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On a broiler farm with a rearing capacity of about 200,000 chickens, a disease characterised by growth retardation, variability in chick size, 'leg weakness', diarrhoea and increased mortality at 3 weeks of age occurred repeatedly, in several successive broiler flocks. Gross and histopathological findings were dominated by widening of the hypertrophic and ossification layers of the physes of long bones as well as by thickening, unevenness and defective calcification of the cartilage trabeculae. In the parathyroid gland, vacuolar degeneration of the cytoplasm of glandular epithelial cells, connective tissue proliferation and, here and there, cyst formation were seen. Additional findings included severe cerebellar oedema and neuronal degeneration. The pancreatic, myocardial and intestinal changes typical of infectious stunting syndrome (ISS) occurred only in a mild form. Four-week-old chickens exhibiting 'leg weakness' had significantly lower blood inorganic phosphate concentration and tibial ash content as compared to healthy chickens. The disease was successfully transmitted by oral administration of small intestinal homogenate from affected chickens. In a second experiment, however, the disease could not be transmitted with intestinal homogenate sterilized by irradiation. Large doses of vitamin D3reduced the rate of growth retardation and defective calcification of bones. The digestive enzyme activities of the pancreas and small intestinal mucosa of 'infected' chickens were decreased as is typical of ISS.

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In the past few years a characteristic, often fatal disease associated with cutaneous lesions and nephropathy has been observed in several large pig herds and household pig stocks of Hungary. In addition to general symptoms and slight fever in several cases, the disease was characterised by cutaneous lesions occurring mostly on the ventral part of the thorax and abdomen, on the extremities and ear pinnae, and in the nasal and perianal region. In the acute phase, circumscribed hyperaemic, confluent, crust-covered areas were seen. Histological examination revealed necrosis of the epithelial layer and lympho-histiocytic vasculitis in the corium, here and there accompanied by thrombosis and fibrinoid degeneration. The kidneys were pale brown and harder to tear, with cortical petechiae in most cases. By histopathological examination, intra- and extracapillary glomerulonephritis accompanied by fibrinoid exudation was seen. Some of the renal tubules were dilated, others were atrophied, and in advanced cases proliferation of the intertubular connective tissue and inflammatory cell infiltration also occurred. Necrotic vasculitis was also observed in some cases. By immunohistochemical examination IgA, IgG and IgM, and in a single case C3 belonging to the complement system were observed in the pathologically changed skin areas and kidneys. By polymerase chain reaction (PCR), porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2) was detected. Bacteriological and serological examinations did not reveal infections of aetiological importance.

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Broiler chicken and rabbit experiments were carried out to study the effects of nickel (Ni) supplementation on growth performance and Ni metabolism. ROSS cockerels and New Zealand White female rabbits were fed a diet containing Ni in concentrations of 0, 50 and 500 mg/kg in dry matter (DM). Dietary supplementation of 50 mg Ni/kg slightly improved the body weight gain (BWG) and had a beneficial effect on the feed conversion efficiency (FCE) in broiler chickens. However, Ni added at a level of 500 mg/kg significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the BWG by 10% and resulted in significantly (P < 0.05) worse (2.3 ± 0.2 kg/kg) FCE. The relative weight of the liver in cockerels was significantly (P < 0.05) decreased by Ni as compared to the control group (1.7 and 2.1% vs. 2.6%). The activity of AST and CHE enzymes was increased insignificantly by dietary supplementation of 500 mg Ni/kg, indicating damage of the liver parenchyma. The results of serum biochemistry were confirmed by a mild or moderate form of pathological focal fatty infiltration of the liver in broilers. Supplemental Ni of 50 mg/kg concentration resulted in non-significantly increased BWG in rabbits. Ni added to the diet at a level of 500 mg/kg reduced the digestibility of crude protein by 3-4% and that of crude fibre by 20-25% in rabbits. Approx. 98% of the ingested Ni was lost from the body via the faeces, 0.5-1.5% via the urine and approx. 1% was incorporated into the organs of rabbits. As a result of dietary supplementation of 50 and 500 mg Ni/kg, Ni accumulated in the kidneys (4.9 ± 0.5 and 17.1 ± 3.1 vs. 1.9 ± 0.3 mg/kg DM), ribs (10.3 ± 0.4 and 10.4 ± 0.6 vs. 9.1 ± 0.6 mg/kg DM), heart (1.4 ± 0.2 and 2.5 ± 0.4 vs. 1.0 ± 0.1 mg/kg DM) and liver (1.3 ± 0.1 and 2.2 ± 0.2 vs. 0.9 ± 0.05 mg/kg DM), as compared to the control animals. It can be stated that supplementation of the diet with 50 mg Ni/kg had slight but non-significant beneficial effects on the growth performance of broiler chickens and rabbits.

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The authors report the data of the first survey on the incidence of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) and porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (PDNS) in Hungary. A PCR method specific for the detection of porcine circovirus 2 (PCV-2) was developed, which proved to be suitable for diagnostic purposes. PCR screening of organ samples from pigs suspected to be affected with PMWS or PDNS revealed the presence of PCV-2 in 80% of the cases. Six PCV-2 genomes from Hungarian isolates were completely sequenced. Phylogenetic comparison with all the available PCV-2 sequences showed that porcine circoviruses circulating in Hungary are more variable than in several other European countries. Two Hungarian strains clustered together with the Spanish strains forming a distinct group; two others fell in a common group with the French, UK, and Dutch strains, whereas another two strains showed the closest relationship to two of the three known German PCV-2 sequences.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Andrea Bistyák, S. Kecskeméti, R. Glávits, I. Tischler, S. Nagy, G. Kardos, and I. Kiss

An epizootic of Pacheco’s disease is reported from a zoo bird population. The infection was introduced by wild-captured Patagonian conures ( Cyanoliseus patagonus ) despite 61 days of quarantine. The disease affected several parrot species and, interestingly, three out of seven bearded barbets ( Lybius dubius ). The mortality rate was 30.93%. Autopsy revealed abdominal hyperaemia with liver haemorrhages and, in less rapid cases, yellowish discoloration and fragility of the liver. Death was caused by the collapse of circulation. Histopathology demonstrated liver cell necrosis, disintegration of the lobular structure, and a few intranuclear inclusion bodies. Icosahedral virions were detected by electron microscopy. The virus was isolated in the allantoic cavity of embryonated chicken eggs as well as in chicken embryo fibroblast cell culture. A 281-bp-long fragment of psittacid herpesvirus DNA was detected by PCR in cell culture material and liver samples of the affected birds. To our knowledge this is the first report of Pacheco’s disease in bearded barbets as well as the first occurrence of Pacheco’s disease in Hungary.

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The biological properties of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) strain Oregon C24V were studied after intranasal and subcutaneous infection of pregnant sows. This virus strain is widely used in Hungary for immunising cattle against bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD). Based upon the results of the clinical, gross pathological, histopathological and virological examinations it can be established that the given strain caused asymptomatic infection and serological conversion in sows that were in the second third of gestation. The virus caused clinically apparent disease in some of the piglets born at term, which indicates that it had crossed the placenta. More than half (57%) of the live-born piglets died within 60 days of birth. The sows and their progeny did not shed the virus. BVDV infection has great differential diagnostic importance in pigs, as classical swine fever (CSF) virus strains of reduced virulence cause similar clinical symptoms and gross and histopathological changes.

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The effects of dietary levels of manganese (Mn) in inorganic (MnO) and organic (Mn fumarate) forms were evaluated on cockerel chicks. A basal corn-soybean diet with 23 mg/kg Mn was supplemented with levels of 0, 30, 60 and 240 ppm Mn from both Mn sources. Each treatment was replicated in five pens of 10 chicks. The chicks were fed diets ad libitum from 14 to 49 days of age, after which five birds per treatment were sacrificed for pathomorphological examinations and analysis. The treatments did not exert significant effects on the body weight (BW), the feed/gain (F/G) ratio or the mortality rate. According to the necropsy findings, no growth retardation or emaciation occurred in either of the groups and the differences in the average absolute and relative organ weights were not significant (P ? 0.05). Tissue analysis indicated that the tibia showed the greatest response to Mn, followed by the liver and kidney. Accumulation in the tibia was higher (P < 0.05) with supplements of 30, 60 and 240 mg/kg from both Mn sources (3.71, 3.78, 4.44, and 3.68, 4.00, 4.36 mg/kg DM, MnO and Mn fumarate, respectively) compared to the control group (3.21 mg/kg). Accumulation in the liver increased significantly (P < 0.05) only with supplements of 60 and 240 ppm independently of the Mn source (12.7, 14.2, and 14.0, 14.9 mg/kg, respectively) compared to the control (9.8 mg/kg). Similarly, kidney tissue Mn was higher (P < 0.05) only with supplements of 60 and 240 ppm (12.8, 12.8, and 13.1, 12.5 mg/kg, respectively) compared to the control (10.2 mg/kg). At the same level of supplementation of the two Mn sources there were no significant differences (P ? 0.05) between the Mn concentrations of organs and tissues. Droppings sensitively reflected the intake, whereas blood plasma and feathers showed only the extreme Mn loading.

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Potato and beetroot were grown on soils previously treated with heavy metal salts. Each particular microelement had a high concentration in both potato and beetroot [cadmium (Cd) 3.7 and 55.4, lead (Pb) 8.1 and 3.0, and mercury (Hg) 5.8 and 6.8 mg/kg dry matter, respectively]. In a metabolic balance trial 16 New Zealand White rabbits were fed 50 grams of basal diet and potato or beetroot ad libitum. The apparent digestibility of major nutrients and the accumulation of the microelements in different organs were investigated. Both potato and beetroot samples of high Pb and Hg content had the significantly (p < 0.05) lowest digestibility of organic matter and nitrogen-free extract. The Cd ingested from both potato and beetroot accumulated in the kidneys and liver (2.85 and 1.48 as well as 0.459 and 0.265 mg/kg, respectively). All the microelements (Cd, Pb and Hg) accumulated in the testicles (0.196, 0.32 and 0.199 mg/kg, respectively), reducing the rate of spermatogenesis. The tissue retention ofheavy metals depends not only on the element itself, but also upon the ‘carrier’ feedstuff.

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In a goose flock consisting of 2300 birds of 6 months of age severe goitre was diagnosed. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of naturally occurring goitre in geese, which is not related to the feeding of rapeseed meal. The major pathological findings included retarded growth and plumage development, significantly (300%) increased relative thyroid weight, fat accumulation in the mesenteric and abdominal region, and lipid infiltration of liver and kidney cells. Subsequent hormone analysis showed undetectable thyroxine (T4) levels and a dramatic drop in triiodothyronine (T3) plasma levels of the diseased geese. Thy- roidal histology displayed the typical signs of struma parenchymatosa. In order to get more information about the possible causes of the goitre, 10 geese from the affected farm were transferred into the laboratories of the Central Veterinary Institute. The geese were allotted into two groups. Group I received iodine supplementation for 55 days, while the other group served as sick control (Group S). Iodine treatment caused a dramatic improvement in the birds clinical condition except in plumage growth in Group I, while the clinical and main pathological signs of goitre remained unchanged or worsened in the untreated Group S. Contrary to this, the serum levels of thyroid hormones and responsiveness to thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) improved not only in Group I but also in Group S. Almost euthyroid biochemical parameters were found after 55 days of iodine treatment in Group I and, surprisingly, a considerable improvement (especially in serum T3 levels) occurred also in Group S. These findings confirm the diagnosis of goitre but also call attention to the fact that iodine deficiency was not the only factor eliciting the disorder. The underlying possible goitrogenic substance could not be traced down.

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Parvovirus infection of Muscovy ducks caused by a genetically and antigenically distinct virus has been reported from Germany, France, Israel, Hungary, some Asian countries and the USA. The pathological changes include those of degenerative skeletal muscle myopathy and myocarditis, hepatitis, sciatic neuritis and polioencephalomyelitis. In the study presented here, day-old and 3-week-old goslings and Muscovy ducks were infected experimentally with three different parvovirus strains (isolates of D-216/4 from the classical form of Derzsy's disease, D-190/3 from the enteric form of Derzsy's disease, and strain FM from the parvovirus disease of Muscovy ducks). All three parvovirus strains caused severe disease in both day-old and 3-week-old Muscovy ducks but in the goslings only the two strains of goose origin (D-216/4 and D-190/3) caused disease with high (90-100%) mortality when infection was performed at day old. Strain FM (of Muscovy duck origin) did not cause any clinical signs or pathological lesions in the goslings. In the day-old goslings and Muscovy ducks the principal pathological lesions were severe enteritis with necrosis of the epithelial cells (enterocytes) of the mucous membrane and the crypts of Lieberkühn, and the formation of intranuclear inclusion bodies. Other prominent lesions included hepatitis and atrophy (lymphocyte depletion) of the lymphoid organs (bursa of Fabricius, thymus, spleen). In goslings infected with the strain originating from the classical form of Derzsy's disease mild myocarditis was also detected. After infection at three weeks of age, growth retardation, feathering disorders, myocardial lesions (degeneration of cardiac muscle cells, lympho-histiocytic infiltration) and hepatitis were the most prominent lesions in both geese and Muscovy ducks. In addition to the lesions observed in the geese, muscle fibre degeneration, mild sciatic neuritis and polioencephalomyelitis were also observed in the Muscovy ducks infected with any of the three parvovirus strains.

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