Coccidiosis in rabbits. Natural prevention by intestinal optimizer pronutrients
The prevalence of coccidiosis in rabbits is very high worldwide, reaching more than 70% of farms in certain regions of Asia.
The consumption of rabbit meat as a source of protein has increased worldwide in recent years, due to its nutritional quality, with a high level of protein, low percentage of fat and cholesterol. Furthermore, it contains a significant amount of calcium, phosphorus and linoleic acid.
China continues to be the world’s leading producer, with an annual production of over 900,000 tons of meat, around 63% of the global production, followed by North Korea with 154,000 tons of rabbit meat produced per year.
Europe is in third place, with Spain, Italy and France being the largest producing countries, with 54,000 tons, 43,000 tons and 42,000 tons produced respectively.
Rabbits, such as other productive species, are exposed to bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases, which likely reduce their productive performance. Coccidiosis is one of the most widespread diseases worldwide.
Coccidiosis in rabbits
Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease caused by different species of the genus Eimeria spp. These are intracellular parasitic protozoa that affect the intestinal mucosa and the liver of rabbits, causing digestive disorders, which result in increased mortality, morbidity rates, and reduced productive performance.
The prevalence of coccidiosis in rabbits is very high worldwide, reaching more than 70% of farms in certain regions of Asia. The environmental resistance of the parasite and its ease of transmission through sporulated oocysts eliminated with faeces make this disease remarkably widespread.
There are two types of coccidiosis in rabbits, intestinal coccidiosis, and hepatic coccidiosis, each produced by different species of Eimeria spp (Table 1). E. intestinalis and E. flavescens are the species that produce more severe intestinal coccidiosis and E. stidea is responsible for hepatic coccidiosis.
Due to the high prevalence of this parasite and its high infective capacity, it is necessary to establish preventive measures in farms. These measures must be able to decrease the infective pressure, as well as to improve the immune status of the rabbits, to face the infection.
Use of intestinal optimizer pronutrients in rabbits
Pronutrients are active molecules of botanical origin capable of stimulating animal´s physiological functioning. In the case of intestinal optimizer pronutrients, these active molecules have the potential to stimulate the local immune system of the intestine, allowing the animal to cope with parasitic infections such as coccidiosis.
Trials conducted in Italy (2023) on rabbits have demonstrated the efficacy of intestinal optimizing pronutrients against coccidiosis. These trials were carried out on 15,000 rabbits at 45 days of age, a critical period in this farm due to the appearance of coccidiosis. Intestinal optimizer pronutrients were applied in the drinking water at a dose of 0.5 ml/L for six consecutive days. During this test, it was possible to avoid the pharmacological treatment used on a routine basis at the site, because there was no outbreak of coccidiosis in the rabbits.
Compared to previous cycles, the use of intestinal optimizer pronutrients had led to a drop in the mortality rate by up to 40% and, at the same time, improved the productive performance of the rabbits, with an increase in the final weight by 200-300 grams per animal at slaughter.
Simultaneously, during the trial, an oocyst count was carried out before and after the application of the intestinal optimizing pronutrients. The samples were sent to the Zooprophylactic Institute of Forli, Italy. These counts showed an 80.8% decrease in oocyst excretion (graph 1).
Coccidiosis in rabbits is a frequent parasitic disease that causes great productive losses. There are natural solutions, based on intestinal optimizer pronutrients, which prevent these parasitic infections and reduce the use of pharmacological substances.
Furthermore, the use of these pronutrients increases the final weight of the animals at slaughter, improving the profitability of rabbit farms.
Intestinal optimizer pronutrients are marketed under the name Alquernat Zycox by Biovet S.A.