Apparent lack of efficacy of toltrazuril against Eimeria species affecting brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) at a captive rearing facility

Apparent lack of efficacy of toltrazuril against Eimeria species affecting brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) at a captive rearing facility
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To assess the efficacy of toltrazuril against the Eimeria spp. affecting brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli).

METHODS: Droppings were collected from three brown kiwi, aged <6 months old, at a captive rearing facility in the North Island of New Zealand, between 22 February and 20 April 2017, on 14 sampling dates. Only droppings (n=30) that were excreted between 03:00 and 07:00, as determined using video surveillance, were included for analysis, reflecting the peak time for shedding of coccidial oocysts for brown kiwi. Oocysts were quantified in each sample and Eimeria species identified on the basis of oocyst morphology. All samples were collected between 2 and 10 days after the birds had been treated with 25 mg/kg toltrazuril.

RESULTS: Eimeria spp. oocysts were identified in 28/30 individual samples and on 14/14 sampling dates. Oocyst counts varied from 0 to 328,080 oocysts per gram (opg), and at least one oocyst count >10,000 opg was measured on 12/14 sampling dates. Three species of Eimeria were observed, with Eimeria apteryxii and E. kiwii most commonly encountered, whereas only one sample contained E. paraurii.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: In the three birds monitored at this research site, there was a high abundance of E. apteryxii and E. kiwii oocysts in droppings despite recent administration of toltrazuril. These results suggest that the populations of Eimeria spp. affecting brown kiwi at this location appear to possess an ability to survive exposure to toltrazuril. Toltrazuril is widely used at captive rearing facilities to limit the effects of coccidiosis in juvenile kiwi. If a lack of efficacy is confirmed, it will be necessary to investigate alternative treatment regimens alongside broader environmental management strategies.


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