Suckling piglet coccidiosis on farms in the Czech Republic – A pilot study

Sperling D, Karembe H, Vanhara J, Hinney B, Joachim A (2020): Suckling piglet coccidiosis on farms in the Czech Republic – A pilot study. Vet Med-Czech 65, 427–434.

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Suckling piglet coccidiosis is a common diarrhoeal disease of unweaned pigs caused by Cystoisospora suis with previously reported herd prevalences of 60% and more. The parasite quickly spreads in affected herds and causes malabsorption and a reduced and uneven body weight gain. The only drug currently licenced for the control of porcine cystoisosporiasis is toltrazuril, which suppresses parasite development and the corresponding diarrhoea. A recent study detected high prevalences of C. suis on swine farms in Austria, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic independent of the treatment. Here, the situation in the Czech Republic is evaluated in more detail. In total, faecal samples from 161 litters (two samples/litter in the second and third week of life) from 17 farms (250–2 000 sows) were examined for the presence of C. suis oocysts by autofluorescence and for faecal consistency. An accompanying questionnaire revealed details on the herd management and treatments. Eight farms applied toltrazuril on the 3rd, 4th or 5th day of life. Overall, 70.6% of the farms and 32.2% of the litters were positive for C. suis at least once, 39.4% in the untreated litters (n = 76) and 24.8% in the treated litters (n = 85). Diarrhoea occurred on eight farms (six with the toltrazuril treatment) in 11.9% of the untreated and 2.5% of the treated litters. This study shows that coccidiosis is still common in Czech swine farms and that treatment in the recommended time frame may reduce the diarrhoea, but cannot interrupt the parasite’s life cycle. Some type of effective disinfection, which may have contributed to a more effective parasite control, was not in place in any of the farms.

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