The lack of approved efficacious drugs continues to be the top disease issue facing the turkey industry, according to a report by three industry experts presented at the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, held March 11–12, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Dr. Steven Clark, senior technical services veterinarian, Zoetis; Dr. Michelle Kromm, president of the Association of Veterinarians in Turkey Production; and Andrew Bailey, scientific and regulatory affairs manager for the National Turkey Federation, prepared the report after surveying turkey industry professionals and veterinarians regarding the health status of turkeys produced in August 2011 through August 2012. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severe, the survey showed the lack of approved drugs ranking at a 4.8.

Highlighting the severity of the problem is the withdrawal of the New Animal Drug Application for enrofloxacin in 2005 for use in poultry, leaving the industry with no adequate therapeutic response to colibacillosis or fowl cholera.

The lack of approved drugs was also rated the most severe disease issue during the previous year.

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Ranking second among major disease issues is cholstridial dermatitis, previously known as cellulitis. Seventy-six percent of survey respondents ranked it either as a 4 or a 5, giving it a cumulative rating of 3.8. 

Colibacillosis was ranked as the third-greatest health problem for the second straight year. Respondents rated it at a 3.6, with heat stress ranked just slightly lower for its second consecutive year as the fourth-biggest health problem.

Late mortality and leg problems followed as the next most severe health issues, with both earning a cumulative rating of 3.