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Cocci Corner - How Soon Can Animals Get Coccidisis?

Once ingested, it takes 18-24 days before the coccidia lifecycle completes. At this point we will have shedding of significant volumes of infective oocysts in the animal's faeces (detectable though basic faecal sampling) and can see coccidiosis symptoms. As described in our previous blog, these can include straining, dark diarrhoea, bloody diarrhoea and ‘humped’ animals.

Calves

In calves, there is no significant transfer of protective antibodies against coccidia via colostrum. So, calves are vulnerable to the parasite from day 1. This means that the earliest we expect to see the disease in calves would be 3-4 weeks. On farms with coccidiosis in 3-4 week-old calves, calving environment/bonding pen hygiene is lacking.

It is more common to see the problem slightly later, with clinical symptoms triggered by stressors, e.g. weaning, transport, extreme weather, poor shed ventilation, draughts at animal level, build-up of environmental oocyst burden (e.g. in heifer rearing pens).

The problem can occur in older, seemingly immune, calves after a significant stressor event occurs in conjunction with a significant environmental coccidia oocyst burden.

Lambs

In lambs, there is some transfer of antibodies from ewe to lamb via colostrum. This suffices to give the lamb and initial 2-4 week duration of coverage. This means that any oocysts ingested during this period will not proliferate. It should be noted that factors like sub-optimal colostrum consumption, poor quality colostrum and stressors can reduce the effectiveness of this protection.

Once this protection ends, oocysts ingested by lambs can proliferate and multiply in the intestine. Thus, we would expect symptoms in lambs from 5-7 weeks of age onwards (2-4 weeks dam-derived protection plus 18-24 day lifecycle). Coccidiosis generally occurs around the same time as Nematodirus in lambs and given that the symptoms are very similar it is important to confirm which parasite is causing them.

Older Lambs

As with cattle, coccidiosis can occur in older, seemingly immune, lambs after a significant stressor event occurs in conjunction with a significant environmental coccidia oocyst burden.

Watch the video below and check out these articles

What is coccidiosis?

How does an anti-coccidial drench work?

Preventing Coccidiosis

Once ingested, it takes 18-24 days before the coccidia lifecycle completes. At this point we will have shedding of significant volumes of infective oocysts in the animal's faeces (detectable though basic faecal sampling) and can see coccidiosis symptoms. As described in our previous blog, these can include straining, dark diarrhoea, bloody diarrhoea and ‘humped’ animals.

Calves

In calves, there is no significant transfer of protective antibodies against coccidia via colostrum. So, calves are vulnerable to the parasite from day 1. This means that the earliest we expect to see the disease in calves would be 3-4 weeks. On farms with coccidiosis in 3-4 week-old calves, calving environment/bonding pen hygiene is lacking.

It is more common to see the problem slightly later, with clinical symptoms triggered by stressors, e.g. weaning, transport, extreme weather, poor shed ventilation, draughts at animal level, build-up of environmental oocyst burden (e.g. in heifer rearing pens).

The problem can occur in older, seemingly immune, calves after a significant stressor event occurs in conjunction with a significant environmental coccidia oocyst burden.

Lambs

In lambs, there is some transfer of antibodies from ewe to lamb via colostrum. This suffices to give the lamb and initial 2-4 week duration of coverage. This means that any oocysts ingested during this period will not proliferate. It should be noted that factors like sub-optimal colostrum consumption, poor quality colostrum and stressors can reduce the effectiveness of this protection.

Once this protection ends, oocysts ingested by lambs can proliferate and multiply in the intestine. Thus, we would expect symptoms in lambs from 5-7 weeks of age onwards (2-4 weeks dam-derived protection plus 18-24 day lifecycle). Coccidiosis generally occurs around the same time as Nematodirus in lambs and given that the symptoms are very similar it is important to confirm which parasite is causing them.

Older Lambs

As with cattle, coccidiosis can occur in older, seemingly immune, lambs after a significant stressor event occurs in conjunction with a significant environmental coccidia oocyst burden.

Watch the video below and check out these articles

What is coccidiosis?

How does an anti-coccidial drench work?

Preventing Coccidiosis

23
Jan