Topic of the Week - Coccidiosis

sumi

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Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease that damages the tissue of the gut, causing bleeding which can be seen in poultry's droppings and is often the first good sign of what you are dealing with. Younger chickens (under 6 months) are more at risk as they haven’t yet had time to develop their natural immunity, however adult birds can also become affected. This week I would like to talk coccidiosis in more details. Specifically:

- Signs and symptoms
- How to accurately diagnose it
- What is the best treatment(s) and what natural treatments can be used in emergencies, to save the bird(s) affected
- What preventative measures can be taken against an outbreak in the flock?



For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
 

azygous

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If you have a lethargic chick or adult chicken, beak gaping, stumbling around, preferring to lie down rather than run around engaging in normal activity, regardless of seeing blood in the droppings, I suspect coccidiosis and treat with Corid. You don't need to have confirmation to treat and the time saved can save lives.

The way to accurately diagnose coccidiosis is to get a stool sample to a vet or an agricultural lab and have a fecal float test performed to see if coccidia eggs are present. But collect the stool samples before you begin the Corid treatment.

Corid (amprolium) is the best treatment as it inhibits vitamin B (thiamine) that the coccidia parasites ( more than one species) thrive on. The best natural treatment, though not a cure, is probiotics that strengthen the immune system and gut culture to exclude the coccidia parasites.

The best way to prevent coccidiosis is to follow good bio-security practices because it can be spread from flock to flock on soles of shoes and borrowed implements. A flock that is immune to its local coccidia may quickly sicken and die when exposed to coccidia from another neighborhood.

Clean water and uncontaminated food are a must. Feeding on the ground isn't a good practice especially on damp soil. Good ventilation to promote a dry, clean environment is crucial. Overcrowding also should be avoided.

Exposing baby chicks to the local soil during the first couple weeks after hatch is an excellent way to inoculate them and help build immunity. Many of us toss a clump of grass still attached to the soil into the brooder for the chicks to eat and scratch at. You may also use medicated feed to help them build immunity to coccidia. Coccidiosis vaccine is also available, but you mustn't use medicated feed if your chicks have received this vaccine.

Coccidia are present everywhere but this doesn't need to threaten your flock as long as you follow good management practices.
 
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Kiki

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Be aware that feeding 'extra vitamins' while using an Amprolium product may cause the product to NOT work. (Corid)

http://www.armchairpatriot.com/Home-Vet/Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook [Desk Ed.] 6th ed. - D. Plumb (Blackwell, 2008) WW.pdf
Page 62
Pharmacology/Actions section states:

EXCESSIVE thiamine in a diet can reduce or REVERSE the anticoccidial activity of the drug.


What I found out recently is that Cocci and Coccidiosis are two different things.

Coccidiosis is common in chicks and older chickens.
 

azygous

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I forgot to add that you need to treat the entire flock if you suspect even one individual has cocci. It's that contagious. (Cocci is short for coccidiosis.)

It's interesting that cocci includes several species, not just a single organism. While the organisms don't mutate like viruses, the chickens develop immunity over time to the cocci present in their local soil, but the immunity is not good for different species cocci brought in from another locale. You need to be always on the alert.
 

N F C

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Technically, according to my vet, cocci is not coccidiosis. I used to say cocci, but not since she corrected me, lol. :oops:

@KikisGirls , where it that thread that explains the difference?
Good to know...I was under the impression that cocci was just a shortened word for coccidiosis.
 
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