Focal duodenal necrosis in chickens: attempts to reproduce the disease experimentally and diagnostic considerations

Ana M. Villegas, Lisa Stabler, Robert J. Moore, Francisco A. Uzal, Jake A. Lacey, Charles Hofacre, Margie Lee, Naola Ferguson-Noel, Rosetta Barber, Claire Sophie Rimet, Carmen Jerry, Woo Kyun Kim, Barquiesha Madison, Monique França

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Focal duodenal necrosis (FDN) is an intestinal disease of egg-layer chickens characterized by multifocal necrosis of the duodenal loop and proximal jejunum. Affected flocks usually have decreased egg weights and drops in egg production. Previous studies have associated this condition with Clostridium perfringens infection. We tried to reproduce FDN by experimental infection of egg-laying chickens using different netB-positive and netB-negative C. perfringens strains, and duodenal homogenate obtained from FDN lesions. Chickens challenged with C. perfringens and/or duodenal homogenate developed duodenitis after challenge. Gross lesions included mucosal erosions, hyperemia, mucosal hemorrhages, and watery intestinal content. Microscopic lesions included mild enterocyte degeneration and necrosis, and mild-to-moderate hemorrhage and lymphoplasmacytic and heterophilic infiltration of the lamina propria. Two netB-positive C. perfringens strains closely related to necrotic enteritis pathogenic strains, by genomic composition, were re-isolated from lesions. Necrosis of intestinal crypts was observed in chickens challenged with duodenal homogenate with or without C. perfringens coinfection. Characteristic microscopic FDN lesions with significant necrosis and loss of villus enterocytes were not reproduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Clostridium perfringens
  • egg-layer chickens
  • focal duodenal necrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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