What Causes Footpad Dermatitis in Poultry?
Good litter management and proper ventilation are critical to preventing footpad dermatitis (FPD) and maintaining health in poultry flocks. Footpad dermatitis first became an issue for the poultry industry in the 1980s, but it surely existed long before that time. The condition is known by a variety of names, including pododermatitis and contact dermatitis. It is characterized by inflammation and ulcers on the footpad and toes. The sores can be shallow or deep. Deep ulcers may lead to abscesses of the underlying tissue and structures (Greene et al., 1985). For many years, the feet (or “paws”) of broiler chickens received little attention, but that all changed during the 1980s. Until then, chicken paws were not a saleable product and were rendered along with blood, feathers, and other unmarketable parts of the chicken. However, in the mid-1980s, an overseas market for broiler paws began to develop, and paw quality became more important. A chicken “paw” is actually the portion of the leg below the spur; a chicken foot includes the foot as well as the portion of the leg below the feather line.
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