Just like any other living creature, ducks are not immune to sickness and injury. There are ways to minimize and hopefully prevent the attacks. Here are a few of the most common duck diseases, their symptoms, and how to possibly avoid them from affecting your ducks:
1) Duck virus hepa – very young ducklings are the ones most susceptible to this disease. Thankfully they become resistant to the virus as they mature. It is highly fatal and contagious, wherein the ducklings undergo spasmodic contractions in the legs. The liver becomes bigger than usual and will register hemorrhagic spots. Death can occur in an hour, with the ducks ending up in an arched position. A good way to avoid this is by gathering ducklings of similar age groups together. It is also a must to vaccinate them with a live virus duck hepa vaccine of reduced strength.
2) Duck Plague also known as Duck Virus Enteritis – this acute, highly contagious and fatal disease that affects waterfowl is brought about by the feared herpes virus. Although it often strikes older and more mature ducks, it is also sometimes seen in younger ducks. Symptoms include rumpled feathers, listlessness, and greenish-yellow liquid feces that could be blood-stained. Hemorrhaging of tissues is also found all over the body. There are also wounds and bruises of the intestine and also the esophagus’ mucous lining. To avoid this, as with other duck diseases, breeder ducks should be immunized regularly, in this case with a reduced strength live duck virus enteritis vaccine.
3) Aspergillosis – this happens when ducks inhale spores from the mold that grows on the ducks’ straw or feed that has become damp. These inhaled spores can cause numerous swellings or plaques in the lungs. Symptoms include gasping for breath, listlessness, and dehydration. To prevent this, always use fresh straw to avoid molds, and make sure it does not get wet. Also keep the duck feeds dry.
4) Avian cholera or fowl cholera – this disease is associated with unhygienic living conditions. It is brought about by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida. Symptoms include diarrhea, mouth discharge, and appetite deficiency. Lesions show hemorrhaging in the heart muscles. The liver is also enlarged, turns a reddish-brown color, becomes crumbly in texture, and develops whitish spots. To prevent this, good sanitation practice is key. Keep the duck pens clean and dry, and throw away any standing water. Of all the duck diseases, this one is the most easily avoidable.
The best way to prevent any of these duck diseases from striking your fine-feathered friends is by making sure they have regular immunizations and practicing good hygiene. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.