ZOETIS has launched a reformulated synthetic coccidiostat offering another tool for control programmes.

The pathogens Eimeria maxima, Eimeria acervulina and Eimeria tenella are three species that commonly cause coccidiosis in broilers, which can have significant economic impacts.

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Ionophores are widely used for control, but resistance can build up over time.

Zoetis has announced the new synthetic coccidiostat Avi-Deccox to counter this build-up of resistance as part of an overall control programme.

It is a reformulation of the existing product ‘Deccox’, containing decoquinate as the active ingredient.


“Many businesses rely very heavily on ionophores in their control programmes, and there’s often a reluctance to rotate treatments, adding to the risk of resistance building up,” according to John Kenyon, Zoetis national veterinary manager.

“When using an ionophore, you should carefully consider how long it is used for before switching to a product from another anticoccidial class.

“The different mode of action with synthetic or ‘chemical’ coccidiostats such as Avi-Deccox achieves a greater knock-down in the short term, and they can be incorporated for brief periods into a rotational programme before switching back to an ionophore.”

Lesion scoring

Mr Kenyon recommends the use of lesion scoring alongside coccidiosis control programmes.

“If you suspect a problem, arrange for your vet or area manager to do lesion scoring at key periods in the cycle when you would expect to see clinical signs of coccidiosis infection – typically with the birds at three-to-four weeks of age.

“This will give you the best insight into the challenges being faced by the birds.”

Signs of issues

“Other indicators of possible coccidiosis issues can be inferior gut health, birds flicking feed from the pan and undigested feed in the droppings.

“You may see mucus or gut lining within the droppings or in older broilers even a large amount blood in their droppings and increased mortalities.

“There can also be more subtle signs such as water consumption irregularities”.

Coccidiosis is ubiquitous in poultry production.

The highly resistant features of oocysts in the house environment and their extremely high replicative capacity make it unfeasible to remove the challenges from poultry houses altogether.

Businesses need careful planning of intelligent coccidiosis control programmes.