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Sub-clinical necrotic enteritis: its aetiology and predisposing factors in commercial broiler production

  • M.W.C.D. PALLIYEGURU (a1) (a2) and S.P. ROSE (a1)


Sub-clinical necrotic enteritis (NE) is a major economic cost to the broiler production industry due to poor growth and feed conversion efficiency of broiler chicken flocks, higher condemnation of livers or rarely the whole carcasses at the slaughter house and an increased risk of microbial contamination of poultry meat. Sub-clinical NE is a multifactorial disease although Clostridium perfringens plays a major role in its pathogenesis. Its diagnosis and confirmation are quite different from those of general infectious diseases. Disease confirmation is from the presence of necrotic or ulcerative lesions on the small intestinal mucosa with identifiable aggregates of pathogenic C. perfringens. C. perfringens numbers in the small intestinal digesta or the mucosal scrapings are not correlated with disease severity, whereas counts above 106 cfu/g in the caecal contents indicate an increased probability of NE-specific gut lesions. Not only does the presence and counts of C. perfringens strains capable of producing related toxins affect the incidence of the disease but also a number of predisposing factors are important in the aetiology of NE. The major factors that predispose growing chickens to sub-clinical NE are diet variables, diseases that cause mucosal damage of the intestine and environmental factors that either alter the development of gut associated lymphoid tissue or change litter quality within the production house. Dietary variables may be a major cause of variation in sub-clinical NE in commercial broiler production; differences in polysaccharides, lipids, protein sources, protein digestibility and the presence of antinutritive factors have been identified as variables affecting the incidence of the disease.


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Sub-clinical necrotic enteritis: its aetiology and predisposing factors in commercial broiler production

  • M.W.C.D. PALLIYEGURU (a1) (a2) and S.P. ROSE (a1)


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