Control of Coccidiosis and Necrotic Enteritis - Greg Mathis

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April 25, 2018

Agree with several of these comments so let me put some thoughts about my experience on coccidiosis. Necrotic enteritis would be for another occasion.
Let´s not forget that clean houses don´t allow the chicks to develop early immune response against coccidiosis, instead, this will delay the immune response which will typically play an important role of coccidiosis control when ionophores are used.
I recommend you to refer to the term "new house syndrome" a condition when coccidiosis outbreaks are more severe than outbreaks of old (and contaminated) houses. The downtime between flocks and disinfection is obviously important for any diseases but don´t play an important role in the coccidiosis incidence in a new flock (see M. K. Henken 1994). After all, the oocysts don´t live for a long time in the litter because they are killed by ammonia, bacteria etc (See Reyna et al. Avian Diseases Vol. 27, 1982).
Let´s also remind that different chemical anticoccidials and ionophores should not be put in the same basket. They will typically deliver quite different results, e.g: nicarbazin is not expected to generate widespread resistance (Biology of the Coccidia, by Peter Long /Larry McDougald page 396) but makes birds more sensitive to heat stress. Diclasuril and Robenidin have no problems with heath stress however as "vertical drugs" they generate resistant strains much quicker than nicarbazin or ionophores.
The ionophores are "horizontal anticoccidials" (Mike Eckman) and as such, are not as strong in preventing coccidiosis as the chemical / vertical drugs.
As a result of that, they don´t generate resistance easily. However, they usually allow some degree of lesions in the flocks. One detail that lacks proper investigation is how much stronger is each of the five ionophore drugs against each of the Eimeria species. Some ionophores can be quite strong against, say E. tenella, but weaker against E. acervulina or vice-versa. This means that most of the times when an ionophore is not delivering the expected level of protection, this is not related to resistance, instead, it is because that drug is not the best option for the challenge of that region/company/flock. There are lots of details to be discussed here but for the present time here is my opinion:

1-Disinfection against coccidiosis is not effective. In fact, when we kill bacteria and fungi, we are protecting the coccidia. In laboratory work, we protect coccidia strain with chlorine or potassium dichromate which are two very strong disinfectants.

2-Chemical drugs and ionophores should not be rotated under the same approach. Rotation is intended to avoid resistance but these two classes of drugs have different abilities to generate resistance.

3-Regardless of being monovalent or divalent drugs, each ionophore delivers different and specific degrees of protection against each coccidia species, therefore one important consideration to take into account for a good coccidiosis control is to check which species is more prevalent in a given region and which ionophore provides better efficacy against that species. Regards.
C. A. Lopes DVM

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Innovad Innovad
Antwerpen, Belgium
May 12, 2019

Cesar A. Lopes Well explained and outlined, thanks for sharing your insight and experience.

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Emmanuel Nwaotule Emmanuel Nwaotule
Higher Diploma In Animal Health and Husbandry
April 26, 2018
Many thanks Dr Lopes. Please what do you think about the use of both pre and probiotics in the prophylaxis rather than curative in the control of both coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis ? These would help to a greater extent if flocks are started on these earlier in their lives.
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April 26, 2018
Emmanuel Nwaotule
Dear Emmanuel, thank you for your message.

Although this discussion refers to two diseases, that is, coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis, there are some aspects to be taken into account: coccidiosis is one of the leading factors to necrotic enteritis but necrotic enteritis is not a leading factor to coccidiosis. That means that a good control of coccidiosis will diminish necrotic enteritis challenge but controlling necrotic enteritis is not expected to drop coccidiosis challenge.

I had already made a summary of my thoughts about coccidiosis control and drug rotation. I said that one needs to consider the difference among vertical and horizontal drugs (chemicals and ionophores) which are act differently, are not sensitive to a same degree of resistance and cannot be considered under a same approach, so now let´s focus on necrotic enteritis.

Of course that litter management, vaccination against some viral diseases such as IBD, Marek and so on, and good husbandry practices are important. But frequently they are not enough as seen in the USA and Europe.

So far the best way to control NE is through the use of some of the so-called antibiotic growth promotants or AGPs. Although not as much as effective as the AGPs, ionophore anticoccidials (but not chemical anticoccidials) also have a significant degree of efficay in preventing necrotic enteritis. It is interesting, not to say quite strange that even after agreeing that some of these drugs are safe, some Countries don´t allow the use of any AGPs. After passing through independent studies, drugs such as BMD, Virginiamycin and Zinc Bacitracin have been granted with Maximum Residue Limits -LMR- by regulatory Authorities like the European EMA, the APVMA from Australia, the Japanese Authority, Candian FDA, US FDA and many others. A MRL means that a drug has gone through a series of independent studies which proved that they represent no risk of any kind for humans, including the possibility of transmiting resistance.

But let´s talk about probiotics and prebiotics. Regarding the use of those products but specially probiotics they enhance intestinal health and may compete against clostridium. The outcome of a better intestinal condition is that clostridium will be less capable to start colonising the intestinal tract and less cases of necrotic enteritis will be observed.

I see that you are from Belgium, where AGPs are not allowed therefore the use of probiotics and also acidifiers (clostridium live and reproduce better in alcaline environments) seem to be a good option to drop the incidence of necrotic enteritis.

Best regards,

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Joshua Jendza Joshua Jendza
Animal Nutritionist
April 30, 2018
Cesar A. Lopes

Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

Your last point regarding acidifiers is a good one, and one I'm not sure most people are aware of. The general model of NE as Coccidia lesions + Clostridium infection of the lesions suggests that control of Clostridium can reduce the incidence and severity of NE, even if overall coccidia load is unchanged. While acidification is an older topic in Europe, it is still a relatively new topic in other markets such as the US, where Coccidia and NE are still significant economic problems.
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April 30, 2018
Cesar A. Lopes thanks a lot for the information
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April 30, 2018
Joshua Jendza please throw more light on acidification
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May 3, 2018
Thank you sir
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April 26, 2018
Coccidia and clostridiums are ubiquitous in the environment where poultry are present. Proper vaccination, Farm sanitation especially litter management and ionophore rotation are essential in the control of this diseases. Any stressful changes (wether be it a disease, poor farm management, nutrition etc) that may affect the normal microbiota of birds may result in enteritis.
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Emmanuel Nwaotule Emmanuel Nwaotule
Higher Diploma In Animal Health and Husbandry
April 27, 2018
Thank you so much for this explanation Dr Lopes. No I am a Nigerian not a Belgian but I am representing a Belgian company here in Nigeria. My discussions are based on my NIGERIAN livestock field experiences. Many thanks again and cheers.
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Atef Abou Zead Atef Abou Zead
professor of viral poultry diseases
May 1, 2018
What are the best organic acids for controlling of clostridium?
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Atef Abou Zead Atef Abou Zead
professor of viral poultry diseases
May 1, 2018
Of practical importance in different countries?
In Egypt the most important are butyric acid, acidic acid and lactic acid .
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Atef Abou Zead Atef Abou Zead
professor of viral poultry diseases
May 3, 2018
What is the mode of action of butyric acid on coccidiosis?
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May 3, 2018
Thank you very much sir, for your explanation we are very greatful sir
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May 5, 2018
Bangladesh is a country of expanding poultry industry by open house shed. Most of them are concrete, semi-concrete and mud floor and affected by coccidiosis frequently, farmers are very much loosing economically. No feed company still perform successful anticiccidial Protocol. Seasonal variation also big factors for loosing specially in hot & humid environment from February to May in each year by several viral and bacterial diseases outbreaks with coccidisis(E.acervulina, maxima and tenella) and nectrotic enteritis. What would be the suggestions for control of coccidiosis?
Reply
Surinder Khanna Surinder Khanna
Consultant
May 12, 2018

Never start any medicines at least in advance but start when morbity is 10 to 15 percent, it is better to give sulfa drugs on onset of coccidosis as amrolium is resistent to many strains. Fly control is necessary tool to avoid coccidiosis in cages. Ht of feeders may be so adjusted so the spilled litter does not make entry in feed any reduction in feed may be followed by increasing dose of coccidiostat. Ionophores and zinc bacitracin may not be given simultaneously.

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