Gout, a burning issue

Published on: 10/14/2011
Author/s : DR. MAHENDRA M. CHAUDHARI (Animal Nutritionist)


Gout is a metabolic disorder associated with kidney. Visceral form of gout is commonly noticed in broilers resulting economic losses due to mortality and morbidity.

In gout, the kidney function is slowed down to a point where uric acid accumulates in blood and body-fluids. Further, it leads accumulation of white uric acid or urate -crystals occurs in soft tissues of various organs in body.



A condition in which white uric acid or urate-crystals deposits are seen in soft tissues of various organs in body.


Conditions in which urate crystals deposit are seen in joints.

Visceral gout: Many names have been used to describe visceral gout such as acute toxic nephritis, renal gout, kidney stones, nutritional gout, nephrosis and baby chick''''s nephropathy is usually characterized by white chalk-like deposits covering on surface of various abdominal organs as well as the heart sac. The kidney''''s are swollen and contains urates. The normal blood uric acid level goes up to 44 mg from normal 5.7 mg /100 ml. Similarly urate-crystals are seen within tubules with impaction of urater, urater branches and collecting ducts resulting to damage of primary tubules or to back pressure following obstruction of urater and its branches. The kidney is truly a vital organ. When renal function stops, uric acid normally excreated by the kidney in the urine, is then a deposited any place that blood is circulated. A bird with no renal function will likely to die within 36 hours.

Causes of visceral gout are mostly infectious, nutritional or toxic origin. The kidney damage can arise from infection with certain strains of infectious Bronchitis, Avian Nephritis virus, exposure to some mycotoxin or inadequate water intake. Baby Chick Nephropathy can be due to in appropriate egg storage conditions, excessive water loss during storage, incubation, chick holding or chick transport. Even low humidity during first 3 days of chick life or inadequate water intake during first few days of life can favour the gout condition along with other factors.

Post Mortem lesions: chalky-white uric acid and urate cryastal deposits

High calcium diet with low phosphorous results in precipitation of calcium sodium-urate crystals. In addition excessive use of Sodium bicarbonate or excessive Sodium, low vitamin A diet, high protein diet (30%) and water deprivation due to any reason leads to concentration of uric acid and other minerals in the blood and later in the kidney. Hard water with higher metallic salts favors the condition and puts extra load on kidneys.

Mycotoxins, ocharatoxins and oosporin, antibiotics excreting through kidneys like sulpha drugs, Gentamycin and Nitrofurans causes'''' renal damage.

Residual toxic effect due to some of the disinfectants like Phenyl, Cresol derivatives causes also been reported.

Articular gout: This condition is rarely seen and usually a chronic condition. Kidneys are generally normal and may become abnormal with white urate deposits if bird gets dehydrated. Main causes are Genetic, High protein diet etc.


1. Depression.
2 ..Low feed intake and growth.
3. Dehydration.
4. Ruffled feathers.
5. Moist vent.
6. Post mortem lesions show irregular and enlarged kidneys crystal chalky-white urates deposition and all over other organs like Heart, under the skin etc.


Prevention and Control or Treatment.

1. At hatchery level try to minimize dehydration at all stages including chick holding and transport etc. Try to start chick life during day time in cold weather when temperature is ideal.

2. Make sure that the chicks get free and ample access to drinking water. Maintain water temperature to room temperature. Adjust proper height of drinkers. In case of nipple drinking system use water cups for few days or water fonts. Maintain correct temperature at litter level during arrival of chicks and first 10 days at-least. Try to maintain 60 % plus or 70% humidity during first3 days of chick life. Allow chicks to drink water for 1 or 2 hours and then only offer pre-starter feed.

3. Ensure correct level of calcium and phosphorous levels in feed. Use toxin binders and liver tonics to keep minimum levels of fungal toxins in feed. Avoid excessive protein levels in diet over suggested.

4. Use recommended levels of Sodium bicarbonate in feed during high temperatures. Use of Jaggery 2to5 grams per liter. Of water or electrolyte at recommended doses in water.

5. Review Infectious Bronchitis vaccine programme in Breeders and broiler farms. Even vaccine spray at hatchery level found to be effective in field condition. Even farms history Gout problem show this problem to some extent to up coming batch also been reported. However more work needs to be done on this matter. Use of antiviral preparations is found helpful to some extent to farmers.

6. Depending upon the history one can use Ammonium-sulphate 5 gram/kg or Ammonium chloride 10 grams/Kg in feed. Wet ping may be a side effect of Ammonium chloride usage but it is not true with Ammonium sulphate. Use of Potassium Chloride 0.5 gram to 1 gram per liter water also been used. High level of Methionine in feed also found helpful to some extent. Use of diuretic drug preparations like Lasix, Zyloric also been used. Coconut water is also a good diuretic.

7. When gout is noticed, reduce the load on kidney by reducing the daily intake of protein either by reducing the quantity of feed or use grinded maize fortified with vitamins and salt at correct level for 24 to 48 hours along with uses of Ammonium sulphate or Ammonium chloride or Potassium chloride at correct levels.

8. Use of Homeopathic drugs like Barbaris valgaris 200 x is also found helpful in relief during the affection.


Gout is a metabolic disorder associated with kidney. Variety of reasons is associated for above problem resulting economic losses to farmers. Therefore, correct identification of cause is necessary. Prevention and control programme is necessary to reduce the economic losses till the time solution is found. Gout is still a diagnostic challenge for technical peoples even today although the condition exists since from last 30 years. Inter-action between farmer, field people, technical peoples and researcher must continue to solve the problem.


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