Control and Treatment of Coccidiosis in Piglets
Various strategies can be employed to control coccidiosis, but in reality, eradication of Coccidia is impossible. Acceptance of this fact is essential to the establishment of successful programs for controlling the disease on farms.
The establishment of programs that combine management strategies, farm hygiene measures and chemotherapy is very important for reducing the infection pressure of the parasite and limiting the effects of the disease on the animals.
Piglets must be separated from their faeces and from that of other litters. Coccidiosis was found to be much more common where the farrowing pens have a solid or partly solid floor as opposed to a slatted one.
The establishment of pest control programs is also important for preventing the presence of vectors, such as rodents, on farms.
Procedures such as cleaning pens correctly, using high-pressure hot water (>70„a C), and keeping them dry during the first weeks of farrowing help to reduce the number of oocysts present. Although Isospora suis is resistant to the majority of common disinfectants, there have been some reports of a reduction in the number of oocysts when compounds that are able to penetrate the oocyst wall are used (cresolic acid, chlorine or ammonia in a 50% solution).
Several attempts with Chemoprophylaxis have been made using anticoccidials such as ionophores, sulphonamides, diclazuril, amprolium and furozolidone. These regimens yielded disappointing results and were found to be too labour-intensive for practical use. It must also be kept in mind that once the piglets have started scouring, anticoccidial therapy will do little to prevent the consequences of the disease. It is virtually impossible to compensate for the setback such piglets suffer at this early stage.
In piggeries affected by coccidiosis, a single oral treatment with 20 mg toltrazuril (Baycox® 5%) per kg live weight given to piglets at the age of 3 to 5 days has been found to yield excellent results in control and field conditions.
This "metaphylactic" treatment prevents the appearance of clinical signs and production losses, whilst allowing the development of immunity. Intracellular stages of the parasite, damaged by toltrazuril (Baycox® 5%), remain in the host cells for sufficient time to provide antigenic stimulus for the development of immunity to further infection.