Phytogenic approach to safeguard the birds from coccidiosis
"There is a global loss of about 2.4 billion US dollars in poultry industry alone due to coccidian infections".
Each year, over 50 billion chickens are raised as a source of meat, accounting for over one-third of protein food for humans. Avian coccidiosis is one of the important disease, which causes harm to the industry throughout the world. The infectious protozoan disease caused by the gut parasite of genus Eimeria is termed as avian coccidiosis. These parasites can infect and multiply within the mucosal epithelia in different parts of birds gut via oral route. As a result, they cause gut damage (like inflammation, diarrhea, hemorrhage, etc.) morbidity and mortality in poultry. There is a global loss of about 2.4 billion US dollars in the poultry industry alone due to coccidian infections. In addition, 70% of the estimated cost is due to the subclinical coccidiosis, by an impact on weight gain and FCR.
Stages of coccidia in poultry appear both within the host as well the outside. Different species of coccidian parasite harbor different part of an intestinal tract of birds and are having a different level of pathogenicity. Chicken are susceptible to at least 11 species of coccidia out of which below mentioned 5 species is very important and are prevalent in most of the part of the world.
Coccidiosis may be subclinical and clinical. The subclinical coccidiosis impairs FCR due to an inefficient assimilation of nutrients and affects the growth of the birds. In this way, the subclinical coccidiosis cause high impact on the profit of the poultry farm Different species of Eimeria showing lesions in the different parts of the poultry gut.
Current approaches to constrain avian coccidiosis include
Chemoprevention: Addition of standard doses of coccidiostatic products (both ionophores & chemicals) to the feed and water of the birds.
Natural substitute to coccidiostats: like herbal extracts and natural oils.
Challenges and bottleneck with the use of present solutions.
Challenges with the Ionophores
• Salinomycine - risk for turkey
• Lasalocid- risk of high rate of transfer in the egg.
• Monensin- risk for turkeys, laying hens and breeders.
• Microbes can develop cross- resistance.
Challenges with Chemical products:
• Mostly used in a dual program
• Chances of developing resistance by Eimeria within 2 or 3 months
Moreover, the residual effect of the ionophores and chemical used for coccidial treatment is the biggest interference in the way of safe and sustainable food production from animal origin.
Vaccination does not provide the complete protection to the birds because more than 11 different species are the reason of coccidiosis in the poultry. So cross species protection and efficacy of such vaccines is may need to be improved.
The public demand for residual free poultry product has also encouraged the development of alternative control strategies. Natural products are emerging as an attractive way to combat coccidiosis.
Out of 300,000 species of the recorded flowering plants, 68 plants and phytocompounds were scientifically tested for suppression of Eimeria species.
Mechanism of action of phytochemicals for coccidial infection in a nutshell:
One such very innovative phytogenic formulation is also present in the world market, which is a product of Ayurvet named “Coccihar”. Coccihar is use to prevent, manage, and treat coccidiosis mainly in poultry. It also reinforces immune response against coccidiosis.
240, day old Ros-308 broiler birds were divided into 4 groups. The birds were vaccinated against Newcastle Disease (ND), Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) and Gumboro disease.
Challenge to each bird was carried out by administering a 2-ml suspension of 3,5×104 Eimeria acervulina, 7,0×103 Eimeria maxima and 5,0×103 Eimeria tenella sporulated oocysts directly into the crop via an oral gavage by a plastic tube at the 14th day of the experiment period.
• Periodic coccidial Oocyst count from the feces of the experimental birds.
• Estimation of Body weight and FCR.
• Estimation of the villous height and crypts depth of the intestine of the experimental bird.
Table: Oocyst per gram of faces at different days of the experiment after inoculation of the live oocyst at 14th day of experiment (Mean ± SE).
The Coccihar and Lasalocid treated group show significant decrease in the oocyst count as compared to the positive control group at different days of the broiler life after the voluntary infection. The positive control group shows high load of coccidian oocyst from day 20 to day 25 but Coccihar and Lasalocid treatment reduce the period of high load in the broilers form 6 to 3 days. Coccihar shows promising efficacy in reduction of both oocyst load in the bird and duration of the high load of oocyst.
Table: Body weight of the birds in grams at different days of the experiment (Mean ± SE).
The result show significant increase in the body weight of the broilers at 28th and 35th day which are treated with Coccihar and lasalocid when compared with positive control group. Coccihar treatment guard the birds form the loss in body weight after the voluntary coccidial infection. Coccihar treated groups even attain more body weight than lasalocid treated groups.
Table: Change in intestinal morphology of the broiler of different experimental groups (Mean ± SE).
Increase in ileal villus height and crypt depth ratio at the ileum in Coccihar fed chickens were found compared to control birds.
The results of the present study suggested that treatment with Coccihar (phytogenics) could alleviate the impact of parasite infection on broiler chickens by exerting a coccidiostatic effect against Eimeria tenella, maxima and acervulina. Therefore, the hypothesis of rearing broilers without coccidiostats is thought to be of promise.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Dr. Amit Kumar Pandey, M.V. Sc., Ph.D. (VPT)