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Coccidiosis 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 coccidiosis.

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 dogs includes:

  • Weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Lethargy

  • Seizures in case the infection turns severe

  • Dehydration, especially in young puppies

  • Abdominal tenderness

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.

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 coccidia infection.

Thus, make sure you take good dog care and keep your dog healthy. Make sure you provide prompt treatment to your pet.


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