THE IMPORTANCE OF COCCIDIOSIS
Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of farm animals (poultry, swine, rabbits, many species of ruminants) that leads to considerable economical losses. It is caused by protozoa of the genuses Eimeria and Isospora, among others. The disease spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces or ingestion of conatminated tissues. Signs of coccidiosis range from decreased growth rate and poor production parameters to a high percentage of visibly sick animals, severe diarrhea and high mortality.
Continuous use of the available anticoccidial drugs has led to the emergence of drug-resistant strains of coccidia. New drugs should be made available to replace the anticoccidials that are not anymore effective, but it takes a long time and efforts to develop new active compounds. In the recent years, some vaccines have been launched but in many cases they are expensive and not fully effective against new resistant strains.
Recently, some phyto-active ingredients have been found useful to prevent and to ameliorate infections by coccidia, demonstrating that they are an alternative or complement to current prevention strategies.
Coccidia oocysts in a fecal flotation (Image found here)
CINNAMON, THE SPICE OF EMPERORS AND GODS
Belonging to the Lauraceae family, the Cinnamomum genus (cinnamon) is a very popular spice throughout the world. It was mentioned for the first time in a Chinese book called “The Classic of Herbal Medicine”, attributed to emperor Shennong, as early as 2800 BC. The Taoists regarded it as the food of gods.
To the Ancient Egyptians, cinnamon was more valuable than solid gold. It also appeared in the death rites of the ancient Greeks and Romans, crackling from their funeral pyres. It has been a very valuable spice in the international trade until the seventeenth century.
Picture of “The Classic of Herbal Medicine”, attributed to emperor Shennong (Image found here)
Besides its medicinal applications, cinnamon is recognized for its flavor and aroma. It is a substance generally recognized as a safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is also in the list of approved food additives in China and in the European list of feed additives.
Cinnamon powder extracts, oils and some of its active compounds are indeed effective against large variety of organisms including Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, fungi, protozoa, mites and nematodes.
PRACTICAL USE OF CINNAMON AGAINST COCCIDIOSIS
Cinnamon acts against coccidia through two main mechanisms of action:
1) Direct exposure of oocysts to cinnamon or its active compounds leads to lysis and death of the cells. In vitro tests show its effectivity at concentrations between 10 to 500 μg/ml (Remmal et al, 2013).
2) Cinnanmon and its active compounds are able to stimulate protective innate immunity responses against infection by coccidia. It has been proved, both through in vitro laboratory trials and through in vivo farm trials with infected animals, that they enhance certain metabolic activities of lymphocytes and macrophages. (Hyen Lee at al, 2011; Lillehoj, 2014 )
Picture adapted from © Shaheen Peerbhai
Effects in the farm
Farm trials demonstrate that:
- Animals fed with cinnamon or its active compounds that had been exposed to Eimeria sp. show lower gross lesion scores than control (Orengo et al, 2012).
- If animals are fed with cinnamon or its active compounds, they shed less Eimeria oocysts in their feces. (Hyen Lee at al, 2011)
- Administering cinnamon or its main constituents increases in body weight gain during coccidial infection.
PRODUCTS OF CHOICE
The beneficial phyto-actives of cinnamon are included in some products within our portfolio:
GrowthPlus©, premix powder for poultry, rabbits and aquaculture, is a combination of phyto-active ingredients, organic acids and mycotoxins binders. Its carefully studied composition makes it the ideal product to provide beneficial plant ingredients through feed and to avoid problems caused by mycotoxicosis.
PigletPlus©, premix powder for pigs, is a combination of phyto-active ingredients, organic acids and mycotoxins binders. Its carefully studied composition makes it the ideal product to provide beneficial plant ingredients through feed and to avoid problems caused by mycotoxicosis.
PlusProtect Digestive© is a liquid cocktail of phyto-active ingredients, intended for all species and ages, is designed to easily administer beneficial compounds through drinking water in cases of immediate need, or when feed intake is low because there are diseases that reduce consumption.
ActiPlus® is a liquid cocktail for suckling mammals formulated with premium ingredients (phyto-active ingredients, electrolytes, rapidly absorbed sugars and vitamin E) to ensure that growth performance continues despite the challenges of infections, cold weather and other adverse circumstances.
Literature available upon request.
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Picture of cinnamon in the front, ©Shutterstock modified by ©PlusVet Animal Health
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