20 Dec The vicious cycle of necrotic enteritis in layers
Necrotis enteritis has been ranked as one of the most important diseases affecting poultry operations nowadays. Its occurrence is increasing, especially in countries where antibiotic growth promoters have been banned. Very common in broilers, it is also encountered in laying hens, particularly near the beginning of egg laying or during production peak. Cases in pullets have also been described.
Necrotic enteritis is caused by toxins produced by Clostridium perfringens. Clostridium perfringens is a bacterium that grows under anaerobic conditions (absence of oxygen) and produces spores that are highly resistant to environmental conditions, and thus they are not eliminated with the high temperatures used in feed production. Spores are commonly found in litter, feed, manure and facilities.
Clostridium perfringens is a normal inhabitant of the gut flora of healthy hens. Under normal conditions, the “beneficial bacteria” in digestive system keep Clostridium population small in number, but there are risky situations in which the its growth is favored:
- Any kind of stress, including the transport of the hens to the laying farm, feed transitions, as well as weather conditions.
- Coccidiosis: it’s the best studied interaction. Coccidia stimulate production of mucus in intestine, which favors the proliferation of Clostridium perfringens.
- Presence of non-starch polysaccharides in feed.
- Removal of antibiotic growth promoters.
- Presence of insects, especially flies.
Once bacteria begin to produce toxins, a vicious circle starts: toxins damage enterocytes, which are not able to absorb nutrients properly, thus the presence of undigested feed in the intestine increases, environment becomes more anaerobic and growth of Clostridium is favored.
Layers affected by necrotic enteritis are weak, depressed, with ruffled feathers and diarrhea. Mortality is increased and egg production is impaired. Birds may be dehydrated with general congestion. Intestinal mucosa of small intestine is thickened, ulcerated and covered with a brown membrane. Areas of severe necrosis can be found. Liver is pale and enlarged.
Antibiotics the treatment of choice for necrotic enteritis, but many of them leave residues in eggs so there is a withdrawal period and eggs can not be sold during this interval. Also, it is often impossible to effectively use antibiotics since the disease progresses very fast and the toxins involved produce irreversible intestinal damage. Thus, it is most often easier to prevent necrotic enteritis rather than treat it.
Products based on plant extracts with microbiocide and prebiotic properties help to restore or maintain gut heath and the balance of intestinal flora, avoiding the proliferation of Clostridium perfringens. Administration should begin before the pullets are transferred to the laying farm and given during the production peak. GrowthPlus© and PlusProtect Digestive© are products of choice.
PhytoMax© contains vitamins and plant extracts that contribute to recover hen’s productivity after digestive problems such as necrotic enteritis.
Products of choice
PhytoMax© is a combination of vitamins, chelated calcium, microminerals and essential oils to be given through drinking water. It is intended for layers and breeders to:
- Maintain the levels of calcium and magnesium needed for optimal egg production.
- Reinforce skeletal health.
- Prevent cage fatigue.
- Stimulate the hepatic metabolism and the immune system.
- Improve the quality of the egg and the health of day-old chicks.
- Avoid the drop of the laying rate produced by stress (management, vaccines, hot weather, etc…)
- At the start of the laying period, to boost productivity.
- Prolong the productive life of the hen.
GrowthPlus© is added to feed to maintain and improve digestive health. It is formulated with synergistic ingredients:
- Bactericidal and fungicidal plant extracts, combined with organic acids for better effectiveness, that reduce the number of pathogenic microbes in the digestive system.
- Plant extracts with prebiotic effect, that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
- Immunostimulant and antioxidant plant extracts.
- Silicates with mycotoxin binding function.
It is especially useful in cases of gizzard diseases, necrotic enteritis, feed passage and other enteritis. It is also used as a natural growth promoter and to replace antibiotic growth promoters.
PlusProtect Digestive© is intended for digestive health in birds and rabbits of all ages. It is formulated with synergistic ingredients:
- Essential oils with bactericidal and fungicidal activity
- Plant extracts with prebiotic effect.
- Immunostimulant and antioxidant essential oils
PlusProtect Digestive© is useful to improve gut health in the following cases:
- Candidiasis in beak, crop and gizzard
- Bacterial infections in gizzard. In severe cases, it is better to give together with our PlusBind© line (mycotoxin binders)
- Bacterial infections in the intestines (necrotic enteritis; E.coli; Salmonella sp.)
- General digestive imbalances, such as feed passage.
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Certain health statements may not be applicable in your region.