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Survey correlates anticoccidial rotation with improved coccidiosis management

A six-country survey in North and South America demonstrates that rotation of in-feed anticoccidials correlates with more effective coccidiosis management in broilers.

For the survey, investigators interviewed 75 poultry producers, nutritionists and veterinarians in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The responses, obtained in 2014, represented nearly half of all broiler production in these countries.

“The survey focused on the types of anticoccidial-management programs used, the number of anticoccidial rotations employed during the previous 12 months and about satisfaction with the programs,” reports Roberto Vargas, of Zoetis, which sponsored the survey.

Rotation history

During the previous year, 84% of respondents had rotated two or more anticoccidials and only 16% had not rotated. The highest rates of rotation were in Canada, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil, Vargas reports, while the lowest rates were in Colombia and Peru (Figure 1), Vargas says.


Coccidiosis management

Figure 1. Number of rotations in the last 12 months. Arrows for the different countries indicate more than average, average or below average frequency of rotation

Only 9.4% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their current coccidiosis management plan. Nearly half (48%) were completely satisfied and another 42.7% were somewhat satisfied (Figure 2).

Far more respondents from Argentina and Mexico, where rotation rates were higher, said they were completely satisfied compared to respondents in other countries, and the least satisfaction was among respondents from Colombia and Peru, where the rotation rate was lowest. “These findings indicate that rotation correlates with the efficacy of coccidiosis management strategies,” Vargas says.


coccidiosis management program by country

Figure 2. Satisfaction with current coccidiosis management program. Arrows for the different countries indicate higher-than-average, average or below-average satisfaction level

Rotation tenets

Respondents were also questioned about their beliefs regarding the importance of anticoccidial rotation. The majority agreed that the same anticoccidial should not be used for too long and that each anticoccidial needs to be rested to maximize effectiveness and preserve long-term efficacy, says Zoetis veterinarian Dieter Vancraeynes.

“Acknowledgement by most respondents that in-feed anticoccidials should be rotated before signs of ineffectiveness develop demonstrates a high level of judicious drug use,” he comments.

In addition, most respondents understood the importance of rotating among anticoccidals from different classes.

“For example,” Vancraeynest continues, “if you use monensin, then don’t rotate next to salinomycin or narasin because these are all monovalent ionophores and they work similarly.”

“If resistance develops to salinomycin, it’s very likely to develop to narasin or monensin. You have to switch to an ionophore from a different class, like lasalocid, which is a divalent ionophore, or switch to a synthetic anticoccidial or a coccidiosis vaccine.”

Most respondents in the survey further agreed that a synthetic anticoccidial should be used at least once yearly to “clean up” and reduce infection pressure, he says.

Rotecc  initiative

Vargas notes that the survey results support the principles of Rotecc Coccidiosis Management, an initiative developed by Zoetis to help producers achieve more sustainable and cost-effective coccidiosis strategies. Rotecc promotes anticoccidial rest and rotation.

The annual cost of coccidiosis for the global poultry industry is more than an estimated US $2.4 billion,[1] Vancraeynest points out. Most losses are due to the subclinical form of the disease that erodes performance. Although researchers around the world are exploring alternative methods of managing coccidiosis, in-feed anticoccidials remain the most commonly used strategy by far.

“With no new in-feed anticoccidials on the horizon, it’s imperative that we preserve the long-term efficacy of the anticoccidials we have, which can be accomplished by proper rest and rotation ,” he says.




[1] Cost of Coccidiosis. University of Guelph. http://www.uoguelph.ca/omafra_partnership/ktt/en/johnbarta/Cost-of-Coccidiosis.asp Accessed December 29, 2015

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