Poultry Respiratory Protection
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Frederic David, Global Marketing Director or Poultry for MSD Animal Health, reflects on the latest issue of PRP.
Frédéric David, DVM

Legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong once described life as “a series of false limits.”

“It’s my challenge to explore those limits,” he added. Then he went on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles.

The poultry industry often reminds me of Armstrong because it, too, has a track record for “exploring limits” and achieving the unthinkable. Year after year, flock after flock, producers keep raising the bar for feed conversion, growth rate, egg production, survivability and uniformity. Numbers that once seemed unattainable are now taken for granted. It seems the more the poultry industry challenges itself, the more successful it becomes.

One recent example of the poultry industry’s resourcefulness can be seen in its ongoing battle with infectious bronchitis (IB). New and potentially costly variants such as QX are emerging all the time, challenging veterinarians and producers to find new means for control, often with existing tools.

Good Fit

Through what is known as Protectotype — where some strains of IB viruses are highly effective at inducing cross protection against other serotypes — they’ve discovered that using certain combinations of vaccines can provide more protection than the IB strain or strains found in any one vaccine vial.

One veterinary practitioner in Austria reports seeing this first hand in the 80,000 breeders and millions of pullets under his care (page 26). “If you use the Ma5 vaccine, it covers the Massachusetts-serotype virus,” says Franz Sommer, DVM, DACPV.

“If you use the 4/91 vaccine, it covers the 4/91 type of virus. But if you use the two of them together in the same program, they cover a couple of different serotypes. Vaccine A plus vaccine B protects not only against A and B, but also against serotype strains C and D.”

When it comes to managing IB, there also seems to be no limit to raising the bar for protection. For example, Paul McMullin, MRCVS — a consulting veterinarian for Hy-Line in the UK — notes that protection induced by live vaccines used in rearing should last to 20 to 23 weeks of age. “The problem…is that by 20 to 23 weeks, flocks are coming into lay, “ he says. “That is a period of high physiological stress, so it's a very bad time for birds and they’re very susceptible to new infections.”

For that reason, after giving the inactivated combination IB vaccine at transfer, he now recommends re-vaccinating with a live IB vaccine after 7 days — or whenever the flock has settled into its new accommodation.

Success by innovation

Scientists are also helping to develop new ideas for IB control. At the XVII World Veterinary Poultry Association Congress in Mexico, more than 400 poultry veterinarians packed a meeting room for a symposium about Protectotype, where specialists from five countries shared their experiences exploring new programs for managing the persistent disease.

These innovations are being used successfully by large poultry operations. As Richard Beevis, UK breeder farms manager at Hy-Line, says, “The QX variant is becoming more prevalent in the UK, yet we haven’t changed our vaccination program for 12 months. I think that says something about the vaccine products we’re using and when we’re using them”

Once again, it’s all about exploring new limits. We are pleased to report on the industry’s latest feats in this issue of PRP.

Frédéric David, DVM

Global Marketing Director

Global Poultry Business Unit
Animal Health

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