Serum amyloid-A (SAA) levels were investigated in chickens with experimentally induced amyloid arthropathy in comparison with healthy Counterparts. Forty-eight 5-week-old chickens were allocated into two equally numbered groups. Enterococcus faecalis was injected intraarticularly at concentrations of 10(9) cfu/ml, to induce amyloid arthropathy in one of the groups, whereas the other one was kept as a control and injected intraarticularly only with 0.9% NaCl (1 ml). All the chickens were necropsied at the 13(th) week after the injections. Joint sections were examined histopathologically and immunohistochemically. Blood samples were collected and SAA levels were determined by ELISA. Amyloid accumulation in joints was only seen in the experimental group (18/24). The SAA levels found were 154 +/- 20 ng/ml and 419 +/- 27 ng/ml in the control and experimental groups, respectively, and the differences were highly significant at (P < 0.001). In conclusion, SAA plasma concentrations are influenced by amyloid arthropathy. Consequently, SAA may be a sensitive variable to assess the physical welfare in chicks; and increases in these values can be suggestive of chronic inflammatory processes, including amyloid arthropathy.