Natural compounds, including phytochemicals and other plant-derived extracts can reduce or replace the need for drugs, including antibiotics, for coccidiosis control in broilers, layers and turkeys.
Controlling coccidiosis without antibiotics
Coccidiosis is caused by protozoan parasites belonging to the Eimeria genus. Infection occurs when birds ingest litter, soil, feed or water containing sporulated Eimeria oocysts. As the parasite goes through its normal lifecycle in the bird, it infects cells in the intestinal tract at various specific locations and with varying severity depending upon the type and challenge level of the Emeria in question.
Without intervention, the parasite can multiply uninhibited and cause loose droppings, poor nutrient absorption, reduced performance and sometimes death. During the Eimeria replication, birds can become more prone to develop necrotic enteritis caused by Clostridium perfringens.
Traditionally, the poultry industry has used antibiotics to manage coccidiosis, however alternatives are needed with most of the industry moving toward no antibiotic ever NAE growing systems.
“Limited new pharmaceutical products have entered the market in recent decades, and our current solutions, including antibiotics like ionophores, have weakened over time due to overuse and the subsequent development of Eimeria resistance,” explained Dr. Wade Robey, president of Amlan International.
“The industry needs highly efficacious and cost-effective natural alternatives that can replace drugs, or at minimum, work in synergy with them and with vaccines in well-managed rotation programs designed to extend product effectiveness and combat the formation of resistant strains.”
Phytochemicals against coccidiosis
Phytochemicals or phytogenics can be derived from a variety of natural substrates. They can be administered to poultry either through watering systems, or more commonly, in the feed as a formulated additive.
Because phytochemicals are all-natural, there are no contraindications to using them alongside other treatments for coccidiosis, including vaccination.
“Phytogenics can be fed individually, or as part of a mixed composition designed to provide targeted efficacy or even to broaden their specificity through additional modes of action in the animal’s gastrointestinal tract, respectively,” said Dr. Aldo Rossi, Amlan VP of innovation and technical service.