MSD Manual

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Professional Version

Aflatoxicosis in Poultry


Dulmelis Sandu

, DVM, MAM, MS, DACPV, Alltech, Inc

Reviewed/Revised Dec 2023
Topic Resources

Aflatoxicosis in poultry primarily affects the liver but can involve immunologic, digestive, and hematopoietic functions (see ). Aflatoxicosis adversely affects the following:

  • weight

  • feed intake

  • feed conversion efficiency

  • pigmentation

  • processing yield

  • egg production and eggshell quality

  • male and female fertility

  • hatchability

Susceptibility to aflatoxins varies; however, in general, ducklings, turkeys, and pheasants are susceptible, whereas chickens, quail, and guinea fowl are relatively resistant.

Aflatoxicosis causes the following:

  • general unthriftiness, with high morbidity and mortality rates possible

  • lesions in the liver, with reddening due to necrosis and congestion or yellowing due to lipid accumulation

  • hemorrhages in liver and other tissues

Aflatoxins are carcinogenic; however, tumor formation is rare with natural disease, probably because the animals do not live long enough for this to occur.

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