Effective coccidiosis management programs incorporate a variety of animal husbandry and medicinal strategies - the latter comprising live vaccines and anticoccidials, which are broad-spectrum products administered via feed during nearly all of a chicken's life cycle to help prevent coccidiosis during this period when birds are most vulnerable.
However, with increasing regulations regarding the use of anticoccidials, coupled with the associated costs in developing new drugs and live vaccines, it means that it is necessary to consider novel, holistic approaches to dealing with coccidiosis.
Huvepharma claims that it has the largest coccidiosis control portfolio in the market. So, we turned the microphone to the company's Global Product Manager for Anticoccidials, Ben Dehaeck, and asked him how the company has managed to craft itself a leadership position in this poultry health market segment and what's next on the Huvepharma coccidiosis management agenda.
[Feedinfo] Mr. Dehaeck, to be clear, coccidiosis can be treated via vaccination and use of anticoccidials. Is it a simple case of either/or, or is the issue a lot more complex involving rotation? How can one know if the chosen strategy is a good one?
[Ben Dehaeck] The coccidiosis control strategy always needs to be customised and different factors will influence the coccidiosis control strategy applied. The major factors influencing the coccidiosis control strategies are:
- Coccidiosis pressure - coccidiosis pressure can vary depending on management, region and climate. For example, where there is higher stocking density or high humidity, the coccidiosis pressure will be higher compared to farms with a lower stocking density or farms in a very dry climate.
- Anticoccidial history - in order to avoid a decrease of efficacy of the products used, it's advisable to rotate between anticoccidials. Therefore, the choice of a new coccidiosis control program will depend upon the historical use of products and programs. A certain period of usage and rest time between products needs to be respected and this will be different for ionophores, chemical or combination products.
- Monitoring - the coccidiosis challenge can peak at different ages of the birds, depending on the factors mentioned above. When a coccidiosis monitoring system is in place, it will bring a better insight into the severity and dynamics of the disease. This knowledge will help to make decisions on which products (anticoccidials or vaccines), duration of use and programs (shuttle, reverse shuttles or full) that will be the best option in a specific situation. It can also help producers to decide to stay on a specific program for a longer or shorter period.
- Company policy - some companies apply specific strategies on the usage of anticoccidials, such as Antibiotic Free (ABF), No Antibiotics Ever (NAE), Raised Without Antibiotics (RWA), etc., which limit the number of products that can be used.
[Feedinfo] Can you provide an overview of your product range in this category, where in the world they are registered and where they are enjoying healthy market penetration?
[Ben Dehaeck] Huvepharma has all types of anticoccidial products in its portfolio including oral preventions (in-feed), oral treatments (in water) and vaccines. The portfolio includes ionophores, chemicals, combination products and coccidiosis vaccines for broilers and breeders. No other animal health company can offer this wide range of solutions for coccidiosis control.
Our ionophores (Sacox, Coxidin and Yumamycin), chemicals (Coxiril, Stenorol, Coyden, Amprol), combination product (Monimax), coccidiosis vaccines for broilers (Advent, Inovocox EM1 and HuveGuard MMAT) and finally coccidiosis vaccines for breeders and layers (Eimeriavax 4m and HuveGuard NB) are registered across global markets. The brand and market penetration will be different per region and in general it will be higher in highly regulated markets like Europe and the US. This is also where we are producing our products as it was our strategic decision to stay with our production sites in highly regulated markets and offer products of high quality.
[Feedinfo] Huvepharma launched the coccidiosis control product Monimax (a combination of monensin and nicarbazin) in Europe last year. What feedback have you received from the market and what lessons have you learned since?
[Ben Dehaeck] The launch of Monimax in Europe was an important milestone for us. Many producers have started to use Monimax in the past year and, depending on the company history and the coccidiosis infection pressure, Monimax is used in a full or in a shuttle program together with Sacox (for broilers) or Coxidin (for broilers and turkeys). The feedback has been very positive. Both in broilers and turkeys, improvements in technical performance (up to 5 points in FCR), gut health and litter quality has been observed. This positive effect on litter quality will reduce the severity of foot pad lesions.
[Feedinfo] Huvepharma has developed a holistic approach to tackling coccidiosis with ionophores, chemicals and vaccines. In addition to the product range, what kind of management solutions does the company provide to poultry farming customers? What can be done on the preventative side to offset coccidiosis risk in the gut?
[Ben Dehaeck] We also offer management support tools. For this specific reason, we have developed a software platform - Aviapp® - that facilitates the monitoring of health, performance and management parameters such as coccidiosis, dysbacteriosis, litter quality, uniformity, ammonia and relative humidity. Recently, we added the dashboard option allowing users to perform a very thorough and quick revision of their data available in Aviapp.
Aviapp can be used on a smartphone, tablet and computer and is designed to support our customers to monitor and link health and performance parameters in broilers in a user-friendly way. It goes well beyond coccidiosis monitoring. Besides the logging of performance data, it currently includes the possibility to log 59 different health parameters. In this way, there will be the possibility to make connections between health parameters and performance. Just like any other software tool, we are continuously improving and extending the possibilities, considering the needs of our customers.
Nowadays, there is often a missing link between data captured by veterinarians and poultry producers. With Aviapp, captured information is available in real time and in an easy way, trends over time can be made visible. This information can, for instance, be used when deciding on a new anticoccidial program or to evaluate the effectiveness of alternatives to antibiotics. What makes Aviapp unique is the fact that the data generated on the platform is owned by the customer, giving them complete control of the data and the opportunity to generate graphs, benchmark farms and come to conclusions. It is designed to help customers to optimise the health and welfare of their animals.
On the preventative side, Huvepharma also offers cleaning and disinfection products with specific activity against coccidiosis (Prophyl S). Although it will be difficult to eliminate coccidiosis, the objective is to get the infection pressure as low as possible at the start of the grow-out. Only then can optimal performance be achieved.
We truly believe that we can offer not only products and services, but also the support of our expert teams who organise high level seminars, technical trainings, on farm support, and follow up analysis to the poultry industry. This approach allows us to be part of the solution, and to ensure that every customer is aware of all their options, allowing them to make the right decision for their animal health programs.
[Feedinfo] Mr. Dehaeck, in a July 2020 interview, you mentioned that coccidiosis control is key for Huvepharma's strategy and that the company will continue to invest in new products. What can the market next expect from you in the coming months?
[Ben Dehaeck] Pending EU approval, we expect that we will be able to re-introduce a chemical anticoccidial to the European market (Coxam, amprolium) for use in broilers and pullets. The benefit of this product is that it protects the birds against coccidiosis and, at the same time, allows the birds to develop immunity against all Eimeria species present in the flock. This "leakage" principle is what makes the ionophores unique but is not common for synthetic compounds. Amprolium has been used for many years as an in-water medication to treat coccidiosis in case of outbreaks. This in-feed application of amprolium is already very popular with customers in our US rotation programs.