Communities in English
Advertise on Engormix

Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too

Published: November 2, 2021
By: Dr. Pooja Bhardwaj / Business Development Manager at The Himalaya Drug Company.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 1
The liver is the largest gland of the body and an accessory organ of the poultry digestive system. The liver involves in a wide range of functions including the fat mobilization and metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, biotransformation, removal of waste products and detoxification. The liver is the main storage site of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K and E) as well as vitamin B12, glycogen, and some minerals like iron (Fe) and copper (Cu). Liver is also involved in the activation of vitamin D. The liver is the main site of phagocytosis; with the help of Kupffer cells, liver destroys aged blood cells and pathogens that may enter via the hepatic portal blood.
Normal healthy liver is dark brown in color and weighs around 4% of the bird’s total body weight.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 1
This article is illustrating various pathological lesions of liver caused by mycotoxin, bacteria and virus and how metabolic disorders affects liver.
1. Mycotoxins and Liver
Mycotoxins are toxic metabolic byproducts of fungal growth on grains. High moisture content of grains can lead to fungal growth and toxin production. Fungi can produce toxins before or after grain harvest. Insect damage to the grain can increase the susceptibility of grain to fungal growth. Feeding on the grains containing fungal producing toxins cause moderate to severe liver damage. Due to this other signs like reduced egg production, fertility, and hatchability, depressed growth, feed conversion, and increased bruising and downgrading, and immunosuppression can also be seen.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 2
Lesions associated with aflatoxin in liver include enlarged fatty livers with hemorrhage and anemia. Lesions associated with trichothecenes from Fusarium fungi include an inflamed, bright red to yellow hemorrhagic liver. Ochratoxin is the second most prevalent toxin produced by Aspergillus and Penicillum. Lesions associated with Ochratoxin include fatty liver with hemorrhage and urate deposits on the liver.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 1
Candidiasis is an opportunistic fungal disease of the digestive tract of birds that is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. It commonly develops after use of therapeutic levels of various antimicrobials or due to contaminated drinkers/nipples facilities. Parasitic infestation and vitamin A deficiency may also make easy access of Candidiasis. Focal necrotic lesions in liver are seen due to Candidiasis.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 2
These above conditions can be encountered in the farms compromising with good quality toxin binders. As feed never be infested by any single toxin but having multiple toxin at a time and liver affected by synergistic effect of these toxins. So, if a poultry feed is formulated without a toxin binder, the aflatoxin level under the acceptable limit (20 ppb) also can disturb the liver function.
2. Mycoplasma and Liver
Mycoplasma gallisepticum is commonly involved in the polymicrobial "chronic respiratory disease" in broiler chickens, leading to increased condemnations in the processing plant. However, its impact on liver cannot be ignored. Fibrinous perihepatitis is caused by Mycoplasma which is causing the most significant economic losses in poultry.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 3
Scientific approach to treat the mycotoxicosis in poultry is to replace the contaminated feed immediately (don't go for dilution) and use of double dose of liver tonics and choline chloride in water for 7-14 days. This will revitalize the liver.
3. Metabolic disorders and Liver
Deficiencies or disturbances of nutrition cause a variety of diseases. The diet may contain anti nutritional factors (ANF) which inhibits the absorption/utilisation, or metabolism of feed. Excessive lipid peroxidation caused by these ANF causes various degree of liver damage. Fatty Liver can be seen in the birds fed on high energy low protein ration while cage layer fatigue often results in liver parenchyma haematomas.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 4
4. Bacterial infections and Liver
Liver affected in many bacterial infections. Enlarged bronze color mottled and brittle liver is a typical sign of Fowl typhoid which causes high mortality in poultry.
Tuberculosis is a chronic disease occasionally seen in small poultry flocks and rarely in commercial poultry. Liver lesions of Tuberculosis in poultry consist of white, firm masses of various sizes called as caseous necrosis.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 5
5. Viral infections and Liver
Almost all viral disease determinate the liver health. Viral diseases which affect the liver the most are inclusion body hepatitis (IBH), Marek’s disease and Avian Leucosis.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 6
Other conditions like visceral gout also affect the liver with noticeable findings such as presence of chalky white masses surrounding the liver and other organs. Liver can be evident with multifocal greyish white coalescing lesions in case of coccidiosis in poultry.
Poultry Liver: An Easy target for all Toxins… But a tough fighter too - Image 7
Whatever may be the etiology, poultry liver is first to affect and last to give up. Treatment approach should be started with following 3 steps:
1. Remove the source of causative agent (check feed, water, and litter)
2. Target specific treatment (Antibacterial, best quality toxin binder, etc.)
3. Supplementation of liver tonic (Liv.52 Protec) in double dose along with choline chloride in water for 7-14 days
Further, to avoid further damage to the liver, maintain the quality of feed and water, use toxin binder and liver tonic like Liv.52 Protec Powder on regular basis in the feed.
Related topics:
Dr Pooja Bhardwaj
Hafez Mohamed
Free University of Berlin
29 de noviembre de 2023
Thank you
Dr. S.V. Rama Rao
13 de febrero de 2022
Tested 7 different liver tonics randomly picked up from Indian market. All improved weight gain and body weight uniformity besides majority of the liver tonics improves both wings of immune responses in egg laying pullets at 18 weeks of age....yes liver care should be considered as strategic wise investment
Robert Pottgueter
Lohmann Breeders
8 de febrero de 2022
Excellent paper! In high productive layers - the hopefully healthy - liver is the basis for nearly everything. All efforts in order to support liver health - pay back!
Carlos López Tomé
7 de febrero de 2022
Dear Dr. Pooja Interesting and clear review. In addition to the disorders caused by mycotoxins/bacteria/virus, we shall not forget genetic improvements in production animal species have leaded into very high zootechnical performance, (and at the same time, to a great nutritional demand from the point of view of energy and the quality of raw materials) which may only be achieved with a good liver functionality.
Biplab Kumar Deb
27 de noviembre de 2021
very informative article. thank you dr.pooja.
Talaat Mostafa  El-Sheikh
7 de noviembre de 2021
this article is very nice> liver function is very important for production and very important for poultry customers
Surinder Maini
5 de noviembre de 2021
Excellent job Dr Pooja, very well explained, good article, informative with illustrations,
Suhas Ganpule
4 de noviembre de 2021

Thank you Dr. Pooja. The story of this important and strong organ in the body is explaned well with pictorial presentations. Useful and well done.

2 de junio de 2023
You mentioned hepato or liver tonic compatible with choline; Most of some samples in our country (Burkina Faso) are not choline tolerated. In that kind of situation, a shuttle program will be suitable? choline free feed on and after treatment choline feed? Thank you very much BAWINDSOMDE
A R Hari Rao
25 de febrero de 2022
Our customers use Myco Ad manufactured by Special Nutrients and found very effective against myco toxins. We have been promoting this for almost 15 years and Venkys are the exclusive and major customer and market this to the poultries across India.
Profile picture
Would you like to discuss another topic? Create a new post to engage with experts in the community.
Join Engormix and be part of the largest agribusiness social network in the world.