Dr John Radu, DVM, Technical Service Veterinarian

John Radu, DVM Technical Service Veterinarian

Five or 10 years ago, who would have guessed that coccidiosis would be "playing" on Broadway?

In a sense, that's just what happened in December when representatives from more than 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. converged on Times Square in New York to learn more about managing the nutritional requirements of birds that have been vaccinated against this costly disease.

It's gratifying to see coccidiosis vaccination attract so much attention after all these years. I hope you'll take time to read the highlights of this meeting in "Gut Decisions," our special report that begins on page 6.

But really, why should anyone be surprised that coccidiosis vaccination is now the star performer in the management programs of leading poultry companies?

Increasing regulatory pressure is causing more in-feed anticoccidials to drop out of the market each year, while reducing incentive for companies to develop new-generation drugs. Furthermore, the anticoccidials that are left are showing signs of wear. Vaccinating day-old birds in the hatchery "a process that stimulates natural immunity to produce lifetime protection "is rapidly becoming the sensible alternative.

Vaccination is also proving to be more cost-effective. As you'll read in "Look at the Big Picture," which begins on page 2, performance data from an independent reporting service in the United States show that vaccinated birds perform as well or better than birds medicated for coccidiosis.

In time, we are also learning that vaccination can allow us to become more flexible and profitable with our nutrition programs. As Spain's Dr. José Ignacio Barragan notes in his article that begins on page 20, "Once liberated from the limits established by the use of a traditional anticoccidial program, poultry producers can have more freedom designing feed formulas and programs."

The rising popularity of coccidiosis vaccination has also unlocked the door to innovation. Amadori "Italy's second largest producer "is now vaccinating all of its 80 millions birds for coccidiosis 6 months out of the year. More importantly, the company's new 10+ line, which is built on more natural principles and employs coccidiosis vaccination year-round, now accounts for 30% of the company's sales. Coccidiosis vaccination is helping Amadori separate itself from the competition while meeting the growing demands of more discriminating consumers. Be sure to read their story beginning on page 34.

And let's not forget the hardware that makes all this happen. When introduced in the late 1990s, the Spraycox spray cabinet made it possible to ensure even coverage of the vaccine, which in turn ensured optimum performance. Now, an engineer in Delaware who has built his career around this contraption, decides he can do even better and unveils Spraycox II. You can read about these terrific improvements on page 28.

Getting back to our walk down Broadway"�Cats still holds the record as the longest-running Broadway show, with an amazing 7,485 performances. If coccidiosis vaccination keeps performing the way it has in the field, it just might become a legend of its own.

John Radu, DVM - Technical Service Veterinarian

Source: CocciForum Issue No.8, Schering-Plough Animal Health.

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