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Avian Amyloidosis, AA‐amyloidosis

Avian amyloidosis is a well-recognized pathological disorder which is a common cause of death in birds, especially domestic ducks. It is a fatal progressive condition in which an abnormal protein (amyloid) builds up within the bird's tissues and organs, leading to organ failure. Although there are several types of amyloidosis that occur in humans, ducks are most frequently affected by the inflammation-associated form---also known as AA‐amyloidosis or systemic amyloidosis.

Avian amyloidosis is often found to occur as a secondary result of several diseases, especially chronic infections. Any ducks with existing chronic inflammations (aka bumblefoot, gout, frostbite, and avian tuberculosis) or tumors are more at risk. It has been found that prolonged inflammation causes a significant increase in the serum levels of the hepatic acute phase reactant serum amyloid A (SAA), the precursor protein of amyloid protein A (AA).

Increased incidences of amyloidosis have been shown to occur in ducks kept in overcrowded, stressful living conditions. In one study, up to 71% of ducks developed amyloidosis who were kept in overcrowded living conditions.

How is Amyloidosis Diagnosed?

Since clinical signs of amyloidosis are non‐specific, diagnosis requires histopathology following biopsy or necropsy to obtain a definite diagnosis.


Lack of appetite
Reluctant to stand
Weight loss
Muscle atrophy
Edema of subcutaneous tissues of the abdomen
Pitting edema on the feet
Difficulty breathing


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Tissue biopsy
  • Necropsy


MethodMethod Summary
Supportive careTreatment of underlying disease condition and reduce stress.


  • Decrease exposure to environmental stresses
  • Prevention of chronic inflammatory conditions such as bumblefoot, frostbite, gout, etc.
  • Do not overcrowd ducks


Age Range

It is most common in older birds that have an existing chronic inflammatory condition.

Risk Factors

  • History of chronic inflammation, such as gout, bumblefoot, frostbite or avian tuberculosis
  • Neoplasia
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Increasing age
  • Genetics

Also Consider