Avian coccidiosis is a parasitic disease caused by protozoa of the genus Eimeria spp.
Eradication of coccidia has proved impossible and the transmission stage of the parasite — known as oocysts — can be found in the litter of most commercial broiler houses. The transmission of this coccidia within the facility or even between farms is carried out in a feco-oral way, or through vectors, whether they are contaminated materials, or by live vectors, such as rodents, worms, flies or beetles
- clinical coccidiosis in which the affected birds show typical symptoms of the disease, such as bloody droppings and increased mortality, and
- subclinical coccidiosis because the affected birds do not show visible symptoms of the disease but when a random sample of birds is examined, the presence of the gross lesions and the coccidia are found
In order to minimize the risk of resistance to coccidiostats, it is common to carry out rotation or shuttle programs, in which different synthetic coccidiostats and ionophores are used in each production cycle or even within the same cycle.
Combination products, consisting of either a synthetic compound and ionophore (e.g., Monensin+Nicarbazin+Vit K3 + Curcumin extract- COCCICARE, Maduramicin+Nicarbazin+Vit K3 + Curcumin extract – COCCICARE-M Lasalocid sodium +Vit K3 + Curcumin extract -COCCICARE-L
Shuttle and Rotation programs
In general, ionophores have a similar mechanism of action against the parasite, whereas chemicals have different modes of action; therefore, a strain that develops resistance to an ionophore may be controlled by a chemical, and vice versa. The poultry industry has taken advantage of this with the introduction of shuttle and rotation programs that have helped slow the development of resistance.
A shuttle program involves utilizing a different drug in different feeds provided to the growing chick. For example, one frequently employed shuttle program involves the use of Nicarbazin in the starter feed and an Ionophore in the finisher diet. A rotation program involves using different drugs in successive flocks
Ideally, a cleanout should follow the first two flocks to help reduce the numbers of any drug-resistant parasites that may be present. The drug-sensitive vaccine strains will repopulate the poultry house when the vaccine is employed, which helps improve the efficacy of in-feed anticoccidials in subsequent flocks
For many years coccidiosis prevention and control relied on the use of synthetic anticoccidials, commonly referred to as chemicals. In many cases, resistance to these drugs quickly occurred – within 1 to 3 years – and they became ineffective. Of this group, only nicarbazin remains effective today
When the same ionophore anticoccidial is added to the starter and grower feeds, this is popularly referred to as a straight program. These are commonly used in spring and summer. In some straight programs, the concentration of the anticoccidial may be increased in the grower feed to provide maximum protection at the time of peak coccidial oocyst shedding (3-4 weeks). This is known as a step-up program, in other cases, the concentration of the anticoccidial may be decreased in the finisher feed, this known as a step-down program.
In other cases, a chemical anticoccidial is added to the starter feed, grower feed and an ionophore anticoccidial to the finisher feed, this is popularly referred to as a shuttle program.
One of the natural compounds is curcumin, the extract from herbal plant Curcuma longa, known for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which may be effective in reducing Coccidia infection in poultry.