Fowl Pox is a painful viral infection affecting both chickens and turkeys. It is a serious problem throughout Australia, especially in summer when biting flies and mosquitoes are common.
There are TWO forms of Fowl Pox, although chickens may be affected with either or both forms at one time:
Cutaneous or Dry Pox: is the most common form. Weeping scabs and wart-like lesions develop on the
non-feathered parts of the head, neck and legs. In many cases these individual pox lesions run together and can be severe enough to completely close the bird’s eyes, and can lead to starvation unless treated. The dry pox is the milder form of the two and most chickens will recover after a few weeks.
Diphtheritic or Wet Pox: is less commonly seen but much more severe. Lesions will develop in the oral cavity and respiratory tract which will result in difficulty in eating and breathing, even death. The mortality rate is higher in the wet form, nearing 50% particularly in young birds.
If an entire backyard flock is infected, the duration can extend for several more weeks.
There is NO specific treatment for Fowl Pox. Prevention through a combination of vaccination and reducing exposure to mosquitos is most important.