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Deadly duo: Study shows link between E. maxima, Clostridium

New research by Callie McQuain, DVM, veterinarian and grad student at the University of Georgia, substantiates anecdotal field experience indicating that Eimeria maxima is the type of coccidia that most interacts with Clostridium perfringens and leads to necrotic enteritis (NE).

The reason why C. perfringens grows so readily in these flocks is because of the type of damage E. maxima causes to intestinal mucosa, she told Poultry Health Today.

Common industry knowledge has been that E. maxima is the No. 1 coccidial species that leads to NE; McQuain’s research now establishes that as fact, she said.

Clostridium is part of the gut flora. Together with the coccidial damage, it creates a perfect storm that allows it to grow exponentially and results in NE, McQuain noted.

As poultry producers either reduce or eliminate antibiotics, it’s hard to stop NE from becoming severe. The emphasis now is on preventing the coccidia from damaging the gut, she said

McQuain recommends adding citric acid or some kind of acidity to the water system, which decreases the pH so Clostridium will not grow as fast. It is also important to quickly collect birds that have succumbed to NE to minimize the presence of Clostridium in the poultry house.


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