Coccidiosis is a common infection of calves and lambs which causes production losses, disease and in extreme cases, death.
Young stock are initially protected from infection by antibodies from colostrum, but are particularly susceptible to infection as this protection wanes before they develop their own immunity. The level of challenge at this point determines whether calves and lambs will develop immunity without disease, or suffer production losses and disease before they gain immunity.
As most adult cattle and sheep have some coccidial oocysts in their faeces, and these oocysts survive well in the environment, it is almost impossible to eradicate coccidiosis at a farm level. A low level of background contamination is therefore likely in environments where animals are kept.
Infection is acquired by ingestion of contaminated feed or water (udders or teats contaminated with faecal material also pose a risk to calves and lambs), so hygiene for housed animals, and grazing management when at pasture, play a significant part in managing the disease challenge.
Heavy challenges causing obvious clinical disease, are the tip of the iceberg. Around two thirds of the economic loss caused by coccidiosis is due to reduced weight gain in apparently healthy animals.
Targeted treatment with Vecoxan will allow natural immunity to develop, while minimising gut damage and environmental contamination, allowing better weight gain compared to untreated animals on the same farm.
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