Modified-live E. coli vaccine helps control mortality, improves livability in layer production

An interview with John Brown, DVM, senior technical services veterinarian and layer specialist, Zoetis
calendar icon 29 June 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Q: Why is Escherichia coli vaccination so important in the layer industry?

JB: When layers die, E. coli is frequently involved maybe 90% of the time, either as a primary or secondary cause of death.1 If you take birds to a lab, they’re probably going to find it.

Before vaccines against E. coli were introduced, in my experience in layer flocks you’d get to about 75% or 80% production and mortality would spike, up to even 0.3% a week in some situations. Nearly every bird you’d post would have E. coli peritonitis and abdominal problems. But once the vaccine was introduced, I saw the incidence really decline, almost to the point where mortality rates were normal.

Q: What are the primary advantages of using Poulvac® E. coli in layers?

JB: Ease of use is a major strength. Anything mass-applied is so much easier for the producer. It can effectively be administered in the water or as a spray. It’s a very versatile vaccine.

In terms of the impact in flocks, we’ve seen much better feed conversion and general livability when faced with all the various challenges, plus reductions in condemnations.2 I’ve seen mortality in flocks return close to normal through early lay.

Q: Are there any specific examples of field performance you can highlight?

JB: I first learned about Poulvac E. coli back when I was working for a breeding company and admit I was skeptical initially. But I recommended it to a customer who was having major problems with E. coli, and within 3 weeks of vaccinating, their mortality was down to normal, despite their using it later in grow.

Continue reading the full interview on Poultry Health Today

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