Turkeys being related to domestic chicken are susceptible to most chicken diseases. They therefore need to be vaccinated against poultry diseases from NCD, fowl pox, fowl typhoid and mareks. Gumboro is not a problem in turkeys. Preventive disease measures that are important for chicken production systems equally apply to turkeys. However some diseases seem to be unique to turkeys and these are turkey blackhead, tracheal gape worm, and turkey erysipelas.
1. Turkey blackhead:
Turkey black head is caused by a caecum protozoa transmitted by a parasitic worm resident in domestic chicken. The turkeys get these protozoa by being infested by the ceacal worm from domestic chicken. This is a lethal disease to all classes of turkeys. Control of this disease is by separating chicken and turkey flocks completely. Early management of this disease can be attempted by use of triazole compounds. A qualified vet should be consulted.
2. The Tracheal gapeworm
It is a worm common on turkeys reared intensively on runs and free range. It can exact heavy loses on growing turkeys causing deaths through suffocation. Strategic deworming and rotation on run-reared turkeys should control this problem. Use of piperazine citrate dewormer is recommended. Qualified vet should be consulted in case of problems.
3. Turkey Erysepelas
This is a soil borne bacteria that causes severe skin blotching, diarrhoea and high fever on grower and mature turkeys. It can cause heavy loses and normally is controlled by vaccinating grower and mature turkeys before they are allowed on to the runs and the pastures. However when diagnosed infected flocks can be successfully treated by penicillin /streptomycin compounds with very successful results. A qualified vet ought to be consulted.
The other bacterial disease is turkey leptospirosis that incidentally affect turkey flocks that are reared on the runs and pastures. It is important to realise that leptospira can commensally live with turkey without causing any problems. However in this state the turkey runs and pastures become very dangerous and potentially infectious to other farm animals and humans.