Future of Coccidiosis Management in Turkeys

12th April 2018

Coccidiosis is a disease that is caused by protozoan parasites that develop within the intestine of most domestic and wild animals and birds.

Coccidia were recognized as parasites of turkeys in the United States as early as 1895. Seven species of coccidia infect turkeys. Four of these, Eimeria meleagrimitis, E. adenoeides, E. gallopavonis and E. meleagridis are considered to be among the most pathogenic of the species and have been identified repeatedly in the major turkey producing areas of the world (Edgar et al., 1965; Marshall et al., 1997; Chapman 2006, 2008)1.

Each species invades and develops in a specific, defined area of the intestine. The parasitized area of the intestine increases with severe infections and some species develop along the entire length. Diagnosis and speciation are usually determined by location of the infection in the intestine, the appearance of the droppings or intestinal contents, and the presence, size and shape of the oocysts (Droual et al., 1994). The potential for a marked increase in the incidence of coccidiosis in turkeys has occurred in recent years because of the rapid growth of the turkey industry and the movement No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) production methods. However, the efficacy of currently used anticoccidial medications and vaccines has controlled, to a large degree, clinical coccidiosis in the field.

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