Lameness

Selected Species

OUR AMBITION

Welfare in Poultry

Broiler growth rates have increased dramatically due to intense genetic selection and enhanced nutritional programs. Fast growth places great demands on birds’ musculoskeletal systems, which can result in impaired locomotion and lameness.

Lameness reduces animal well-being and has severe economic consequences from poor growth, increased culling and mortality carcasses condemnation and downgrading at slaughter. 

Lameness is often a multifactorial condition. Understanding the various causes can help producers identify areas for improvement and develop effective strategies to reduce the incidence of lameness. Conditions responsible for lameness can be of infectious or non-infectious origin. It is important to identify and understand these risk factors in order to develop a prevention or mitigation strategy to reduce incidence of lameness in poultry flocks. This table focuses on lameness conditions and suggests solutions that can help mitigate the damage caused by these conditions.  

Mycotoxins

Potential cause Checklist Corrective action

Deoxynivalenol (DON)

Histopathology; translocation of bacteria from the intestine due to disruption of the tight junctions to the femoral head, where ongoing pressure of growth results in micro fractures and eventually degeneration of the joint.
 

Reduced growth; Increased culling at out loading of damaged birds; Increased further processing due to the poor quality of the femur head. 

  • Origin of raw materials from supplier/region with history of Afla contamination. 
  • Check average contamination levels.
  • Positive for DON in raw materials (ELISA) or feed (HPLC)
  • Prevent mold growth, purchase clean raw materials.
  • Avoid contamination of feed bins or feed/water lines by stale, wet or moldy feed.
  • Add an effective mycotoxin deactivator in the feed.

Nutrition

Potential cause Checklist Corrective action

RICKETS

Vitamin D3 deficiency, Ca/P imbalance 

Enlargement of the ends of tibia and femur, with widened. 

Check the feed composition.  Feed vitamin D3 with balanced calcium and phosphorus.

IONOPHORE TOXICITY

Potential cause: Monensin 

Legs extended backward

Mix feed properly. Withdraw the ionophore.

OSTEOPOROSIS/CAGE LAYER FATIGUE

Impaired calcium flux in laying hens 

  • Soft and rubbery bones, birds on their sides in the back of the cage.
  • Lesions: Vertebral fracture affecting spinal cord. 
Check the feed composition.
  • Feed appropriate calcium as per the production stage.
  • Care must be taken to feed ∼50% of the dietary calcium in the form of coarse limestone, with the remaining half as fine particle limestone.

PODODERMATITIS/FOOTPAD DERMATITIS/FOOT BURN/AMMONIA BURN

Biotin deficiency, poor quality litter 

  • Ulceration of the metatarsal and digital footpads.
  • Lesions: Necrotic lesions on the plantar surface of the footpads.
Check the feed composition
  • Improve gut integrity by feeding multi-species, poultry-specific, live probiotics.
  • Supplement biotin in the feed.
  • Lower litter moisture with proper ventilation and avoid water spillage.

TIBIAL DYSCHONDROPLASIA/
OSTEOCHONDROSIS

Ca/P ratio, excess chloride in feed metabolic acidosis, acid/base balance, mycotoxins. 

  • Swelling and bowing in the region of the knee joints, angulations of legs, typically in birds >35 days.
  • Plug of cartilage in proximal end of tibia, distal tibia, and proximal metatarsus, in decreasing order of frequency.

Check the feed composition.

  • Correct the nutritional imbalances.

  • Add an effective mycotoxin deactivator in the feed. 

PEROSIS/CHONDRODYSTROPHY

Manganese deficiency 

  • Thickened and shortened legs, shortened wings.
  • Enlargement and malformation of the tibio-metatarsal joint, twisting and bending of tibial distal end and the proximal end of tarso-metatarsus, slippage of the gastrocnemius tendon from its chondyles.
Check the feed composition.
  • Feed appropriate manganese as per the production stage.
  • Maintain Mn/Ca/P balance 

Pathogen - Bacterial

Potential cause Checklist Corrective action

Bacterial Chondronecrosis with Osteomyelitis (BCO)

Enterococcus cecorum, Streptococcus spp., Staphylococcus spp, E. coli 

 

  • Bird will be sitting on its breast/keel, with the legs directed forward, use of wings for walking support and hip flexion.
  • Necrotic degeneration and microbial infection, primarily within the proximal heads of the femur and tibia. 
 
  • Improve gut integrity by feeding multi-strain poultry-specific live probiotic.
  • Antibiotics depending on severity, but mostly birds are euthanized. 

Vertebral Osteomyelitis / Spondylitis / 
Spondylopathy / Spondylolisthesis / Kinkyback

Enterococcus cecorum, Staphylococcus spp., E. Coli. 

 

  • Typically starts from day 22, bird will be sitting on its breast/keel, with the legs directed forward, posterior paralysis due to spinal cord compression.
  • Abscess and/or necrosis in T4-T7 vertebrae, dorsal buckling of spinal cord (kyphosis), interstitial edema, atrophy, degeneration of muscle fibers. 
 
  • Improve gut integrity by feeding multi-strain poultry-specific live probiotic.
  • Antibiotics depending on severity, but mostly birds are euthanized. 

Bumble Foot - Staphylococcus spp. 

  • Swelling above the hock and around the hocks and feet.
  • Abscess on hock joint, infected joints may have clear exudate with fibrin clots.
 
  • Improve gut integrity by feeding multi-strain poultry-specific live probiotic.
  • Antibiotics

Fowl Cholera - Pasteurella multocida 

 

  • Swollen hock joints, swollen wattles and comb, greenish diarrhea.
  • Necrotic foci on liver, petechiae in the epicardial fatty tissues.
 
  • Vaccines only if endemic.
  • Antibiotics

Bacterial arthritis/Airsacculitis (MS)

Enterococcus faecalis, Mycoplasma synoviae 

 

  • Ruffled feathers, swollen hock joints and feet, bilaterally asymmetrical legs.
  • Joints and tendon sheaths have viscous grey to yellow exudate, caseous exudate from the lesions.
 
  • Improve gut integrity by feeding multi-strain poultry-specific live probiotic.
  • Antibiotics and eradication of infected breeding stock.

Osteomyelitis Complex

Bacterial, but no specific pathogen has been identified. 

Green discoloration of liver, inflammatory lesions in bones and joints.

Only identified at slaughter. Improve gut integrity by feeding multi-strain poultry-specific live probiotic.

Pathogen - Viral

Potential cause Corrective action

Tenosynovitis/Viral arthritis

Avian reovirus 

  • Soft swelling of the joints with turbid fluid in the capsule, swollen shanks.
  • Swelling and petechial in the synovial membranes, small erosions on the articular cartilage, adhesions between the tendons and fibrosis of tissues.
  • Live vaccine followed by inactivated vaccine.
  • Euthanize the infected flock. 

Amyloidosis - Corona virus 

  • Swollen hock joint containing orange-yellowish material, muscular shivering.
  • Extracellular buildup of amyloid protein in joints and internal organs.
  • Live vaccine.
  • Sodium salicylate 1g/liter (acute phase)
  • Anitbiotics to control secondary colibacillosis.

Infectious bronchitis (IB)/Infectious laryngo tracheitis (ILT) 

  • Sudden death, muscular shivering.
  • Edema of skeletal and pectoral muscles.
  • Live vaccine.
  • Sodium salicylate 1g/liter (acute phase)
  • Anitbiotics to control secondary colibacillosis.

Marek’s disease 

  • One leg stretched forward and the other backward.             
  • Tumors in internal organs, unilateral enlargement of peripheral nerves. 
  • Live vaccine.
  • Eradication of infected flock.

Avian encephalomyelitis (AE) 

  • Trembling of the head, neck, and wings, paralysis of both legs extended out to one side.
  • Gross lesions are mild or absent, focal white areas in gizzard muscle. 
  • Vaccination of breeders.

Newcastle disease

  • Twisting of neck and paralysis of wings and legs, cyanosis of comb, facial edema, green diarrhea, drop in egg production, sudden death.
  • Hemorrhage in intestine, petechial hemorrhage in proventriculus, congestion and mucoid exudates seen in the respiratory tract, especially in trachea. 
  • Live vaccine.
  • Eradication of infected flock.

Others - Management

Potential cause Checklist Corrective action

Tibial dyschondroplasia 

  • Swelling and bowing in the region of the knee joints, angulations of legs, typically in birds >35 days.
  • Plug of cartilage in proximal end of tibia, distal tibia, and proximal metatarsus, in decreasing order of frequency. 

 

  • Lower the energy and protein density of feed to slow down the growth.
  • Correct the nutritional imbalances.
  • Add an effective mycotoxin deactivator in the feed. 

Twisted leg 

  • Genetic selection, stocking density.
  • Distortion at hock, valgus/varus, various angulations of legs.
  • Linear twisting of tibia and femur, Changed angulation of tibial condyles. 
 
  • Euthanize affected bird.

Pododermatitis

  • Ulceration of the metatarsal and digital footpads.
  • Necrotic lesions on the plantar surface of the footpads.
Check biotin in the feed.
  • Lower litter moisture with proper ventilation and avoid water spillage.
  • Improve gut integrity by feeding poultry-specific, live probiotics.
  • Supplement biotin in the feed. 

Degenerative joint disease 

  • Developmental defects, physical damage. 
  • Imbalanced walking, huddling.
  • Damaged epiphyseal articular cartilage, especially of femoral anti-trochanter, but also other leg joints, resulting in erosions and cartilage flaps.
 
  • Euthanize affected bird.

Lameness Solutions

  • Hy-D®

    Hy-D® is the fast track vitamin D3 source, for a strong skeleton and better performance.

  • ROVIMIX® A1000

    ROVIMIX® A1000, your reliable vitamin A source We all know vitamins are essential for the health of our farm animals, but do you also know that of all vitamins, vitamin A may well be the most challenging to produce?

  • ROVIMIX® E50

    ROVIMIX® E50 is a superior formulation of vitamin E, which strengthens the immune system and increases performance in poultry, swine and dairy cows.

  • OVN™

    With Optimum Vitamin Nutrition (OVN™), animals are healthier and produce more – meaning better returns for producers. This is why we are serious about vitamins.

  • Balancius®

    Together DSM and Novozymes have created Balancius® the first and only feed ingredient designed to unlock the hidden potential in gastrointestinal functionality.

  • PoultryStar®

    PoultryStar® is a well-defined, multi-species poultry probiotic plus prebiotic (synbiotic) that promotes a beneficial gut microflora and improves the results of broilers, layers and breeders.

  • CRINA®

    Our specific blends of essential oil components have shown to help deliver a better balance of gut microflora.

  • CYLACTIN®

    Increase the proportion of ‘good’ bacteria, and you have a better performing gut.

  • Biomin® CleanGrain Plus

    Biomin® CleanGrain Plus is a unique blend of organic acids and salts designed to protect against spoilage of grains and by-products caused by molds, yeast and bacteria.

  • Biotronic®

    The Biotronic® line of state-of-the-art enhanced acidifiers support modern farm animals against Gram-negative bacteria.

  • Digestarom® DC Power

    Digestarom® DC Power is a next generation phytogenic feed additive mixed into premixes, mineral feed or finished feed in order to support farm animal feed intake, support digestion and feed conversion. The Feed Converter.

  • Digestarom®

    Digestarom® line of phytogenics contain unique blends of herbs and spices, essential oils and other plant extracts to improve palatability and acceptance of feed, support digestion and overall performance of farm animals.

  • DHAgold™

    With DHAgold™ we bring you a sustainable source of DHA to enrich poultry, swine and aqua.

  • Mycotoxin Contamination

    Our portfolio of tools helps to understand the potential risks of mycotoxins for animal species and location.

  • Mycofix®

    The Mycofix® portfolio of feed additives represents the most state-of-the-art solution for protecting animal health by deactivating mycotoxins that contaminate farm animal feed. Its safety and efficacy are proven by 7 EU authorizations for substances that deactivate mycotoxins.

  • FUMzyme® sol

    FUMzyme®, the only enzyme that effectively detoxifies fumonisins safely and irreversibly, is available for post-pellet and liquid application in animal feed. From the creators of Mycofix®. Naturally Ahead.

  • Mycofix® Plus 5.Z

    Absolute protection against the broadest range of mycotoxins. With ZENzyme® Faster and Better

  • BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey

    The BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey constitutes the longest running and most comprehensive data set on mycotoxin occurrence. The survey results provide insights on the incidence of the six major mycotoxins in the agricultural commodities used for livestock feed in order to identify the potential risk posed to livestock animal production.

  • Mycotoxin Detection

    We offer a range of analytical services to customers to assess the mycotoxin contamination of feed materials.

  • Mycotoxin Prediction

    The Mycotoxin Prediction Service delivers assessments of expected mycotoxin levels in the upcoming harvest of corn (maize) and wheat around the world.

OUR AMBITION

Welfare in dairy cows

Welfare standards are essential for modern dairy farms. They can have a significant impact because healthy animals deliver improved performance.

Our products help to create diets that allow animals to fulfill their economic potential while at the same time supporting their welfare.

Animal welfare can be improved by enhanced dietary management. Micronutrients play a key role in the nutrition of dairy cows. We have great expertise in developing feed additives that improve animal welfare and productivity.

Combating lameness

Improving hoof health is a priority for us. Lameness causes cows to suffer. They make fewer visits to the feed trough, eat less, and are less productive. Farm incomes consequently suffer too. Lameness is also a major reason why cows are culled too early in life.

Certain vitamins are essential for hoof strength. Feeding the nutritional vitamin supplement ROVIMIX® Biotin has been proven to reduce the incidence of many hoof disorders, including white line disease, sole ulcers and sand cracks. ROVIMIX® Biotin strengthens the hoof horn. This results in greater hoof hardness, which directly reduces lameness and the suffering that lameness brings with it.

ROVIMIX® Biotin can be used as an individual additive or as part of our extensively researched and proven Optimum Vitamin Nutrition (OVN™) feed additive strategy. Feeding a blend of vitamins can deliver significant benefits. ROVIMIX® Biotin can be combined with ROVIMIX® E50 (Vitamin E) and ROVIMIX® ß-Carotene, for example, in a blend tailored to meet your specific requirements.

Combating mastitis

Mastitis is a painful condition and a major welfare issue. Udder infections lead to reduced milk yields, discarded milk, increased treatment costs and higher early culling rates.

The feed additive ROVIMIX® E50 (Vitamin E) is a powerful tool for reducing the incidence of mastitis by helping build a strong immune system. It has been shown to reduce intramammary infection rate at calving, to cut the duration of mastitis cases in infected cows, and to lower herd somatic cell counts.

Improved calf welfare

Calves are a valuable source of income. Dairy farmers therefore aim to produce vigorous and fast-growing calves. However, calves are vulnerable to growth-rate checks in early life. They therefore benefit from a supportive diet at this crucial stage in their development.

CYLACTIN® is a probiotic supplement which increases the antibodies in the colostrum and helps stabilize calf gut flora. This gives calves a better start in life.

Diarrhea and digestive disorders are major causes of calf mortality. Increasing levels of ß-carotene in the dam’s colostrum makes calves less prone to diarrhea. Adding ROVIMIX® ß-Carotene to the diet of dairy cows helps to gives calves the start in life they need.

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Lameness Solutions

  • ROVIMIX® A1000

    ROVIMIX® A1000, your reliable vitamin A source We all know vitamins are essential for the health of our farm animals, but do you also know that of all vitamins, vitamin A may well be the most challenging to produce?

  • OVN™

    With Optimum Vitamin Nutrition (OVN™), animals are healthier and produce more – meaning better returns for producers. This is why we are serious about vitamins.

  • Hy-D®

    Hy-D® is the fast track vitamin D3 source, for a strong skeleton and better performance.

  • ROVIMIX® ß-Carotene

    β-Carotene is an essential nutrient for all farmed stock. As it is only found in plants and cannot be synthesized by livestock, animals’ requirements of this nutrient must be fulfilled by their diet.

  • ROVIMIX® Biotin

    ROVIMIX® Biotin delivers improved hoof strength and milk production in dairy cows.

  • ROVIMIX® E50

    ROVIMIX® E50 is a superior formulation of vitamin E, which strengthens the immune system and increases performance in poultry, swine and dairy cows.

  • Levabon® Rumen E

    Levabon® Rumen E is an innovative brewers yeast cattle feed supplement for dairy and beef animals including calves. It delivers an enhanced prebiotic effect compared to conventional yeasts for better productivity.

  • Biomin® BioStabil

    Biomin® BioStabil is a formulation of strategically selected Lactic Acid Bacteria for optimal haylage, silage and forage preservation. Biomin® BioStabil preserves the energy in your silage.

  • CRINA®

    Our specific blends of essential oil components have shown to help deliver a better balance of gut microflora.

  • CYLACTIN®

    Increase the proportion of ‘good’ bacteria, and you have a better performing gut.

  • Biotronic®

    The Biotronic® line of state-of-the-art enhanced acidifiers support modern farm animals against Gram-negative bacteria.

  • Digestarom®

    Digestarom® line of phytogenics contain unique blends of herbs and spices, essential oils and other plant extracts to improve palatability and acceptance of feed, support digestion and overall performance of farm animals.

  • Mycotoxin Contamination

    Our portfolio of tools helps to understand the potential risks of mycotoxins for animal species and location.

  • FUMzyme® Silage

    FUMzyme® Silage is a unique additive sprayed onto corn (maize) at harvest that targets and detoxifies harmful fumonisins, so that the resulting silage is safe and fumonisin-free for livestock nutrition.

  • Mycofix®

    The Mycofix® portfolio of feed additives represents the most state-of-the-art solution for protecting animal health by deactivating mycotoxins that contaminate farm animal feed. Its safety and efficacy are proven by 7 EU authorizations for substances that deactivate mycotoxins.

  • FUMzyme® sol

    FUMzyme®, the only enzyme that effectively detoxifies fumonisins safely and irreversibly, is available for post-pellet and liquid application in animal feed. From the creators of Mycofix®. Naturally Ahead.

  • Mycofix® Plus 5.Z

    Absolute protection against the broadest range of mycotoxins. With ZENzyme® Faster and Better

  • Mycotoxin Detection

    We offer a range of analytical services to customers to assess the mycotoxin contamination of feed materials.

  • Mycotoxin Prediction

    The Mycotoxin Prediction Service delivers assessments of expected mycotoxin levels in the upcoming harvest of corn (maize) and wheat around the world.

  • BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey

    The BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey constitutes the longest running and most comprehensive data set on mycotoxin occurrence. The survey results provide insights on the incidence of the six major mycotoxins in the agricultural commodities used for livestock feed in order to identify the potential risk posed to livestock animal production.

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