The ABCs of Coccidiosis and how to stop it

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Coccidiosis is a popular disease that affects poultry. It is important to know the ABCs of Coccidiosis and how to prevent it.

    What is Coccidiosis?

It is an intestinal disease caused by Eimeria Protozoan parasites. This protozoa; genus Eimeria belongs to the phylum apicomplexa.

Method of Transmission

The process of transmission is fecal-oral. Droppings of infected birds contain oocysts or microscopic eggs. These eggs can stay in the soil or wet litter until the condition of humidity, oxygen supply and temperature needed for its survival is favorable.

The chicken could contract it by eating or pecking, scrattling to eat, and by drinking. The parasite could be present in wet litter or areas drinkers and feeders that are not sanitary.

Once the oocyst gets into the chicken’s system, it hatches and attacks the lining of the cells of the birds smaller intestines.

Some infected chickens may not be affected if their immune systems are strong. But they can pass it to the others who come in contact with their faeces.

Younger chickens with weak immunity are very likely to be infected with Coccidiosis.

    Species of Eimeria

The protozoan, genus Eimeria has 7 species:

 

  •     Eimeria Maxima
  •     Eimeria Necatrix
  •     Eimeria Brunetti
  •     Eimeria Praecox
  •     Eimeria Acervulina
  •     Eimeria Mittis
  •     Eimeria Tenella

Eimeria Necatrix, Tenella, and Brunetti cause hemorrhage, which is an excessive release of blood from the infected chickens.

The other species cause malabsorption which is food indigestion from the gastrointestinal tract.

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    Signs an infected chicken shows

Once a chicken is infected, symptoms will surface within a period of three to nine days.

In severe cases, it could just result in sudden death.

Blood present in droppings, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, wanness of skin, and comb and weakness are the symptoms and signs that a chicken is infected with Coccidiosis. Even if your chicken shows mild symptoms, consult your vet immediately to have their droppings tested for Coccidiosis and tackle the disease if they are positive.

         Treatment

Test your chicken’s droppings regularly and if there is the presence of Coccidiosis, administer anti-coccidial drugs immediately before it becomes severe and damages the chicken’s cells.

You can also administer amprolium, a very effective medication that will prevent the parasite from multiplying. You can add amprolium to their water or feed. You can also administer orally.

 

How to stop/prevent Coccidiosis

  1. Maintain a high level of environmental hygiene.
  2. Clean the poultry house often and ensure that feeders and drinkers are changed or washed regularly.
  3. Feeding areas should always be clean and dry.
  4. Avoid wet litter as it increases the risk of Coccidiosis.
  5. By ensuring the cleanliness of the poultry house, the presence of parasites will be reduced.
  6. Provide fresh drinking water always for your chicken and adopt a closed nipple system for their drinkers to prevent water contamination.
  7. If you are bringing in new chicks, ensure that they are properly vaccinated and quarantined for about four weeks. By doing this, you are able to monitor their health condition.
  8. Have an active veterinarian to check the health status of your chickens regularly and also vaccinate them against common diseases.
  9. Finally, improve your chicken’s feed and nutrition. Give them feed rich in carbohydrate, fat, protein, and minerals. It is necessary for developing immunity against Coccidiosis and other diseases.
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By practicing total hygiene and vaccinating your chickens, the risk of Coccidiosis will be greatly reduced.

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