PRACTICAL APPROACH TO COCCIDIOSIS CONTROLOscar Obiora
Coccidiosis is a disease of poor management and is of great economic importance to the poultry farmers. Coccidiosis is thought to cost the poultry industry US$3 billion worldwide each year, making it the costliest disease to affect poultry producers around the world. So achieving thorough and consistent protection against this disease should not be underestimated.
Coccidiosis is a difficult to control disease in poultry, because of the involvement of many different types of parasites and their capability to become quickly resistant to specific anticoccidials.
It is most serious to chicks up to the age of 4 to 6 weeks. It spreads in the form of an outbreak and the mortality rate is very high. Inadequate and poor management practices in the poultry house play an important role in the transmission of this disease.
Caecal form of coccidiosis is caused by a protozoan parasite Eimeria tenella and intestinal coccidiosis is caused by Eimeria necatrix.
Oocysts are passed in the faeces of the affected birds and develop in wet litter to become infective again.
The chicks suffering from this disease especially with caecal form appear dull, droopy, reduce feeding and pass blood in the faeces. High mortality is noticed between 4 to 6 days from the onset of the infection and sometimes death occurs due to excessive loss of blood. Petechial haemorrhages occur during the first three days and market haemorrhagic spots appear on the fourth day. The caeca are distended with clotted blood from seven days’ post infection.
In intestinal coccidiosis the birds of over six weeks of age are usually involved in an outbreak but younger birds are also involved.
Under common (deep litter) poultry rearing conditions, it is likely that all the young birds are exposed to the infection but severity of coccidiosis is based on the number of infective Oocysts ingested. The adult birds suffer less and do not show much clinical symptoms and birds after recovery become resistant.
HOW TO AVOID COCCIDIOSIS:
- CAGE REARING Is the best way to avoid coccidiosis and other bacterial diseases as this is a disease of deep litter farming. Since there is no ban on poultry rearing in Nigeria, it is advisable to shift to Cage brooding and rearing.
- VACCINATION: Interest is growing in controlling coccidiosis by vaccination because immunological control is recognized as the only practical alternative to anticoccidial drugs in large scale production.
Vaccine brands like Coccivac and Immucox are available in Nigerian market. These vaccines can actually cause some lesions and occurrence of coccidiosis in birds because they are not “attenuated” or weakened in some way. It is a controlled occurrence, but it may be necessary to treat for secondary gut disease, using antibiotics or alternatives such as probiotics. Birds need good protection by the time they are three weeks old, so vaccines should be given before 10 days of age.
- Drinking water: The chicks should be slightly water-starved to encourage them to drink. Since oocysts are heavy and fall to the bottoms of drinkers, they are mixed with a suspension agent to keep them evenly distributed. Coccidiosis Vaccines cannot be given through nipple drinkers.
- It is important to apply vaccines uniformly to ensure the birds get equal exposure. If birds receive too much of a non-attenuated vaccine, the parasites can cause lesions.
- The environment must allow the oocysts to sporulate, since the goal of vaccination is to introduce the parasite in small numbers. Litter should be damp but not wet.After vaccination, birds excrete fresh oocysts onto the litter. Birds then eat these (second cycle) oocysts. Two cycles of replication are needed for good protection.
- Since the vaccines contain live oocysts, they should not be frozen.
- Birds need access to their droppings in order for the vaccine to work, since oocysts must be reingested. Vaccines are not effective for birds raised in cages with wire floors.
- A 25% litter moisture content is advisable in the vaccinated pens.
- Do not give drugs and vaccines to the same flock – they are opposed to each other.
- Do not give any anticoccidial drugs to the vaccinated flock.
ESSENTIAL FACTORS FOR CONTROL: (Non-Vaccinated Flocks only)
- Always Maintain a dry litter condition in the pen house. The area around the drinkers is the media for the oocysts formation. Moisture and moderate temperature environment ideal for the proliferation of coccidial oocysts.
- Higher stocking density could result in excessive litter moisture and a high litter oocyst density.
- Avoid over stocking in the pen house.
- Avoid feed starvation. Birds may eat infested bedding material and get the disease.
- Do not move the birds any more than necessary.
- Use AVATECH 15%(Lasalocid) @ 500 gm to 800 gm (75 – 125 ppm Lasalocid) per ton of feed from day one through rearing period. OR Maduramicin 1% @ 500 gm/ton of feed. OR Salinimycin 12% @ 500gm/ton of feed. The anticoccidial feed additives should be used from 1st week to 16 -20 weeks of age.
- During week 4: Give preventive dose of Amprolium 30% or any anticocidial drug in the morning water @ 30gm/50 lit of water for 3 days.
- During week 8: Give preventive dose of Amprolium 30% or any anticocidial drug in the morning water @ 30gm/50 lit of water for 3 days.
- Rotation and shuttle anticoccidial programmes maximised efficacy, and control could be maintained with minimum flock-to-flock variation regardless of environmental conditions.
- Confirm field diagnosis.
- MILD INFECTION: Amprolium hydrochloride @ 1gm/2 lit of water for 5 days.
- SEVERE OUTBREAK: COXSTOP (DSL PHARMA) : 1gm/1lit water for 3 days- plain water for 2 days- 1gm/2lit water for 3 days. No other source of drinking water should be available during medication.
- Do not give any B complex vitamin liquid in water. Vitamins may boost the growth of Occysts.
- Avoid any type of stress during disease outbreak.
NOTE: Necrotic enteritis is most often established after an outbreak of coccidiosis. So watch for it.
CHECKLIST FOR COCCIDIOSIS:
- Determine the exact age of the flock.
- Note the total mortality and rate of mortality.
- Observe the general appearance and health of flock.
- Note past and present feed consumption.
- Observe the flock for the other diseases.
- Determine the amount of feeding space.
- Are the birds crowded?
- Note the age and condition of the litter. Is it wet, caked, dry, dusty?
- Have the birds been stressed by debeaking, moving or drastic changes in weather?
- Is the house too hot?
- What cossidiostat has been used? For how long?
- Is the coccidiostat effective against the specie of coccidian causing trouble?
- Are management practices poor?
- In what condition are droppings?
- Has there been any feed restriction?
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