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Coccidiosis in poultry

Meriden Animal Health


Coccidiosis is a realistic problem and one of the most important diseases of poultry worldwide. It is caused by a protozoan parasite known as Eimeria that invade the cells of the poultry intestine.


The disease is characterized by enteritis, diarrhoea and mortality. The bird develops a disability to absorb nutrients, which results in weight loss and eventually death. Sub-clinically, it is manifested by poor performance, impaired feed conversion, poor flock uniformity and poor growth. Coccidia can also damage the immune system and leave poultry more vulnerable to pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli. The disease is considered as one of the most severe health and economical problems in poultry that causes an enormous loss to poultry producers worldwide.


An outbreak of coccidiosis in a poultry flock has a very high negative and economical impact on the flock as well as for the poultry producer. There is an immediate and considerable drop in production figures and the recovery and reestablishment period after treatment is slow. Some flocks never fully recover or regain their full production potential. Hence, it is a well-recognised fact that treatment alone cannot prevent the economical losses. It is well established within the poultry sector that the only choice is therefore prevention of the disease. However, an effective and sustainable prevention and control programme against the disease is not easy.


Coccidiosis is particularly difficult to combat because several different species of Eimeria exist in the field. Poultry may become infected with different species because the immunity that develops after infection is specific only to one species. Eimeria have a very complex life cycle which involves many developmental stages inside the host cells.


To prevent widespread resistance to the narrow range of anticoccidial drugs available in the field, nutritionists and veterinarians have resorted to devising and implementing many different forms of complicated anti-coccidial shuttle and rotational programmes in an attempt to achieve optimal efficacy with minimal side effects.


A relatively common problem that poses devastating consequences is the accidental feeding of diets containing coccidiostats to non-target animals. For instance, turkeys fed rations containing salinomycin may encounter an increase in mortality, whereas broiler breeders fed rations containing nicarbazine may be affected by a drop in egg production and infertility.


Orego-Stim is an oregano-based product that is used as a feed additive in poultry production worldwide. It has been extensively researched and tested, and is able to increase the performance of poultry production by improving the Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) as well as increasing the body weight gain of broilers. It also helps to reduce mortality caused by gastrointestinal diseases by preventing the occurrences of gastrointestinal pathogen invasion. The phenolic compounds within oregano, carvacrol and thymol effectively kill these microorganisms, which include both gram positive and gram-negative bacteria upon contact within the gut of the animals.


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Article made possible through the contribution of Meriden Animal Health.

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