Domestic Waterfowl Club.

Illnesses Coccidiosis



Cause. Intracellular parasites;coccidia ;that live in theintestines.

Ages affected. All ages, although ducklings areaffected more severely.

Source of infection. Coccidia are found wherever birds are kept. The life cycle of these protozoans consists of two phases:

* A dormant form (oocyst) outside the host. This form is passed in the droppings. Under moist and warm conditions it reaches its infective stage (sporocyst) within 1-;2 days.

* The multiplication stage within the host. Once the sporocyst (egg)  is eaten by the bird, it hatches, penetrates, develops and multiplies within the intestinal cells. The organism reaches its final developmental stage (the oocyst) within 4 &10 days and ispassed in the droppings. As the sporocyst is resistant to most common disinfectants, low temperature and dry environments, ducks can be at risk of infection all year round. This is particularly true where young ducks are kept in large numbers on the ground. Under this type of husbandry outbreaks can occur, causing sudden and serious losses. With low stocking densities, low levels of infection probably occur in most ducks due to the occasional ingestion of a sporocyst dropped by wild birds. Under normal circumstances this low level of infection isself-limiting, clinically non-apparent and eventually leads to immunity.

Signs. Signs of infection vary and depend on the number of sporocysts ingested, the species of coccidia, age of the ducks andprevious exposure to infection. In young ducklings (1-8 weeks) sudden death may be the only manifestation of the disease.Mortalities may drag on for weeks with a few ducklings being found dead each day. More commonly, however, outbreaks are acute and last between1-;2 weeks if untreated. Early signs may be present and include a tucked-up appearance, blood-stained vent, blood-tinged diarrhoea, and the inability to stand. In older flocks sub-optimal weight gain may be the only expression of the disease.

Diagnosis. Of the 13 species of coccidia reported from domestic and wild ducks only a few have been properly described and identified. Not all 13 species are pathogenic (disease-causing), and a 30 definitive diagnosis of coccidiosis as a cause of mortality or morbidity requires the finding of lesions in the intestines (these are greyish white circular spots and/or haemorrhages) and the microscopic examination of both the intestinal contents and wall scrapings for the various developmental stages of coccidia.

Treatment. To achieve satisfactory results ducks must be treated quickly. The drugs can be given in the feed or drinking water.It is better to put the medication in the drinking water, as ducks with coccidiosis tend to eat less. Various sulphonamides can be used see the vet NOT ebay. These drugs should be used in conjunction with vitamins K, A and B complex as in ingesting rat bait an injection is quickest and reasonably cheap. The vitamins help in the control of intestinal bleeding and there generation of the damaged lining of the intestines. The sulphonamides should not be given over prolonged periods. The best results can beachieved by a 3-2-3 schedule (3 days medication, 2 days fresh unmedicated water and 3 days of repeat treatment). Of the sulphonamides, sulphadimidine given at 3 to 6 g per 10 ducks per day on the 3-2-3 basis is very successful. Control and prevention. Use good hygiene and a low stocking density. If you have had coccidiosis on your property, give low levels of sulphaquinoxaline (125 g/t feed) plus a multivitamin supplement for the first 8 weeks of life to keep the problem at bay. Alternatively, raising young ducklings off the ground can effectively prevent infection, especially if you have a high stocking rate and you do not wish to use medication continuously.

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