The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the species composition and salinomycin sensitivity of Eimeria oocysts isolated from commercial broiler farms that differed by means of coccidiosis control (anticoccidial drugs [ACD] vs. live oocyst vaccines [VAC]). A comparison of Eimeria species composition and salinomycin sensitivity was also made before and after a producer switched from salinomycin to live oocyst vaccines. In general, no significant difference was observed in the concentration of Eimeria spp. oocysts in litter from VAC-utilizing farms compared to litter from ACD-utilizing farms. Application of PCR-based methods to detect coccidia found that Eimeria species distribution in litter from VAC operations more closely resembled the species composition in the live oocyst vaccines. Drug sensitivity testing found that Eimeria oocysts from VAC operations displayed greater salinomycin sensitivity as measured by weight gain and feed conversion efficiency compared to oocysts from ACD farms. These findings provide additional evidence for the usefulness of live oocyst vaccines to restore ionophore sensitivity in poultry operations that contain an ionophore-resistant population of Eimeria spp. oocysts.
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