A clinical study was conducted on commercial layers housed in biological isolation units, within which exogenous stress factors potentially affecting bird performance were minimized. This set-up was devised in order to assess how a pre-lay inoculation of S6 strain Mycoplasma gallisepticum affects the leukocytic properties of laying chickens. Previous studies have demonstrated relative decreases in lymphocyte and relative increases in heterophil percentages in birds infected with other strains of Mycoplasma gallisepticum. However, current results showed that the differential percentages of lymphocytes were decreased, whereas those of heterophils were increased, in both sham-inoculated control birds and birds inoculated with S6 Mycoplasma gallisepticum between 19 and 26 wk of age. This study clearly shows that a pre-lay inoculation of S6 Mycoplasma gallisepticum alone had no apparent effect on the leukocyte profile of commercial layers housed in biological isolation units.
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Vol. 48 • No. 1