Domestic Waterfowl Club.

Illnesses DVE

Duck Viral Enteritis

DUCK VIRUS ENTERITIS (DVE) or duck plague is an acute contagious infection of ducks, geese and swans caused by a herpes virus. Usually seen in domestic and feral waterfowl in urban/farm pond settings during breeding season (April to June). Diagnosis is based onclinical signs, pathology supported by the isolation and identification of the virus.

Identification : The virus may be isolated from the liver and spleen of birds dying from this infection. Virus can be recovered by infecting susceptible ducklings, in which the disease can be reproduced; by inoculating embryonated Muscovy duck eggs on the chorioallantoic membrane; or by inoculating cell cultures of duck embryo or Muscovy duck embryo origin. The identity of the virus can be confirmed by neutralisation testsusing specific antiserum to inhibit pathological changes in the duck embryos or the cytopathological effects in the cell cultures, or by direct or indirect fluorescent antibody tests on infected cell cultures.

DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES Duck virus enteritis(DVE) is an acute, sometimes chronic, contagious virus infection that occurs naturally only in ducks, geese and swans. The agent is a herpesvirus and similar to Newcastle Disease in chickens. The infection has not been reported in other avian species, mammals or humans. Indomestic ducks and ducklings, DVE has been reported in birds ranging from 7 days of age to mature breeders. In susceptible flocks, the firstsigns are often sudden, high and persistent mortality with a significant drop in egg production. In chronically infected partially immune flocks, only occasional deaths occur. (In mine they did not stop laying and even laid eggs the morning they died)

 Clinical signs associated with a DVE outbreak vary with the species, age and sex of the affected birds, and the virulence of the virus. In breeder ducks, the range of signs include photophobia (fear of light or apparent blindness), polydipsia, loss of appetite, ataxia,watery diarrhoea and nasal discharge. Birds often have ruffled feathers and soiled vents. Sick birds may maintain an upright stance by using their wings for support, but their overall appearance is one of weakness and depression. In ducklings 2-7 weeks of age, losses may belower than in older birds, and the signs associated with DVE infection include dehydration, loss of weight, a blue colouration of the beaks,and bloodstained vents.

REQUIREMENTS FOR VACCINES A live attenuated virus vaccine can be used to control DVE in birds over 2 weeks of age. Fattening or breeding ducks may be vaccinated subcutaneously or intramuscularly to produce an active immunity. The vaccine virus is not thought to spread by contact from vaccinated to unvaccinated ducks, as the unvaccinated birds remain susceptible to infection.

Gleaned and edited From Various sources on the net and elsewhere
The position with the vaccine is that it was brought into this country from Holland by Intervet after a request from Slimbridge. They imported a large quantity and sold few , when I had an outbreak it had to be a special order which takes a week .As many vets are not totally au fait with waterfowl the disease is still little known but as it has the same devastating effects as Newcastles it should not be ignored . Vaccination for duck viral enteritis is now routine in the United States but in the UK you often cannot even get the vaccine so if wildbirds fly in to your pens and birds die suspect DVE

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