Articular Urate Deposition ("Articu ...

Articular Urate Deposition ("Articular Gout") in Laying Hens

Articular Urate Deposition ("Articular Gout") in Laying Hens

It is characterized by the deposit of urates (tophi) in and around joints, particularly those of the feet. It may be confused with abscesses of bumblefoot on the feet. The joints are enlarged and feet appear deformed.

It is usually a chronic disease; rare and sporadic in mature chickens (4-5 months and above).

The clinical condition is characterized by leg shifting, lameness and inability to bend the toes.

Urate deposition should not be considered as a disease entity, but a clinical sign of severe renal dysfunction that causes hyperuricemia . Clinician and diagnosticians alike tend to use the historical terms "visceral gout" if the urates are deposited in the viscera and "articular gout" if the urates are deposited around the joints.

Observed Clinical Signs Happenings

Visibly sick birds

  • Few visibly sick birds

Lameness or unusual movement incoordination ataxia

  • Locomotor problems
  • Lameness


Body Parts (Neck, wings, breast, abdomen, shanks, legs, hock, feet, joints, vent, and skin)

  • Leg shifting
  • Inability to bend the toes
  • Joints enlarged and feet appear deformed
  • Deposit of urates around the joints, particularly those of the feet, hence confusion with Bumble foot disorder

Diet or Feed Changes

  • Recent Feed delivery
  • Recent formulation /diet
  • Other silo or improper storage
  • Other feed brand


Articular Urate Deposition ("Articular Gout") in Laying Hens DOES NOT exhibit or manifest any of the following clinical signs happenings:

  1. Egg drop
  2. Mortality above the standard
  3. Many visibly sick birds
  4. Flock behaviour activity change
  5. Droppings abnormalities
  6. Respiratory abnormalities
  7. Neurological Nervous
  8. Eyes abnormalities
  9. Head, Comb, Wattles, Face, Nostrils, Sinuses, Mount, Beak, Ear lobes, abnormalities (except eyes)
  10. Feathers abnormalities
  11. Feed Consumption Changes
  12. Shell quality defects
  13. Internal Egg defects


The above disorders: DO NOT produce the following gross lesions:

  • Joints enlarged and feet appear deformed
  • Deposit of urates around the joints, particularly those of the feet, hence confusion with Bumblefoot disorder

Not sure about Diet or Feed Changes then rule out the following disorders

Causing Agents
It is probably due to a metabolic defect in the secretion of urates by the kidney tubules. Genetics or High protein in the diet. It has been reproduced by feeding high-protein diets. It is tempting to infer that results from excessive production of uric acid. Studies in a line of chickens breed for high incidence of articular urate deposition. However, it indicates that it may have a defect in the tubular secretion of uric acid.
Affected Systems/Organs
Urinary System. Joints specially feet
Mainly Affects
Locomotor system
Therapy is only a palliative
Suggested Actions
  • Can be confirmed with clinical signs and gross lesions
  • Can be dealt with in house
  • Technical assistance recommended
  • Can be managed with feed additives, off-the-shelf medications
  • Diagnosis should be confirmed with rapid assays and/or a certified laboratory
  • Veterinary intervention is recommended

Impact on Egg quality


Impact on Liveability


Impact on Production


Overall Economic Impact


Y.M. Saif.2008.Disease of Poultry. 12th Edition. 1177

David E. Swayne. 2013.  Diseases of Poultry 13th Edition. page 1255

Mark Pattison, Paul F. McMullin, Janet M. Bradbury. Dennis J. Alexander. 2008. Poultry Diseases. 6th Edition.

Paul McMullin. 2004. A pocket Guide to Poultry Health and Disease. First Edition.

Steven Leeson, John D. Summers. 2008. Commercial Poultry Nutrition. Third Edition.

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