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 Post subject: Understanding Coccidiosis
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 4:23 pm 
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After talking to a few people I have noticed that people have little understanding of coccidiosis and being host specific. Host specific means that the cocci that the cattle get will not infect your chickens, turkeys, geese, dogs or any other animal. It will only make cattle sick. The coccidia that chickens get will only affect chickens and no other animal. All animals carry coccidiosis that is specific to there species only. Coccidia is a pathogen, a parasitic egg. Infections enter the chicken through infected feaces which could be as simple as the chickens that came over the
fence into your yard from your neighbour. Some oocysts take four to seven days to complete there cycle other two days in the right conditions. Your chickens will eat the oocyst and under the right conditions heat, humidity and moisture on the ground, the oocyst sporulate and become infective. When testing for coccidiosis in any animal several feacal floats are done. You will not always see oocysts on the first float so usually three are done.Chickens are not always shedding the oocysts. Healthy livestock as well as sick livestock carry oocysts, the only differences are that the healthy livestock have gradually built up an immunity to the coccidia and the sick ones have either not had the opportunity to build up the immunity needed or there have just been to many stress factors in there life to quickly for them to cope. With faecal floats they are never clear when you test. Maybe the first one was but the 2nd or 3rd floats wont be clear. The oocysts will either be sporulated or unsporulated and that is the difference between healthy and sick chickens. It is only when oocysts sporulate or cell division inside the oocyst happens and the outer lining of the oocyst breaks, ruptures and releases its contents onto the ground and eaten passes into the intestine or gut that the chickens gets sick. The easiest way I think to explain sporulation is imagine a clear egg with two linings, an inner lining and an outer lining which is the outside.Like you chicken eggs with the shell as the outer lining and the membrane as the inner lining. In that egg you have four more smaller eggs (sporocyst) and in those eggs are two more even smaller eggs(sporozoites).When the infected oocyst is eaten by the chicken and its cycle has happened meaning(the sporozoites have escaped from the oocyst or clear egg with two linings and multiplies many times.There may be several generations of asexual multiplications but it is self limiting and will stop.Then the sexual stage happens in which the male and female cells join and form new oocysts that are once again protected by the two linings on there outer shell) This all happens on the ground.This is when the infected oocyst is eaten. This is when the cycle will continue and other chicken gets sick. If the oocyst dose not sporulate then all will co exist without major problems. In a stressed animal after sporulation happens and the animal gets sick you will notice many different signs.
Signs for chickens could be just be standing in the corner on there own slightly fluffed feathers, or you may just find the chicken dead, or maybe and one of the most common signs is watery, runny, bloody droppings. Stress factors may be the weather ,strange constant noise or anything that the chickens are not used too. This is when you need to isolate the sick chicken from the rest. Treat all chickens with Baycox or your choice of coccidiocides which kills the protozoa. Follow the instructions on the bottle or what your vet has told you to do.The sick chicken that has bloody watery droppings needs special attention.This one is going to need a heat source to keep it warm and probably antibiotics to prevent secondary infections like pneumonia. It is not always the coccidia that kills the chicken in all cases, it could be a secondary infection that the chicken has picked up due to being unwell with coccidiosis. It is also going to need extra fluids to help get it through and this is were Electrolytes are crucial. They will help to rest the gut and intestines,but will also give the extra energy needed while the chicken is sick. This is were a quiet laundry or spare bedroom a carry cage or cardboard box with soft bedding, wood shavings and the old hot water bottle wrapped well so as to not burn the chicken is ideal.Remember only use Baycox when needed.Don't just give it to the chickens cause you think they might have cocci.
Once all this is done stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Have a good long hard look. Ask yourself this question? Why did my chickens get coccidiosis?Just in case you don’t know I will share the secret with you. I am being blunt here. Its your fault. You caused it in some way.You may have either have your chickens overcrowded, or maybe haven’t cleaned the pen for a while, or is it that leaking roof or maybe that wind was drafty and they couldnt get out of it ,or even that muddy ground around the water dish. Maybe it was bought in from someone elses chicken yard under your shoes, or you haven't controlled the vermin and it has carried it in. Until you do everything that is in your power for your chickens, illness will continue to happen. In most cases you will have done something to cause illness in your chickens.
Transporting chickens can cause coccidiosis. Remember they always carry it and if the birds have had poor nutrition and being penned to be transported and have an out break of coccidiosis you cant blame the person on the other end entirely for them having coccidiosis when you get the birds. Yes if Baycox was given it would have helped, but the travel stress was the main contributing factor with the chickens getting sick. I am sure you can see what I am saying here. The best way to control coccidiosis is Good Husbandry Technic's .Young chickens being kept in clean dry housing. Good feeding practices, let your chickens build up a natural immunity over time say by feeding medicated feed.The cocciostat found in feed has a depressant effect on the early, (first stage) of the Schizonts and this is how it is used to control or use Amprolium or vaccination. Good management and good sanitation by cleaning all food and water dishes of faeces regularly all help. Also control of vermin as they can also spread the chicken coccidia on there feet and fur.There are eleven species of coccidia in chickens,these are a few of the worst ones,
Eimera acervulina,
Eimeria maxima, -Both these species develop in the tissue that protects the organs in the upper part of the small intestine.
Eimeria tenella,(most destructive of all) This one develops in the cells of the cecca which are two blind sacs near the end of the intestine. It is one of the most infective.
Eimeria necatrix,-develops in small intestine in the early stage and later in the cecum at the sexual stage. Like E. tenella it develops in the deeper tissue of the small intestine.
Eimeria mitis,
Eimeria brunetti,
Eimeria praeco
The coccidiosis oocyst are resistant in the environment and to disinfectants, climate extremes and will survive in the soil for weeks unsporulated and up to 600 days once sporulated if protected from the extremes, but will only survive in deep litter for days due to heat caused by ammonia and fermentation. Oocysts are destroyed by below freezing temperatures and extremely high temperatures.I hope this is some help in understanding with pathogen a little more.


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Last edited by mummaroo on Wed May 25, 2011 12:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Understanding Coccidiosis
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 7:32 am 
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That is so good mummaroo thank you for sharing it


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 Post subject: Re: Understanding Coccidiosis
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:19 pm 
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I have edited this to make sure you all understand that cocci sporulates on the ground not in the chickens gut.I did not make that very clear,sorry

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 Post subject: Re: Understanding Coccidiosis
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 2:29 pm 
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This maybe the worlds stupidest question but can you vaccinate to stop the getting Coccidiosis


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 Post subject: Re: Understanding Coccidiosis
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 4:24 pm 
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Southernchook
Not a stupid question at all. Yes you can.

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 Post subject: Re: Understanding Coccidiosis
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 8:18 am 
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This is excellent Mummaroo I have requested it also go into the HEALTH KNOWLEDGE BASE.

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