Progression of aflatoxicosis in broiler chickens

Author(s): Huff WE, Kubena LF, Harvey RB, Corrier DE, Mollenhauer HH


The progression of aflatoxicosis was evaluated in young broiler chickens (Hubbard X Hubbard). The experimental design consisted of four dietary treatments of aflatoxin (0, 1.25, 2.5, and 5.0 micrograms of aflatoxin/g of feed, ppm) and 11 replicates of 10 broilers/replicate. The broilers were maintained in electrically heated batteries with feed and water available ad libitum from hatching to 3 weeks of age. The broilers were weighed, bled, killed by cervical dislocation, and necropzied at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17, and 21 days of age. Body weights were significantly decreased by 5.0 ppm aflatoxin at 6 days of age and by 2.5 ppm at 17 days of age. Aflatoxin induced a significant increase in the relative weight of the proventriculus, gizzard, spleen, and kidney. Liver atrophy was indicated in the early stages of aflatoxicosis by a decrease in the relative weight of this organ. As aflatoxicosis progressed, hepatomegaly became apparent due to lipid accumulation in the liver. Packed-cell volume and hemoglobin levels were significantly decreased by 5.0 ppm aflatoxin at 12 days and by 2.5 ppm aflatoxin at 21 days of age. Serum levels of albumin and total protein were significantly reduced at 5.0 and 2.5 ppm aflatoxin by 3 and 6 days of age, respectively. Serum levels of uric acid, triglycerides, and cholesterol were significantly decreased from control values from 12 through 21 days of age by 5.0 ppm aflatoxin and, to a lesser extent, by 2.5 ppm aflatoxin. The activity of serum lactic dehydrogenase was significantly decreased at all aflatoxin treatment levels from 12 through 21 days of age.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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