What Is a Choline Deficiency?

Chicken choline deficiency is a fatty liver disease or fatty liver syndrome caused by a large amount of fat deposited in the liver of poultry due to a lack of choline.

Chicken choline deficiency

Chicken choline deficiency is a fatty liver disease or fatty liver syndrome caused by a large amount of fat deposited in the liver of poultry due to a lack of choline.
Chinese name
Chicken choline deficiency
Foreign name
Choline Deficiency
Nutritional imbalance
Clinical symptoms
Stunted growth, enlarged leg joints
Choline is the active ingredient of acetylcholine and lecithin, has anti-fatty liver effect, and is also a supplier of methyl groups. Chickens require much more choline than normal vitamins, and choline can be synthesized in the body, which has a very important effect on the body's metabolism.
(I) Etiology and pathogenesis
The amount of choline required by poultry, according to the NRC standard: 1300 mg / kg for chicks and broilers, 500 mg / kg at other stages; ducks and geese are the same as chickens; quail growth period is 2000 mg / kg, and seed use period is 1500 mg / kg . These are the minimum choline requirements for poultry under normal conditions. Insufficient supply may cause deficiency. Since vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin C and methionine can participate in the synthesis of choline, their deficiency also easily affects the synthesis of choline.
When vitamin B1 and cystine are increased in poultry diets, they can promote the occurrence of choline deficiency, because they can promote the conversion of sugar into fat and increase fat metabolism disorders. In addition, long-term use of antibiotics and sulfa drugs in the diet can also inhibit the synthesis of choline in the body and cause choline deficiency.
Choline is a constituent of lecithin and acetylcholine. It is involved in fat metabolism as a component of lecithin. When choline is deficient in the body, there is insufficient lecithin in the liver. Since lecithin is necessary for the synthesis of lipoproteins, fat in the liver is transported to the outside of the liver in the form of lipoproteins. Therefore, the formation of hepatic lipoproteins is affected, so that liver fat cannot be transported out of the liver and accumulates in liver cells, which leads to a series of clinical and pathological changes such as fatty liver, liver cell destruction, and liver failure. Choline, as a component of acetylcholine, is related to the transmission of nerve impulses. It is found in acetylcholine in phospholipids in the body. Acetylcholine is a chemical produced by the stimulation of parasympathetic nerve endings, and causes some reactions such as the inhibition of the vagus nerve of the heart. Sick birds show a series of clinical symptoms such as depression, loss of appetite, and impeded growth and development.
The main reason is the imbalance of nutrients in the feed, because the amount of choline required depends on the level of methionine in the feed. In addition, the long-term use of antibiotics, etc., reduces the amount of choline synthesized by intestinal microorganisms, and also causes choline deficiency. [1]
Chicks and young turkeys often show stagnant growth, swollen leg joints, and a prominent symptom is rough bone. The sacroiliac joint is slightly swollen in the early stage, and there is a bleeding point the size of the needle tip; in the later stage, the tibiofibular joint is significantly flattened by the rotation of the sacrum. As the sacrum continues to twist, it becomes curved or arched so that it is aligned away from the tibia. The sick chickens developed from uncoordinated actions and poor joint flexibility into a bowed joint. Or the articular cartilage is displaced, and the Achilles tendon slips from the hoe and cannot support weight.
It has been found that young chicks lacking choline to stand up have an increased mortality rate. Adult chickens have higher fatty acids, and hens are significantly higher than cocks. The hen's egg production decreases, yolk abortion on the ovaries increases, and egg hatchability decreases. Some chickens in the growing season are prone to fatty liver; some adult chickens often die of acute internal bleeding due to liver rupture.
Examination of the dead chicken showed liver enlargement, yellowish color, bleeding spots on the surface, and brittleness. Some liver capsules are ruptured, and even liver rupture occurs, and there are blood clots on the liver surface and body cavity. Kidney and other organs have fatty infiltration and degeneration. When chicks and growing turkeys lack choline, pathological changes such as deformation of the tibia and sacrum, and slippage of the Achilles tendon can be seen with the naked eye.
The disease is mainly prevention, as long as effective measures can be taken to prevent the disease. If fatty liver disease, uncoordinated walking, joint swelling and other symptoms have been found in the flock, the treatment method can add choline chloride lg, vitamin E 10 international units, inositol 1g per kilogram of diet, continuous feeding Feed; or choline chloride 0.1 to 0.29 per day for 10 days, the effect is still good. If the diseased chicken has had Achilles tendon slippage, the treatment effect is poor.
Adding sufficient choline to the feed is the key to prevention. In addition, care should be taken not to use antibiotics chronically or in large quantities. Chicks require higher levels of choline. Therefore, special attention must be paid to choline supplementation, otherwise severe bone short and rough disease is prone to occur. Before the diagnosis of osteoporosis, sufficient choline can be added to the feed to meet its needs (the chicken needs choline in the range of 1000 to 1800 milligrams of feed), so that the deficiency can be timely prevented and treated. However, if the tendon of the chick has slipped off, it is usually irreparable. The amount of choline in the reserve breeder feed should not be too much, it should be appropriate. Otherwise, it will prevent the full production of choline from the body.


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