Researchers hatch immunity-boosting idea

The same trait that made canaries an effective indicator of danger in coal mines could help improve production outcomes for poultry farmers.

Birds' extra-sensitive lungs make aerosol a feasible method to deliver a synthetic (non-infectious) bacterial DNA that triggers the immune system response of newly-hatched chicks, explained University of Saskatchewan veterinary researcher Dr. Susantha Gomis.

The chicks' immune response helps to guard them against deadly bacterial infections, such as E. coli, in the critical first days of life. At the same time, the aerosol-based technology will help to protect poultry producers against the devastating economic losses caused by early mortality.

"It is industry feasible and we can do it [the treatment] in the hatchery before birds are put into the truck," said Gomis, a professor of veterinary pathology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).

With the help of $400,000 in funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), Gomis and his team will continue developing this novel, non-antibiotic, non-vaccine immunity- boosting treatment for chickens.

Read the full story at WCVM Today.
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