The purpose of the present study was to compare the ability of enrofloxacin, oxytetracycline, and sulfadimethoxine to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by Escherichia coli (colibacillosis) in broiler chickens.
The chickens were raised in 80 pens (20 birds per pen) with 20 pens representing each treatment group under simulated commercial conditions that produced a colibacillosis challenge scenario. Each group of 20 randomized pens (replicates) was given one of four water treatments. Chickens that received enrofloxacin had significantly less mortality (P < 0.01), lower average gross pathology (colibacillosis) scores (P < 0.01), and better feed-conversion ratios (P < 0.05) than did chickens that received either oxytetracycline or no medication. Chickens that received enrofloxacin had significantly less mortality and lower pathology scores than those that received sulfadimethoxine and numerically lower feed conversion than the sulfadimethoxine group.
Results from the present study show that enrofloxacin is superior to oxytetracycline and sulfadimethoxine for the control of morbidity and mortality caused by E. coli in broiler chickens. Our findings will help veterinarians choose and prescribe the most efficacious antimicrobial when treating colibacillosis.