Blending nutrition into coccidiosis management

For an old disease, coccidiosis sure inspires a lot of innovation. The focus used to be containing coccidia with in-feed anticoccidials. It didn't seem particularly complicated. Now we're faced with anticoccidial resistance, a shrinking pool of in-feed anticoccidials and a demand for more naturally raised birds "all at a time when competition is tough and economic pressures are high.

More poultry integrators are realizing that to achieve effective coccidiosis control, careful consideration must be given to the methods used, the time of year and length of time they are given. There's no doubt that coccidiosis control has gotten more complicated. I predict, however, that as experience is gained with newer approaches, the learning curve will minimize and the efforts will prove to be worthwhile.

Take the case of Wayne Farms in Georgia, the sixth largest vertically integrated processor in the US. Ten years ago or so, they planned their anticoccidial usage on a 6-month basis. Now they plan about 2 to 3 years ahead.

As Wayne's Dr. Don Waldrip puts it in the article that begins on page 4, "You need to position certain anticoccidials by time of year, by length of usage, by loss of sensitivity and other factors. The decision-making process on the use of coccidiostats has become more involved. Deciding which anticoccidial to use and what frequency is increasingly more important."

Now that's innovation.

Further novel approaches to coccidiosis control are likely to come as scientists learn more about the Eimeria parasites that cause coccidiosis. In the UK, well-known parasitologist Dr. Martin Shirley says that despite progress in the field of coccidiosis, little is actually known about the biology of Eimeria parasites. Many of the answers lie in the genetic code of the organisms, which Shirley and other scientists are studying.

In fact, Dr. Shirley and colleagues have secured a grant to study the DNA sequence for the Houghton strain of E. tenella. The resulting "blueprint" is expected to reveal 90% of the parasite's encoded proteins. That in turn should bring about a greater understanding of key information, such as how Eimeria parasites cause disease and how they elicit an immune response. Data from the project, which will be made available to the public on the Internet, will help parasitologists identify new targets for vaccination and chemotherapy. Be sure to read more about these innovations in the article that begins on page 10.

In the meantime, the Poultry Technical Service Team at Schering-Plough Animal Health continues to broaden its expertise in coccidiosis control, while helping to hatch more innovation in the field. With sound science as the foundation, we plan to provide cutting-edge products to the poultry industry and continue our close association with poultry producers to help ensure the products they buy and use are as efficacious and cost-effective as possible. We'll keep you posted of new advances through personal calls, meetings, technical bulletins and, of course, future issues of CocciForum.

Rick Phillips, DVM, MAM, Diplomate ACPV Worldwide Director of Technical Services Poultry Business Unit Schering-Plough Animal Health Corporation

Source: CocciForum Issue No.6, Schering-Plough Animal Health.

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