All about Nutritional Myopathy disease

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Nutritional Myopathy--which can cause chickens to have muscular degeneration or slowed growth--is caused by a lack of vitamin E, along with a deficiency of methionine and cysteine in a flock's diet. To prevent this from happening to your flock, make sure you feed them a complete, nutritionally-balanced feed, and not just scratch or kitchen scraps. Read on to find out more.

Nutritional Myopathy Also called
White muscle disease, Nutritional Muscular Dystrophy


General signs -
Muscular degeneration, slow growth.

Cardinal or diagnostic signs -
Muscular degeneration occurs primarily in breast and legs. Necropsy shows white muscle striations.

Vitamin E deficiency paired with a deficiency in methionine and cysteine.

Not communicable, but many members of a flock may share this problem if they're on the same deficient feed.

Communicability to humans

Incubation period
None, but as a deficiency, it takes some time to develop.



Home treatment and/or prevention
Prevention: Provide a good, fresh, nutritionally-balanced feed for your flock. Don't make the mistake of offering something like scratch only, or kitchen scraps only.

Treatment: Supplement with vitamin E, Selenium, and the amino acids methionine and cysteine

Veterinary care
A vet can diagnose this problem and suggest good supplements.

If the illness is not too far advanced, birds will recover completely with proper nutrition.

Other conditions, illnesses and/or diseases with similar signs:
Can be mistaken for other illnesses causing slow growth or leg problems.

Also consider browsing through this list of other chicken illnesses with neurological symptoms.