Clinical signs and progression of lesions in the gizzard are not influenced by inclusion of ground oats or whole wheat in the diet following experimental infection with pathogenic fowl adenovirus serotype 1.
In the present study the effects of dietary gizzard stimulation on the development and severity of adenoviral gizzard erosion were investigated. For this purpose, specific pathogen-free broilers were divided into six groups, investigating the influence of an oat-containing diet with higher fibre content, a whole wheat-containing diet and a control diet of nearly identical composition, but containing ground wheat. For each feed administered, one group of birds was experimentally infected on the 10th day of age by the oral route with virulent fowl adenovirus serotype 1 (FAdV-1), recently proven to induce gizzard erosions, while the respective negative control groups remained uninfected. Experimental feed was administered from 2 days post-infection onwards. No significant differences on gizzard health or in weight gain could be detected between uninfected control groups or between FAdV-1 infected groups that received different experimental feed. However, independent of the supplied diet, a significantly reduced weight gain was noted from 7 days post-infection onwards in FAdV-1 infected broilers compared to uninfected birds that received the same diet. Macroscopically, discolouration and erosion of the koilin layer and inflammation of the gizzard mucosa were observed in all FAdV-1 infected groups. Histologically, necrosis, degeneration of gizzard epithelial cells and multiple basophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies were observed. In summary, after experimental infection with FAdV-1 development of gizzard erosion in chickens was not influenced by the feeding regimes investigated. Therefore, it is unlikely that dietary gizzard stimulation influences the outcome of adenoviral gizzard erosion in vertically infected broilers.