Coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis: can nature help?

The increasingly pressing problems

Coccidia (Eimeria spp.) are parasites with a strong environmental resistance: extreme temperatures (very high or very low) can kill these pathogens, but they can resist the commonly used environmental disinfectants. Infective oocysts remain alive in the litter for months causing animal infection: after the oral ingestion, oocysts develop and multiply into the intestine. Here the intracellular replication of the parasites causes severe mucosal lesion and oocysts are spread into the environment with feces. Severe clinical signs are not frequent, but quite all the reared birds are infected and display sub-clinical signs such as a delay in growth, with consequent huge economic losses in all the animal categories.
At the same time, coccidiosis is one of the most important predisposing factors of necrotic enteritis in poultry, caused by superinfection by Clostridium perfringens. Also in this case, the reduced performance of the infected animals and the increase in mortality strongly affect the economic return of the investment. Vaccines and anticoccidial drugs are commonly used to prevent Eimeria infections, as well as antibiotics are administered in case of bacterial infections. However, the large use of these drugs in the last decades led to strongly resistant strains and to the need for alternatives.

Nature gave us tools

Nature provides us with useful molecules, commonly used as feed additives, to face these problems. Nature identical compounds are well-known for their antimicrobial properties as pore-forming agents. They are able to disrupt the bacterial and the parasite cell membrane integrity, with a direct bactericidal effect and the reduction of Eimeria intestinal presence. Consequently, they can reduce the environmental spread of coccidia oocysts and the risk of poultry infections. However, these molecules are proved to be degraded at the gastric level: we need to protect them to by-pass the stomach and to reach the gastrointestinal tract of the animal, where their action is needed.

The Vetagro solution

Our technology ensures the protection of the active ingredients, their stomach by-pass and their slow release along the whole intestinal tract. Our latest R&D results about coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis will be presented at IPSF (January, 27-28, Atlanta, GA) and at IPPE 2020 (January 28-30, Atlanta, GA).


        • Remmal, et al. (2013). Int. J. vet. Med. ID 599816
        • Felici, et al. (2020). IPSF 2020. Atlanta, GA, USA
        • Tugnoli, et al. (2020). IPSF 2020. Atlanta, GA, USA
        • Maynard, et al. (2020). IPPE 2020. Atlanta, GA, USA