Duck Diseases: What You Need To Know

We will know about duck diseases because in duck farming you may need to know also about duck diseases. Ducks are like any other species of other poultry and are also prone to diseases and infections. When raising ducks, precautionary measures should be taken to avoid getting diseases.

If they are already infected, prevent them from spreading further. Since ducks live in close proximity to each other, the latter is somewhat more difficult to do so it is vital that the ducks are vaccinated to prevent some infections.

Duck Diseases

Bacterial Duck Diseases


These duck diseases comprise a group of diseases of different presentations (acute, subacute and chronic) produced by bacteria of the genus Salmonella. In ducks it is common Salmonella arizonae that mainly affects ducks of commercial lines producing septicemia and meningitis and Salmonella Typhimurium that produces diarrhea and septicemia in young animals, can be transmitted to the egg and infects the humans, reason why is the one of greater importance.

Also called infectious serositis, this is a bacterial disease, acute or chronic duck disease caused by Riemerella Antipastief, formerly known as Pasteurella Antipastief, affects ducks of any age, sometimes turkeys too, causing high mortality, weight loss, and wasting; in their acute eye discharge and diarrhea, ducks show incoordination, shake their head and have a crooked neck.

They are often found on their backs moving their paws. At necropsy, the typical lesions are opaque air sacs, membranes covering the heart and liver, and meningitis. Vaccination is an effective way to prevent this disease, for their treatment they have used antibiotics such as penicillin, which helps to reduce mortality.

Avian Cholera

It is caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multicide, this disease has caused major problems in some parts of Asia. The lack of hygiene and the existence of stagnant water predispose to the disease. It is characterized by loss of appetite, mucous discharge from the mouth, diarrhea and respiratory distress in the reproductive organs.

At necropsy there are hemorrhages in the heart, mesentery, and abdominal fat, the liver is enlarged, a copper tone, with whitish and very friable. This disease can be prevented by improving hygiene, for using antibiotics such as sulfa.


It is a common disease in birds, caused by Escherichia coli, causes yolk sac infection and septicemia in ducks 2 to 8 weeks, in the reproductive system produces salpingitis and peritonitis. Prevention is the hygiene and management measures, treatment consists of antibiotics.


It is an economically important disease, is produced by Mycoplasma synoviae, is transmitted through the egg, producing a subclinical infection of the respiratory system, can produce synovitis in acute cases. This disease does not respond to treatment with common antibiotics and its control resides in integral programs of disinfection of the facilities and dosificar the food.

Parasitic Diseases

Produced by Nematelmintos

Also called roundworms or worms, the most important in ducks are capillariasis that affects the esophagus, Syngamus (Syngamus trachea and Cyathostoma bronchialis) mainly affects trachea, sometimes reaching the bronchi and lungs, causing pneumonia.


Although not as serious a problem as in chickens, it occurs in developing flocks. In ducks, this disease causes kidney infection (coccidiosis) and is produced by Eimeria boschadis. The affected animals show weakness, poor condition, the dirty and moist plumage of the ventral and anal zones. Mortality may be high in some cases. For treatment coccidicides are applied in food and drinking water, it is necessary to disinfect the facilities.

Viral Diseases

Viral hepatitis

Also called Hydropericardium Syndrome (SHP), is an infectious disease of birds, produced by a group 1 Adenovirus. The transmission of the disease can be horizontal or vertical, ie from bird to bird or through the egg. In ducks, it occurs from the first to the fifth week of age.

The diagnosis is made by necropsy, where at the macroscopic level is observed hydropericardium, with up to 15 ml of a clear liquid or a semisolid transudate, hepatomegaly, and nephritis. As a preventive measure, vaccination of ducks from the first day of age, the vaccine must be a live attenuated virus.

Plague of Ducks

It is an acute, contagious and fatal disease of ducks, caused by a herpes virus. Affects adult ducks, although it can be seen in young ducks, manifested by yellow-green diarrhea, sometimes with blood streaks. Affected ducks have feathered bristles. Dead ducks often have feathers stained with blood around the sewer and blood coming out of the nostrils.

At necropsy there are hemorrhages in almost all tissues of the body, characteristically in the mucous membranes of the esophagus and intestine eruptive lesions are observed. Necrotic plaques are found in the sewer. It has been proven that the subcutaneous application route is effective.

Parvovirus Infection

It can cause Derzsy disease or parvovirus of the geese. This disease is highly contagious. It affects young geese and Muscovy ducks. In Muscovy ducks, it produces pericarditis and perihepatitis. Muscovy ducks can also cause parvovirus. This disease affects ducks from 1 to 3 weeks of age. The locomotor system is affected, and there are weight loss and death in a high percentage of affected animals.

Microtic Diseases


This disease is caused by the fungus Rhinosporidium seeberique, affects swans and ducks, and causes granulomatous conjunctivitis (severe chronic inflammation of the eye).


It occurs by inhaling the spores of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (the most common species) and causes nodules or plaques in the lungs and air sacs. The signs are dehydration and gasping.

This disease can be prevented by avoiding giving the ducks food that has been wetted, as well as improving the hygiene of the facilities and giving them good maintenance to avoid the humidity that favors the fungus.

Taking action, and maintaining sanitation in the facilities where the ducks are found can prevent many diseases. Like the ducks can be vaccinated. Taking this into account can reduce the mortality rate of ducks. So the breeding and production will be of good quality.


What are duck diseases?

Duck diseases are illnesses that can affect ducks as well as other waterfowl, such as geese and swans. Common duck diseases include avian influenza, botulism, salmonella, and duck virus enteritis. Avian influenza is a highly contagious virus that affects the respiratory system of ducks, causing coughing, sneezing, and discharge from the eyes and nose. Botulism is a bacterial infection that causes paralysis in ducks. Salmonella is an intestinal infection that can cause diarrhea in infected ducks. Duck virus enteritis is a viral disease that affects the intestines of ducks and can lead to severe dehydration and death if left untreated. Ducks should be regularly monitored for signs of illness in order to prevent these diseases from spreading to other birds or humans.

What are the most common duck diseases?

The most common duck diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Common bacterial diseases include botulism, colibacillosis, and fowl cholera. Viral diseases such as duck plague, avian influenza, and Newcastle disease can affect ducks. Parasites such as lice and mites can cause skin irritation in ducks. Fungal infections like aspergillosis can also be a problem for ducks.

What are signs of a sick duck?

Ducks can become sick for a variety of reasons, so it is important to be aware of the signs that may indicate an illness.
One sign of a sick duck is a change in behavior. If your duck is usually active and alert but suddenly appears lethargic or uninterested in its surroundings, this could be an indication that something is wrong. Additionally, if your duck stops eating or drinking or has difficulty doing so, this could also be a sign that it is ill.
Another sign of sickness in ducks is changes to their feathers. If your duck’s feathers are dull and lacklustre or matted down instead of standing up as usual, this may indicate an underlying health issue. Additionally, if you notice any discoloration or bald patches on the feathers, this could also be an indication that the duck is not well.

What is the treatment of duck diseases?

The treatment of duck diseases depends on the specific disease and the severity of the illness. In general, ducks should be taken to a veterinarian if they are showing signs of illness. Common treatments may include antibiotics, antivirals, or other medications to treat bacterial or viral infections. Additionally, supportive care such as providing clean water and food, ensuring good hygiene, and providing a warm and safe environment can help prevent and reduce the severity of disease in ducks. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat certain conditions or injuries. Overall, it is important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options for any duck illnesses.


In conclusion, it is vital that ducks are vaccinated to prevent some infections. Ducks live in close proximity to each other and the latter can be difficult because of this. I hope you have found this guide helpful! Good luck raising your own ducklings!

As A Reference: Duck disease

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