Layer chicken embryo survival to hatch when administered anin ovovaccination of strain FMycoplasma gallisepticumand locations of bacteria prevalence in the newly hatched chick1,2,3

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Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) is a bacterial pathogen that causes production losses in layer chickens. To combat MG, multiage layer facilities vaccinate pullets by either spray or eye-drop vaccination. The objective in this study was to evaluate the use of in ovo vaccination as a potential alternative for MG vaccination. Layer embryos at 18 d of incubation were either not-injected (control), or were hand-injected with either commercial Marek's disease vaccine diluent alone or with a high, medium, low, or very low dosage of a live attenuated strain F (FMG) vaccine suspended in the commercial diluent. Hatch success and residual egg embryonic mortality were determined after 23 d of incubation. Six hatched chicks per treatment were swabbed for the detection of FMG at 4 different sites (trachea, mouth and esophagus, yolk sac membrane, and the lumen of the duodenal loop) via real-time PCR. Embryos were found to be administered 106 CFU per dose in the high treatment, 104 CFU/dose in the medium treatment, 102 CFU/dose in the low treatment, and between 5.06 and 5.93 CFU/dose in the very low treatment. Hatch of embryonated eggs was decreased by the medium and high doses (P = 0.02). These embryos died while pipping. No FMG was detected in the control and diluent-injected chicks. In the FMG treatments, FMG was found in all sites and dosages, with a greater number of positive chicks found in the higher FMG dosage treatments. These findings indicate the potential practicality of vaccinating layer embryos with FMG by in ovo injection based on the observed hatch success at lower dosages. Also, once injected into the amnion, the bacteria are present in the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts as well the yolk sac membrane and the small intestine of hatchlings. Future research will need to ascertain the effects of FMG administered by in ovo injection on posthatch immunity and mortality.

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