Targeting the global poultry industry's more than $3 billion in annual losses to coccidiosis, Zoetis introduced Rotecc™ Coccidiosis Management on January 28, a new, science-based initiative to help poultry producers worldwide develop more strategic, cost-effective and sustainable programs for battling the disease. Coccidiosis is a common intestinal disease of poultry that is caused by seven different species of protozoan parasites from the genus Eimeria. It is widely accepted that eradication of coccidia from the poultry house environment is difficult if not impossible. Controlling the parasites is therefore standard practice on all poultry operations.

"Overall, the poultry industry has done a commendable job managing coccidiosis. But clearly, when you look at billions of dollars in losses associated with the disease, there is still lots of room for improvement," said Mark LaVorgna, PhD, a nutritionist and global technical services director at Zoetis.

"With Rotecc, we're drawing on decades of published research, field and pen trials and our own experience managing coccidiosis in more than 60 countries to help close that gap. We are doing this not just with our own products but with all field-demonstrated anticoccidial tools available in the animal health industry."

Rotecc begins with a consultation by a Zoetis representative, who reviews a poultry operation's past and current programs, necropsy data and results from anticoccidial sensitivity testing, as well as seasonal preferences for product usage, production goals and management practices. Other variables such as feed costs and meat prices also are considered.

Rotecc is built on best practices widely accepted by the poultry science community for coccidiosis management. Specifically, this includes not using the same in-feed anticoccidial for too long, rotating among products from different classes, resting each product and using a synthetic anticoccidial once yearly to clean up lingering coccidia and help reduce infection pressure.

Don Waldrip, DVM, senior technical services veterinarian at Zoetis said poultry producers would benefit from thinking 24 months ahead when developing their management programs."Planning ahead is important because it takes time to initiate effective rotation programs that will provide ample rest periods for each class of in-feed product," said Waldrip.

Vaccination is also part of the Rotecc strategy. It gives in-feed anticoccidials a rest and seeds poultry houses with coccidia that are still sensitive to the in-feed products, which restores their efficacy, Waldrip explained.

To support Rotecc, Zoetis is developing several digital tools to help producers and veterinarians tailor a long-term program to suit their individual needs. These include the Rotecc™ Program Advisor, an iPad app that initially will be available in the U.S., and a Rotecc™ Calculator, which will run on the iPad and Windows operating systems. It will be used to help determine the most cost-effective anticoccidials for each producer's rotation plan while adhering to best practices for rotation.

Greg Mathis, PhD, president and owner of Southern Poultry Research, Athens, Ga., and a globally recognized expert on coccidiosis, expressed enthusiasm for the Rotecc initiative.

"When was the last time the world's poultry industry got a new anticoccidial — 15 or 20 years ago?" he asked, rhetorically. "We still have good tools available, but we need to do whatever we can to preserve their effectiveness and optimize their performance. Planning ahead and thinking about your program 12, 18 and even 24 months from now is a huge step in the right direction."

Mathis also urged producers to "rotate smarter" and learn the differences between anticoccidials. "I see producers rotating from, say, monensin or salinomycin to narasin, but all they're doing is rotating from one monovalent ionophore to another," he said. "They'd be better off rotating to a divalent ionophore, a chemical or even a vaccine," he said.

For more information about Rotecc, producers and veterinarians should contact their local Zoetis representative or visit