Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale infection in turkeys: Experimental reproduction of the disease

Stephanie J. Sprenger, Alberto Back, Daniel P. Shaw, Kakambi V. Nagaraja, Donald C. Roepke, David A. Halvorson

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This report details the first experimental production of clinical disease, mortality, and pathology resembling that of field infections by using Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale alone. Twenty-two-week-old male turkeys were exposed to O. rhinotracheale or lung homogenate from O. rhinotracheale-infected turkeys. Within 24 hr after inoculation, turkeys given O. rhinotracheale or lung homogenate intratracheally were depressed and coughing and had decreased feed intake. By 48 hr, several birds were coughing blood and ultimately died. Grossly, the lungs were reddened, wet, and heavy, failed to collapse, and were covered by tenacious tan-to-white exudate. Microscopically, the parabronchi and air capillaries were filled with fibrin, heterophils, macrophages, and small numbers of gram-negative bacteria. The pleura was often covered by a thick layer of fibrin, heterophils, and macrophages. Turkeys that survived to day 7 postinoculation had severe, subacute pneumonia. Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale was recovered from the lungs of most birds with pneumonia and was also cultured from the air sacs, sinuses, tracheas, spleens, and livers. All turkeys inoculated with O. rhinotracheale developed antibodies to O. rhinotracheale detectable by the serum plate agglutination test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-161
Number of pages8
JournalAvian diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


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