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Fowl pox

Disease Summaries


Fowl pox is caused by a large DNA Avipoxvirus of the family Poxviridae. Many strains of virus are recognized and naturally infect the species given in their name.

Some common examples are:

  • Fowl poxvirus
  • Quail poxvirus
  • Turkey poxvirus
  • Pigeon poxvirus
  • Psittacine poxvirus
  • Canary poxvirus



  • Direct: by water and feed.

  • Indirect: by vectors such as mosquitoes and others insects. 



  • Humid or diphtheroid form: respiratory signs and drop in feed consumption. Mortality and drops in production are variable. 

  • Cutaneous form: there are no clinical signs unless bacterial complications occur. Only characteristic lesions are observed. 



  • Humid or diphtheroid form: fibrinous-necrotic lesions in oral cavity of mucous membrane, oesophagus and trachea. 
  • Cutaneous form: papules and scabs on areas lacking feathers (crest, chin, legs, etc.) 



Can be confirmed by histopathological analysis; this is done by observing the cytoplasmatic inclusion bodies and pathognomonics, called Böllinger bodies, which are characteristic of the disease.

  •  Causal identification agent: isolating and identification.



There are no aetiological treatments, although it is possible to establish a symptomatic therapy.

Vaccination with live vaccines gives efficacious protection.

  • Cross-reactions of poxviruses from various avian species.
  • Read as Pigeonpox (y axis) reacts with individual strain (x axis). Vaccines available are listed as homologous or heterologous.
  • Source: Gerlach, H. (1994) Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications, Section 5, Chapter 32: Viruses. 865-874.


Moreover, hygienic care, biosecurity and control of vectors must be emphasized due to their relevance in controlling the disease.