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Common turkey afflictions

Skin

Avian pox/lymphoproliferative disease

Wart-like lesions from these diseases are caused by a virus and occur on unfeathered portions of the head and neck and occasionally on the wings and feet. Lesions are brown-amber to gray in color and have a crust-like appearance. They can vary in number from a few to completely enveloping the head. LD was first identified in wild turkeys in North America in 2009 and the two diseases can only be differentiated by laboratory tests.

Tick/louse infestation

External parasites can occur on the skin or feathers. Ticks are normally found on the head and lice on the undersurface of the wings.

Liver

Histomoniasis (blackhead)

Histomoniasis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite histomonas meleagridis that results in the formation of areas of yellow (sulfur) colored rings or spherical masses of yellow necrotic material. The ceca (part of the large intestine) can be enlarged, inflamed, and ulcerated with solid necrotic masses within.

Entire carcass

West Nile Virus (WNV)

Turkeys affected with West Nile Virus generally display neuro-logically abnormal behavior such as an inability to fly or roost, walking in circles, or exhibiting a lack of fear of hu-mans. Hunters may observe these birds when in the field and alert you of the bird’s behavior. The entire carcass of these birds should be collected and submitted for examination.