Footpad dermatitis and pain assessment in turkey poults using analgesia and objective gait analysis

C Weber Wyneken, A Sinclair, T Veldkamp, L J Vinco, P M Hocking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

1. The relationships between litter moisture, footpad dermatitis (FPD) and pain in medium heavy turkey strains was studied by gait analysis in two medium heavy with and without analgesia (betamethasone or bupivacaine). 2. The relationship between FPD and litter moisture was linear above a breakpoint of 49% litter moisture and there were no differences between the two breeds in susceptibility to FPD. 3. Gait analysis showed higher impulse, single support time, stride time and stance time in breed A compared to breed B. Significant interactions between breed, litter and analgesic for impulse, single support time and stride time were associated with higher means for breed A given saline injection on wet litter. 4. Data from betamethasone analgesia in experiments 1 and 3 were combined for analysis. Peak Vertical Force was higher in saline compared to betamethasone treated birds. Compared to the wet (high FPD) litter treatments, birds on dry (low FPD) litter had greater speed and lower double support time and longer stride length. Turkeys kept on wet litter had a longer stride length compared to dry litter when given saline whereas in betamethasone treated birds the means were similar. 5. There were no differences between birds with or without bupivacaine analgesia. Peak Vertical Force was higher in breed A than B and in birds with a low FPD compared to a high FPD score. 6. It was concluded that breeds A and B did not differ in susceptibility to develop FPD when housed on wet litter but may have natural gait differences. Significant changes in gait parameters were associated with wet litter and with analgesic treatments. The results showed that FPD affected the gait of the turkeys and combined with evidence of behavioural changes when given analgesia suggest that footpad lesions are painful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-530
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Issue number5
Early online date6 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


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