Did you hear the big news? We now offer health care services for your backyard flock of chickens. Come see Dr. Sarah Griffel, for any of your chicken health needs. She works Tuesday – Friday and some Saturdays. Please call for an appointment!

With that being said, we want to keep you updated on health issues you should know about. The following announcement is from UC Davis Veterinary Medicine.

Virulent Newcastle Disease is a fatal viral disease in poultry. The virus is transmitted by poultry droppings and secretions and is inhaled by other birds who become infected. If your birds start to look sick (see the photo sheet), call the Sick Bird Hotline (866-922-2473). Hablamos Espanol. There are precautions you can take that can help:


  • Change your clothes and footwear completely before visiting your birds (have dedicated clothing for working with your birds), or wear disposable coveralls and booties —you can get these at most hardware stores.
  • Use a foot bath made of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water to dip the bottoms of your shoes before you enter and after you exit your poultry enclosures. Scrub off visible dirt first, as the bleach can’t penetrate droppings and other debris.
  • Wash your hands with soap or at minimum use hand sanitizers before you touch your birds or any equipment, feedbags etc.
  • Spray your tires with Lysol before entering your bird property.
  • Try to prevent wild birds from entering the enclosures. Wild birds may not get sick but the virus could catch a ride on them.


  • Attend any gatherings where poultry are present. If you do, spray any items that you bring back (not birds!) with Lysol, completely change your clothes and footwear, and take your car through a car wash.
  • Share or borrow equipment unless thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with bleach water.
  • Transport your birds or purchase any new ones unless they are from a reputable NPIP certified seller.
  • Purchase feed or equipment from someone who was infected

This is a highly contagious virus. Microscopic particles can catch a ride on clothing, equipment, and anything else that was in the vicinity of the birds. The particles can travel by wind, too.

Newcastle Vaccination: Licensed vaccine – Lasota or B1 can be purchased at some feed stores or online and is easy to give. Always follow the label instructions. You should use the method of placing a drop of the vaccine carefully onto the eye of the bird. Vaccination does not eliminate the need for good management to protect your birds from infectious disease!

If you are unable to call the sick bird hotline, and your birds are dying, humanely dispatch (euthanize) them. If you have some infected birds, the rest are going to get sick—it is just a matter of time. The longer you leave them alive, the more the virus reproduces, infects your property and spreads. Dip the carcasses with bleach water (see above). Put them in double plastic garbage bags and put them in the trash. Don’t dump them on the roadside where wild animals can drag the carcasses away and spread the virus. Your infected ground needs time to be cleared of virus: sunlight and heat help kill the virus. Clear away debris and wait at least 6 months before buying more birds.

If these recommendations are not followed, this virus could continue to circulate for many months, costing you and others a lot of money and the loss of your flock.

For more information go to the UCCE at: https://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/ or https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Animal_Health/Newcastle_Disease_Info.html

If you have any questions, please do not hesiate to contact El Gato Veterinary Hospital as quickly as possible.

Have questions? Need an appointment?

El Gato Veterinary Hospital is here to help! Contact us today.