Clinical hexamitiasis was recorded in pheasant poults between six and 12 weeks old, after placing the birds into release pens, and was characterised by reduced appetite, lethargy and emaciation. Post mortem the carcases were dehydrated. The presence in the lumen of the gut of characteristic motile organisms which could often be found several hours after death, provided a good clinical diagnosis. An emaciation syndrome, clinically similar but not associated with hexamitiasis or other pathogens also occurs in poults. It is characterised by extreme emaciation, largely confined to the pectoral muscles, and dehydration although the birds continue to eat and drink; the cause is unknown. Both hexamitiasis and the emaciation syndrome can cause high morbidity and mortality.
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