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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Research on Histomoniasis Highlighted


The September issue of the Alltech Feeding Times contained an interview with Dr. Robert Beckstead of the Prestage Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University.  Dr. Beckstead is an acknowledged specialist in protozoal parasitalogy with a focus on histomoniasis (“blackhead”).  Studies on prevention of this disease are necessary since effective drugs used to suppress and cure the disease have been withdrawn based on carcinogenicity.


The Beckstead Laboratory has developed a model to screen candidate compounds. Work conducted over the past three years has shown a negligible success rate for a number of prebiotics, botanicals and other compounds evaluated. Dr. Beckstead is currently evaluating transmission among flocks and factors exacerbating clinical disease.  The health of flocks is critical to the severity of infection.  Obvious flocks with a predisposition to histomoniasis demonstrate some form of intestinal dysfunction.


Some compounds demonstrating in vitro antiprotozoal activity in laboratory trials have yet to be evaluated in living birds.  The challenge according to Dr. Beckstead is to encapsulate candidate compounds so that their anti-protozoal action takes place in the cecum.  Some promise has been shown by essential oils but determination of the critical dose is necessary since at high levels these potential therapeutic compounds are deleterious.


Click here to view the full interview.


Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane