Vitamin A deficiency in turkey poults

P. L. Cortes, A. K. Tiwary, Birgit Puschner, R. M. Crespo, Richard P Chin, M. Bland, H L Shivaprasad

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18 Scopus citations


Vitamin A deficiency was diagnosed in a commercial flock of 13,000 4-6-week-old turkey poults in the summer of 2004. The birds were initially submitted for examination because of a 3% increase in the reported daily mortality of the flock. Clinically, affected birds had stunted growth and ruffled feathers, showed signs of incoordination, and were depressed. At necropsy, pale white pseudomembranous to mucoid material was observed on the mucosal surface of the tongue, oral cavity, portions of the esophagus, and the crop of some birds. Histologically, there was squamous metaplasia of the mucosal epithelium of the oral mucosa, esophagus, sinuses, nasal glands, bronchi, proventriculus, and the bursa of Fabricius. Vitamin A was not detected in the feed sample at a detection limit of 0.5 mg/kg. Serum vitamin A concentrations in 7 birds were very low and ranged from 0.05 to 0.1 mg/L. Vitamin A concentrations in livers were extremely low (0.1 mg/kg wet weight, 1/7 poults) or undetectable (<0.1 mg/kg wet weight, 6/7 poults). A diagnosis of vitamin A deficiency was made based on gross and microscopic lesions and vitamin A concentrations in serum, liver, and feed. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first documented case of vitamin A deficiency in poults submitted from a commercial meat turkey producer comparatively depicting the gross and microscopic lesions with those found in other species of birds and mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-494
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Hyperkeratinization
  • Hypovitaminosis A
  • Squamous metaplasia
  • Vitamin A deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)


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