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Induction of eggshell apex abnormalities in broiler breeder hens

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Recently, the causal relationship between eggshell apex abnormalities (EAA) and Mycoplasma synoviae was described. This eggshell pathology has only been documented in table egg layers both spontaneously and experimentally infected with M. synoviae, suggesting that meat-type layers are less prone to this condition. In this study the susceptibility of specified pathogen free (SPF) broiler breeder hens to produce eggs with EAA after M. synoviae infection was assessed. Five groups of 12 hens each were made: a negative control group, a group inoculated intratracheally (i.t.) with a M. synoviae EAA strain at 19 weeks of age, a group inoculated i.t. with this strain at 19 and 26 weeks of age, a group inoculated with M. synoviae i.t. at 19 weeks of age and infected 5 days earlier with infectious bronchitis virus D1466 (IBV), and a fifth group similar to the former but inoculated i.t. twice with an M. synoviae EAA strain at 19 and 26 weeks of age. Eggs with EAA were only produced after a single i.t. inoculation with the M. synoviae EAA strain if preceded by an infection with IBV. The production of eggs with EAA started 6 weeks after M. synoviae EAA inoculation and the proportion of eggs with EAA during the experiment was 9/449 (2%), which was much lower than that in SPF layer hens (14-22%). The present results suggest that broiler breeder hens are less susceptible to producing eggs with EAA after an infection with a M. synoviae EAA strain preceded by an IBV infection, compared with table egg layers. Similar to SPF egg layers, the mean daily egg production per hen was significantly reduced by the M. synoviae EAA strain and there was a general negative effect on eggshell strength by this strain, suggesting it could also have a detrimental effect on hatching egg quality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Animal Health Service (GD), Deventer, EZ, the Netherlands 2: Animal Health Service (GD), Deventer, EZ, the Netherlands,Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, CL, the Netherlands

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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