Caution Coccidiodis!

Coccidiosis is an infection that develops usually in the spring-winter months, in the 2-4 month calves, which are especially housed in stable conditions. It is known as the main cause of neonatal diarrhea and low growing rates in the calves and lambs. It increases susceptibility to other infections such as pneumonia. The risk of infection in calves continues all the year round, and is particularly prevalent in young lambs in springtime. It also poses a significant threat to the herd health.

The animals encounter with the coccidiosis at very young ages. Calves and lambs can get it by being infected orally, by sucking the udders of the animals having the contaminated factor (agent) (particularly in beef cattles) or can get it from dirty litters, walls and pastures.

Livestock breeders are faced with recurring infections in the environment where there are coccidias and this situation occurs not only due to the feces exposed by the calves and lambs, but because of the immune system they got from their mother. The symptoms increase in such cases when the food supply is in poor condition, when all the lactation is made only once a day resulting in quick digestion and when there is lack of salt. When it is faced with this kind of deficiencies, the calves and lambs are infected with the factor by trying to suck and eat the objects around them.

Age is the main risk factor for this disease. In the first week of their lives, the calves and the lambs are protected by developing passive immunity through the beastings they had from their mothers. However, if the newborn animal did not have the beastings sufficiently, stress occurs in this baby, especially diarrhea is observed after 18 days.

Time of the year plays an important role in the observation of coccidiosis, however it also depends on other factors affecting this stage. The process where traditional housing methods are applied, carries high-risk because during this time the young animals are often housed in quite difficult conditions, in the circumstances that are suitable for the active population.

The housing types and the structure of the buildings also affect the risks of coccidiosis. For example the litters, include a great risk as they can maintain optimal moisture, oxygen level and temperature for the factors to live. The conditions of the building, if the temperature is higher than fifteen degrees, if the humidity is more than 80% and the ventilation is at an inadequate rate, it  may be supporting the development of the coccidias. The environments with good hygiene have to be established and it should be paid attention for the contacts of the food with the feces and the waterin troughs.

The number of animals and their density also affect the coccidiosis. When animal shelters are in question, their being used by animals consisting of groups, coexistence of animals at different ages, they all pose risk factors for the coccidiosis.

As there are a large number of animals at the meadows and in the barns, these risk factors are the reason for the coccidiosis to be a major problem in the production of lambs.

Practical Advices

Bringing the Risk Factors Under Control: The livestock breeders can be affected by certain risk factors.

Factors for Raising the Livestocks: The number of the animals, the intensity of the animals in the shelter and the feed quality can be improved by livestock breeders. The litters should be kept clean and dry by pouring phosphate preparations. A good ventilation should be provided to keep the condensation within certain limits. Also, grouping the animals according to their ages can be an effective measure in limiting the spread of infection.

The disinfectants used for bacteria and viruses are not effective in coccidias. Only the physical factors can destroy the agents (factors). In the buildings, especially the areas where young animals can reach, can be decontaminated by being washed with super heated water (120 °C) under high pressure. The plants previously used have to be cleaned very efficiently.

Under the control of coccidiosis, it is necessary to control the weanings which lasts for more than a few days and the changings of the feed.

During and after the weaning, other parasites observed at certain times in the lives of animals between 4 to 7 weeks should also be known. For the young animals, the parasite control is a point that should not be ignored, especially in the strategical control of coccidiosis.

For the limitation of coccidiosis infection, factors associated with pasture and grazing.should also not be missed out