Improper cleaning of the water storage tank resulted in a toxic concentration of sodium in drinking water in a commercial turkey flock. Within the first week after placement 40% of the birds in the flock died. Clinically, poults were depressed and weak, huddled together, and reluctant to walk. At necropsy the birds had crops and gizzards filled with rice hulls, moderately swollen livers, distended gall bladders, and congested lungs. Neither ascites nor round heart was observed. The major microscopic lesion was multifocal symmetrical malacia of brain and spinal cord. Laboratory results revealed a high concentration of sodium in water (2340 mg/liter). The concentration of sodium in brain and liver ranged from 1870 to 2680 (mean = 2185; SD = 321.5) mg/liter wet weight and from 1810 to 2360 (mean = 2191.67; SD = 193.2) mg/liter wet weight, respectively, whereas the normal expected sodium concentration in the brain and liver tissues from young turkeys (<7 days old) that were submitted for other causes averaged 1233 and 983 mg/liter wet weight, respectively. Based on the histological and toxicological results, a diagnosis of salt poisoning was made. This case investigation demonstrated that sodium analysis of brain and liver are diagnostically useful when confirming sodium poisoning in young turkeys.
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Vol. 52 • No. 1