Combination of probiotics and coccidiosis vaccine enhances protection against an Eimeria challenge
Ritzi, Miranda M.
Barrett, Nathaniel W.
Dalloul, Rami A.
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Coccidiosis is endemic in the commercial broiler industry capable of inflicting devastating economic losses to poultry operations. Vaccines are relatively effective in controlling the disease; their efficacy could potentially be improved with concurrent use of probiotics as evaluated in this study using an Eimeria challenge. Day of hatch 400 Cobb-500 male broilers were assigned to one of four treatment groups including control (CON), vaccine-only gel application (VNC), probiotic-only gel application (NPC), and vaccine-plus-probiotic gel application (VPC). Birds were placed in floor pens (6 replicate pens/treatment, 16–17 birds/pen). NPC and VPC birds received the probiotics in the water on days 2–4, 8, 14–20, 22, 29, and 34–36. On day 15, birds were mildly challenged with 0.5 mL of a mixed oral inoculum of Eimeria sp. prepared with the coccidiosis vaccine at 10× the vaccination dose. Performance measurements were recorded on first day and weekly afterwards, and lesion scores were evaluated 6 days post-challenge. Overall, the probiotics and coccidiosis vaccine resulted in an enhanced protective effect against the challenge, with VPC birds exhibiting lower lesion scores in the duodenum than VNC or NPC birds. Birds in the VPC treatment also demonstrated higher weight gains during days 1–15, days 7–15, and days 21–28 when compared to the VNC birds. These results suggest that the combination of probiotics and coccidiosis vaccines could enhance performance and provide an additional protective effect against a mixed Eimeria challenge.