Med. Weter. 69 (5), 298-303, 2013

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Szeleszczuk P., Dolka B., Żbikowski A., Dolka I., Peryga M.
First case of enterococcal spondylitis in broiler chickens in Poland
A new threat to poultry in countries with intensive poultry production is now Enterococcus cecorum. Recently it has been shown that this species is the etiologic agent of enterococcal vertebral osteoarthritis (EVOA) in chickens. Typical places where bacteria come to the proliferation are thoracic vertebrae, hip joints and ankles. It is not known precisely what mechanisms influence the affinity of enterococci for these places and how bacteria enter them. In the present study the first case in Poland of enterococcal spondylitis caused by E. cecorum in broiler chickens has been described. Birds at the age of 6 weeks showed problems with moving, sitting posture, arching of the back. Decreased weight gain and increased culling were noted. During necropsy the characteristic abscess in the Th6-Th7 vertebra compressed of the spinal cord and femoral head necrosis was observed. The disease was confirmed by bacteriological tests and PCR. Many issues concerning the meaning of E. cecorum in pathology of poultry are unknown. More research is needed on the pathogenesis and development of effective prevention methods and therapy.
Key words: Enterococcus cecorum, enterococcal spondylitis, Enterococcal Vertebral Osteoarthritis in chickens