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Spotty Liver Disease

Other Names: Avian Vibrionic Hepatitis, Campylobacter Hepaticus, Miliary Hepatitis, Summer Hepatitis

Spotty liver disease (SLD) is an acute infectious disease found sporadically in free-range egg laying hens in Australia, United States, and the United Kingdom. It is thought to be caused by infection with Campylobacter spp. Most cases occur during the warmer months of the year, although it has been reported year round depending on the geographical region. Hens are most at risk during peak lay.


The Campylobacter bacterium can be cultured from the liver and bile of infected birds. A presumptive diagnosis can also be made post mortem by the detection of characteristic small yellow-white necrotic hepatic lesions, together with a fibrinous perihepatitis, excess pericardial and peritoneal fluid, and usually enteritis with diarrhoea. Histopathology reveals a multifocal acute hepatocellular necrosis with fibrin and occasional haemorrhage.

Clinical Signs

Dull, ruffled feathers
Change in feather color
Beak/nail overgrowth
Shrunken combs
Lighter egg yolk color


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory tests


Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
Tiamulin25 mg/kg administered in drinking water for 5 days.S. Young
Diet modificationAdditional Omega-3 fatty acids.



  • Biosecurity
  • Reduce stress
  • Don't overcrowd birds

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Stress
  • Rescued ex-factory or pastured/free ranged laying hens are more at risk.