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A new method for the experimental production of necrotic enteritis and its use for studies on the relationships between necrotic enteritis, coccidiosis and anticoccidial vaccination of chickens

Abstract

A new method for the experimental production of necrotic enteritis in chickens is described. The main features are the use of a diet high in wheat and fish meal content; oral administration of a non-lethal inoculum of the coccidium Eimeria maxima followed 6 days later by the bacterium Clostridium perfringens type A per cloaca, so that the bacterial inoculum is deposited at the time and place when and where the intestinal coccidial lesions are maximal; grading of coccidial and clostridial lesions in individual birds sampled during the 14 days following the coccidial infection. The new method was used to examine the relationship between clostridial and coccidial infections. Frank coccidiosis, caused by virulent E. maxima, exacerbated the lesions of necrotic enteritis and other clinical effects due to a subsequent challenge with virulent C. perfringens type A. Immunization with a live, pentavalent, attenuated anticoccidial vaccine (Paracox-5) protected against a severe challenge with heterologous E. maxima. Furthermore, vaccination with Paracox-5, by virtue of its protection against clinical coccidiosis due to the E. maxima challenge, indirectly protected birds against a subsequent challenge with virulent C. perfringens. The results are reconciled with previous field observations on concomitant coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis in chicken flocks.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Dr M. Bedford for supplying the feed formula, to Mrs J.A. Marshall and M. Perry for technical assistance, and to R. Sayers and Dr. D. Sweeney for carrying out the statistical analyses. The studies were carried out in accordance with the prevailing UK legislation for animal experimentation.

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Correspondence to R. B. Williams.

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Williams, R.B., Marshall, R.N., La Ragione, R.M. et al. A new method for the experimental production of necrotic enteritis and its use for studies on the relationships between necrotic enteritis, coccidiosis and anticoccidial vaccination of chickens. Parasitol Res 90, 19–26 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-002-0803-4

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Keywords

  • Broiler Chicken
  • Clostridium Perfringens
  • Coccidiosis
  • Definitive Trial
  • Necrotic Enteritis