Coccidiosis in Southeast Asia
Avian coccidiosis in Southeast Asia - Poultry production in Southeast Asia has undergone a large and positive change in recent years. The region has been able to double broiler meat production in a decade and it is expected to continue to rise as consumption increases.
Avian coccidiosis in Southeast Asia
Poultry production in Southeast Asia has undergone a large and positive change in recent years. The region has been able to double broiler meat production in a decade and it is expected to continue to rise as consumption increases.
This increase in demand and the positioning of the poultry industry in this market is related to the development of their countries, the increase in the population, especially the urbanite, the higher incomes, and the consideration of broiler meat as affordable.
Taking this point into consideration, it is essential to describe one of the diseases of greatest relevance and prevalence in the regional poultry production: coccidiosis, caused by different species of the genus Eimeria.
Coccidiosis is the most common intestinal parasitosis in commercial poultry production worldwide. The multiplication of coccidia in the intestinal mucosa alters digestion and absorption of nutrients and, in turn, decreases the effectiveness of feed conversion and growth rate. This disease can cause death, discards, or delay of the date of slaughter, and it is a predisposing factor to other enteric diseases, such as necrotic enteritis.
Therefore, the economic cost of coccidiosis, whether clinical or subclinical, derived from productive losses, mortality, and investment in preventive and therapeutic control, is of great concern to the poultry industry in the region.
Southeast Asia has a tropical climate (15ºC-35ºC) with high rainfall. The humidity and temperature conditions in the region are two key factors for the survival and development of coccidia, as well as its vector, the Alphitobius beetle. All of them promote a high infectious pressure in the farms.
Seven species of Eimeria have been reported in domestic birds (Gallus gallus domesticus), each one having specific intestinal location and lesions. The most common ones in Southeast Asia are E. acervulina and E. maxima in the small intestine, and E. tenella at cecal level.
In the Philippines, Ybañez et al. (2018) detected gastrointestinal parasites in all farms analyzed in high rates (92.2%), being Eimeria the most common parasite (43.2%). In Thailand (Bounyavong et al., 2016), a higher prevalence of coccidia was found in smallholder farms than on commercial farms.
A study conducted in the Red River Delta in Vietnam (Hoan et al., 2014) revealed a prevalence of coccidia of 88.89% in domestic chickens and 80.56% in commercial farming. In commercial production, the most prevalent species were E. tenella (96.55%), E. acervulina (89.66%) and E. maxima (86.21%). Another, more recent study, conducted in the Mekong River Delta (Hung et al. 2021) in indigenous chicken breeds, a prevalence of 65.83% and 68.5% of coccidia in Ben Tre and Hau Giang provinces, respectively, was observed.
Humaidah et al. (2018) compared the prevalence of coccidia in Central Java (Indonesia) between indigenous broiler breeds, commercial broiler lines, and commercial layer lines. The highest prevalence of coccidia was seen in commercial broiler, followed by layers, and native breeds. The study showed that species with the highest prevalence where E. tenella and E. maxima, and that Eimeria coinfections were very frequent.
Another trial in Central Java (Pawestri et al., 2020) estimated the total costs of coccidiosis (direct and indirect) in the area at approximately €2 million (Rp 3,371,549,813,512).
Coccidiosis is a ubiquitous parasitosis which is very difficult to eradicate due to its multiple strains and rapid reproduction. It is considered that most of the farms are affected by this disease at some time of the year, either clinically or subclinically.
Therefore, every farm has an anticoccidial program. This program, apart from hygiene and management measures, traditionally includes the routine use of anticoccidial drugs.
Coccidiostats, synthetic or ionophores, included in the feed, act directly on the parasite. The direct action of these substances on coccidia, as well as their prolonged use, can cause the appearance of resistances, along with other possible drawbacks, such as the presence of residues in meat.
There is a legislative trend aimed at reducing the use of coccidiostats globally, which is already implemented in some areas, such as the European Union, the United States, and some countries in Asia, such as Thailand. In addition, there is no guarantee that new anticoccidial drugs will be developed.
In the case of Thailand, the use of coccidiostats in the broiler’s last phase of feeding or finisher feed has been banned.
A natural tool: pronutrients
The loss of effectiveness of traditional preventive programs, limitations on use until slaughter, together with the growing interest of consumers for chemical-free products and animals raised with better breeding conditions, have promoted the development of natural alternatives for the control of coccidiosis.
Intestinal conditioner and optimizer pronutrients are two types of active molecules of plant origin with a metagenetic mechanism of action: they act synergistically to improve the resistance of animals against coccidiosis and other protozoan enteric diseases.
On one hand, intestinal conditioner pronutrients promote the regeneration and improve the integrity of the intestinal epithelium, strengthening the cytostructure and the tight junctions. On the other hand, intestinal optimizer pronutrients stimulate the development of immunity against coccidiosis, promoting the activation of cellular immunity at intestinal level, key in the response of birds for the elimination of coccidia.
Pronutrients are a natural and safe replacement for coccidiostats, being effective against all strains of Eimeria, with patented technology and extensive experience in Asia, without risk of residual accumulation in meat nor development of resistance, which allows its use in all phases of poultry production: the product acts on the animal, not directly on the parasite.
In this way, pronutrients offer better protection and status of the intestine, which will have a positive impact on performance: better feed utilization and homogeneity, and reduction of the incidence of diarrhea and mortality.
The use of pronutrients has been extensively researched and tested using the scientific method. There are multiple studies that support its effectiveness and the beneficial effects of its use: a study carried out in Asia in broilers raised up to 42 days, it was observed how pronutrients allowed to prevent the consequences of an Eimeria challenge in the performance, since pronutrients improved final weight (+70 g), feed conversion rate (-2.37%) and mortality (-5%). In that case, the oocyst excretion was reduced by 79%.
Summary of the article
Coccidiosis is one of the most important diseases in poultry production with serious economic consequences. Prevention of coccidiosis in Southeast Asia has traditionally been based on coccidiostats.
Coccidiostats are products that act directly on the parasite and are becoming obsolete due to their loss of effectiveness, linked to the development of resistance. This fact, added to the change in regulations and consumer trends, has led to the interest of poultry producers in natural solutions.
Pronutrients, active molecules of plant origin, allow the animal’s digestive mucosa to maintain its correct nutritional and defensive function. They are a widely known natural solution in the Asian market that allow to improve the five key parameters for the control of coccidiosis: improve productive parameters, reduce the prevalence of diarrhea and the spread of oocysts and prevent macroscopic and microscopic intestinal lesions.
The safe nature of the pronutrients, which do not have risk of residual accumulation nor resistance development, and their benefits on productive and economic performance, have been a great progress for the poultry industry in the region.
Pronutrients are positioned as a natural, unique and effective tool, which offers great versatility, as it allows its use until slaughter, and it can be easily included in the anticoccidial program of any farm and production system (conventional, antibiotic-free, organic).
Intestinal optimizer and intestinal conditioner pronutrients are developed and marketed by Biovet S.A. under the name Alquernat Coneb.
- Bounyavong, Somphanh & Keohavong, Bounmy. (2016). Investigation on the Prevalence of Coccidiosis of Chickens in Luang prabang. Project: ADB Grant 0166-Lao (SF): Strengthening Higher Education Project. Souphanouvong University.
- Hoan, Tran & Gadahi, Javaid & Leghari, Riaz. (2014). Molecular Identification of Eimeria species Infection in Chickens in Surrounding Areas of the Red River Delta in Vietnam. International Journal of Livestock Research. 4. 9-18. DOI: 10.5455/ijlr.20140925111501.
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