Broiler producers should be on the lookout for three emerging clinical conditions, said Philip Hammond, partner at Crowshall Veterinary Services.
Myopathy has also been on the increase over the past two years. Mainly found in older birds, post-30 days, it is detected at processing. Affected birds have "hard, white pectoral muscles". In some cases, 10% of a flock are affected, though only one breed at the moment, said Mr Hammond.
Finally, Mr Hammond described a hypoglycaemia complex affecting birds. Presenting between 14 and 30 days, the birds have increased mortality for around three to five days. "Sometimes mortality can be up to 5%." The birds display nervous symptoms, such as tremors, and post-mortem examinations can reveal orange to pink tissue and a streaked appearance to livers and kidneys.
"All three of these diseases are directly related to obesity and rapid growth," says Frank Reese of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch. "Myopathy and endocarditis are both heart-related, because of the small heart crowded by large breast growth. Hypoglycaemia is lower blood sugar, directly related to being obese."