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Mycotoxins in poultry: A hidden factor affecting flock health?

Authors:​ Dr Dulmelis DG Sandu (DVM, MAM, MS, DACPV) Poultry Veterinarian, Alltech Technical Support Services and Dr Alexandra Weaver, Global Technical Support, Alltech Mycotoxin Management

The immune system is constantly under siege by different stressors. Stress, whether from disease or environmental factors, plays a critical role in the overall health and well-being of poultry flocks. Environmental stressors, such as poor flock management, low feedstuffs quality and feed contaminants such as mycotoxins, are some of the factors associated with immune function suppression in birds. Viral and bacterial infections can also cause immunosuppression. These various stressors often lead to a decrease in resistance to infectious diseases and the inability to mount a proper immune response, even in the face of adequate vaccine programs.

In the poultry industry, immunosuppressive viral, bacterial and protozoal diseases are mitigated and controlled with vaccines. However, producers continue to experience challenges in controlling outbreaks of diseases affecting their flock’s productivity, despite appropriate vaccines and vaccine programs. In this article, we explore how mycotoxins — a common but often underdiagnosed problem — could be one factor involved in vaccination program failure.

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