder flocks. Mycoplasma organisms were cultured and identified as Mycoplasma iowae by immunofluorescence and polymerase chain reaction from some of the vertebral lesions but not from leg joints. This is the first detailed description of the gross and microscopic lesions of vertebral chondrodystrophy associated with M. iowae, which should now be considered in the differential diagnosis of turkeys with these lesions.
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This work was supported, in part, by the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine and the State of North Carolina. The authors thank Paula Jay, Sile Huyan and Judith McLaren for valuable technical assistance.