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Veterinary parasitology

Relative virulences of a drug-resistant and a drug-sensitive strain of Eimeria acervulina, a coccidium of chickens.


PMID 16361061

Abstract

The virulence of a field strain of the chicken coccidian parasite Eimeria acervulina (Boreham I), dually resistant to the chemically unrelated anticoccidial agents decoquinate and clopidol, was compared with that of a drug-sensitive laboratory strain (Ongar) of the same species. Following a single heavy infection (prevented from recycling), both strains exhibited pathogenic effects typical of their species, viz., pathognomonic lesions, adverse effects on body weight gain and feed conversion ratio (FCR), but no mortality. One week after infection, chicks infected with either strain had a statistically significantly worse weight gain than the uninfected control; the Boreham I strain produced more oocysts, and caused slightly more severe duodenal lesions and poorer FCRs than the Ongar strain (all those effects being non-significant). After 3 weeks, there were no significant differences between any cumulative effects of either strain, nor any differences from the uninfected control. However, from 2 to 3 weeks after infection, chicks infected with either strain had a greater feed consumption and growth rate than uninfected chicks. When chicks reared on solid floors were given lighter infections of either strain, which were allowed subsequently to recycle naturally, there were no consistent reductions in weight gains, but feed consumption was higher than that of uninfected chicks. Whatever, the mode of infection, there were no significant differences between the weights of infected and uninfected chicks after 3 weeks, but the FCR of infected chicks was usually poorer than that of uninfected chicks. The difference between the virulences of the Boreham I and Ongar strains was not greater than that between various drug-resistant strains or between various sensitive strains of several Eimeria species recorded in the literature. It is therefore concluded that there was no difference between the virulences of the two strains of E. acervulina that could be attributed to the drug-resistance of one of them.

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