is a parasitic infection by a microscopic protozoa that invades the
intestines of dogs as well as cats. There are four types of coccidia in
dogs that may infect the canine intestines. These four types of coccidia
in dogs are Lsospora Canis, Ohioensis, Eorivolta, and L. Burrowsi.
These single celled parasites invade cell wall lining of the dog's
intestine. These protozoans infect the intestinal tract of those dogs
that are immunocompromised or weak due to certain dog health problems.
Therefore, it is mostly puppies and stressed dogs that are infected with
What is Coccidia in Dogs
Coccidia is not a native organism of the internal environment of a
puppy. The puppy gets exposed to the organism from the mother's feces.
This happens especially when the mother is shedding the protozoan cysts
in her feces. The puppy may ingest the feces containing cysts that
develop in the intestines of the animal. Puppies as young as 6 months
old, do not have immunity to protect themselves from the protozoan
infection. The organism multiples in the intestines of the puppies
leading to serious dog health complication.
Older dogs and cats may get infected by ingesting soil containing
coccidia cysts. They may even eat feces or intestines of other infected
animals like rodents. They may even get infected by eating other
carriers like cockroaches, etc.
Symptoms of Coccidia in Dogs
The first sign of coccidia in dogs is diarrhea. The severity of the
diarrhea depends on the level of infection. Coccidia can multiply
rapidly, leading to a severe infection. Most often the diarrhea is
watery but may turn bloody and contain mucus in severe infections.
Another sign of coccidia in dogs is the stools having a really foul
odor. Even if you observe only loose stools, do not take it lightly and
get your pet checked for coccidia. The other symptoms of coccidia in
The symptoms of coccidia in dogs may be seen for up to 14 days.
However, these symptoms are not limited to coccidia only. Therefore, you
should speak to a veterinarian to be sure if your pet is suffering from
signs of coccidia in dogs.
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Seizures in case the infection turns severe
- Dehydration, especially in young puppies
- Abdominal tenderness
Treatment for Coccidia in Dogs
Coccidia in dogs treatment consists of two drugs that have high rates of
success. These drugs include sulfadimethoxine and
trimethoprim/sulfadiazine. The mode of action of these drugs does not
kill the coccidia in the intestines. It just helps in preventing the
parasite from reproducing. Therefore, the rate at which the animal
recovers from the infection is very slow. The dog becomes normal once an
equilibrium between the immune system and the organism is reached. The
average time to recover after proper treatment for coccidia in dogs is
followed is about 2 weeks.
Prevention of Coccidia in Dogs
The best way to prevent coccidia in dogs is keeping feces out of reach
from the dog. Do not take the dog to crowded places or keep him in dirty
living conditions. This is because not only dog feces is the mode of
contamination, but flies, cockroaches, ticks and fleas may also help in
spreading the infection to a healthy dog. Give your dog fresh, clean
water to drink at all times. This is because contaminated water may also
contain coccidia cysts. A small puppy will gradually develop immunity
to coccidia and it is very rare, for an healthy adult dog to develop a
Thus, make sure you take good dog care and keep your dog healthy. Make sure you provide prompt treatment to your pet.