MSD Manual

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Professional Version

Breast Buttons in Poultry


Frederic J. Hoerr

, DVM, PhD, Veterinary Diagnostic Pathology, LLC

Medically Reviewed Mar 2014 | Modified Oct 2022

Breast buttons develop in a location similar to that of breast blisters ( see Breast Blisters in Poultry Breast Blisters in Poultry Fluid-filled sternal bursa characteristic of breast blister on the keel of a turkey. In chickens and turkeys, a bursa lined with synovial membrane is normally present over the anterior projection... read more Breast Blisters in Poultry ). They have a localized, hard crust on the surface and a core of dead skin and chronic inflammation extending into the subcutis. The cause is not well defined, but a breast button may start as a chemical burn due to prolonged contact of poorly feathered skin with wet litter containing ammonia or toxins. The presence of good quality, dry litter is associated with a reduced number of affected turkeys.

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