Hemorrhagic hepatopathy is a syndrome reported in pullets resulting in mortality and lesions including hepatic, splenic, and intestinal necrosis, hepatic and splenic enlargement, hemorrhages, amyloidosis of the muscle, spleen, and liver, accumulation of noncoagulated hemorrhagic fluid in the coelom, and, frequently, granulomatous myositis at bacterin injection sites. The syndrome is characterized in the literature in table egg layer pullets and is thought to be associated with the administration of bacterin vaccines, frequently Salmonella bacterins. Hemorrhagic hepatopathy is recognized by industry veterinarians as also occurring infrequently in broiler breeder pullets in the United States. As the condition is likely due to an inflammatory process in response to bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) inoculation, it is important to characterize both the pathologic changes and predisposing factors for the condition in broiler breeds which are immunologically different from table egg layer breeds. In this study, we characterize the gross and microscopic lesions observed in a series of diagnostic laboratory cases of hemorrhagic hepatopathy in broiler breeder pullets and suggest a possible pathophysiology for the condition. Additionally, we report results from a case survey of the United States broiler industry which suggest that the condition is due to a reaction to bacterin vaccination and that certain bacterin products may predispose pullet flocks to develop the condition. While further research is indicated, these findings establish hemorrhagic hepatopathy as a pathologic condition of broiler breeder pullets and may aid in the diagnosis and prevention of the syndrome.

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