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Efficacy of sulfonamides and Baycox® against Isospora suis in experimental infections of suckling piglets

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Sulfonamide treatment of piglets against neonatal coccidiosis has frequently been suggested in the literature. In order to evaluate the efficacy of sulfonamides against experimental Isospora suis infections in suckling piglets (oral infection with 1,500 sporulated oocysts of I. suis per piglet on the fourth day of life), two trials were conducted. In trial I, oral sulfadimidine (group Sulfa-Oral) was applied in doses of 100 mg/kg of body weight (BW) 1 day before infection and 75 mg/kg BW daily for the following 5 days, and sulfamethoxypyrimidine (SMP) was applied parenterally in daily doses of 75 mg/kg BW for the same time period. In trial II, SMP was applied parenterally in doses of 75 mg/kg BW (a) from the day of infection daily for 7 days (SMP-Standard), (b) for 2 days starting on the day of infection (SMP-Early), (c) for 3 days starting 2 days post-infection (d.p.i.; SMP-Middle), (d) for 2 days starting 5 d.p.i. (SMP-Late), and (e) every other day from the day of infection until 6 d.p.i. (SMP-Alternating), as well as (f) orally in doses of 75 mg/kg BW from the day of infection for 7 days (SMP-Oral). The sulfonamide-treated groups were compared to a toltrazuril-treated group (single oral treatment with Baycox® 5% suspension, 20 mg/kg BW 2 d.p.i.) and to a water-treated Control group. Each group consisted of seven to nine piglets. The parameters evaluated were oocyst excretion and fecal consistency/diarrhea from 4 to 15 d.p.i. Sulfa-Oral, SMP-Early, and SMP-Late had no significant effect in reduction of oocyst excretion and diarrhea, whereas treatment for 3–7 days with SMP reduced both parasite shedding and diarrhea significantly. Oral treatment with SMP was comparable to parenteral application. Baycox® in a single application had the most pronounced effect and completely suppressed oocyst excretion and diarrhea during the examination period. It could be shown that repeated application of sulfonamides, provided that the appropriate time period after infection is covered, can in principle be used to control piglet coccidiosis; however, the amount of work required is considerable, and the practicability is poor. Due to the short half-life of sulfonamides in pigs and the lack of predictability of the time point of infection, an efficient application of sulfonamides to control piglet coccidiosis under field conditions appears unlikely. Baycox®, on the other hand, applied once during the prepatent period of infection, had a lasting effect and can be used to most effectively control I. suis.

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Correspondence to Anja Joachim.

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Joachim, A., Mundt, HC. Efficacy of sulfonamides and Baycox® against Isospora suis in experimental infections of suckling piglets. Parasitol Res 109, 1653–1659 (2011).

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