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What is Coccidia?

Most cats will come in contact with coccidia sometime in their life. The majority of adult cats are immune to the infectious disease that coccidia can cause, called “coccidiosis”. Kittens under six months of age and cats suffering from conditions that hinder their immune system may contract coccidiosis. This rare infection can cause serious effects and, in extreme cases, may even be fatal. Kittens who are infected with coccidiosis are contagious and can infect the rest of the litter. The most common parasite to cause coccidiosis in cats is Isospora  felis. Veterinary attention is needed to ease symptoms and rid the cat of the parasitic infestation.

Coccidia are a group of single-celled parasites called “protozoa”. Cats are susceptible to infection from a number of these parasites, including Isospora, Toxoplasma, Sarcocystis, Besnoitia and Hammondia. Coccidia lodge in the intestinal wall and form cysts. Some of these protozoa require more than one host to complete their development. Once inside the body, it can take up to two weeks for the parasites to mature and begin to reproduce. Coccidia are found throughout the world.

Coccidia Average Cost

From 509 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Coccidia in Cats

Kittens may start to show symptoms of coccidiosis from the ages of two weeks to six months. The stress of the weaning process can leave a kitten vulnerable to developing a parasitic infection. Signs to watch for are as follows:

  • Watery diarrhea (may contain blood)
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Uveitis (inflammation of the uvea)
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Causes of Coccidia in Cats

To become infected with coccidia, a cat must come into direct contact with the parasite. Kittens are often exposed to the protozoa from their mother's feces (as adult cats often contain the parasites without showing any symptoms). All known causes of parasite exposure are listed below.

  • Direct contact with infected feces
  • Hunting and eating rodents that contain protozoa in its resting stages
  • Ingesting contaminated soil

Susceptibility is increased in cats with immune deficiencies or who are experiencing stress.

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Diagnosis of Coccidia in Cats

If your cat or kitten begins to exhibit any of the symptoms of coccidiosis, bring it to a veterinary clinic or animal hospital immediately. Be prepared to provide the cat's full medical history, especially if it is an adult cat with immune system issues. The veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination of the cat, watching for known signs of coccidiosis. 

The most common way to diagnose a parasitic infection in a cat is by taking a sample of the cat's feces and sending it for microscopic examination. During this examination, larval or adult coccidia may be identified. As these protozoa are exceptionally small, if a microscopic examination comes back negative, there is no guarantee that your cat or kitten is not infected. Blood work will be run, including a complete blood count and a biochemical profile to assess the cat's overall condition. Certain parasites may also be identified via blood smears. If the infected cat is an adult, feline viruses that negatively affect the immune system, such as feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus, should be tested for. 

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Treatment of Coccidia in Cats

In some kittens or adult cats, coccidiosis may spontaneously go away on its own. In severe cases, both symptomatic and causative treatments may be needed.

Antibiotics 

A course of antibiotics such as Sulfadimethoxine, Trimethoprim-Sulfonamide or Amprolium can stop the coccidia from reproducing. Up to two weeks of oral administration is needed.

Supportive Care 

If the infected cat has become severely dehydrated, hospitalization and intravenous fluids may be needed to stabilize its condition. 

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Recovery of Coccidia in Cats

Be sure to isolate your adult cat or kitten from other cats during antibiotic treatment. Reinfection can easily happen, so extra sanitation measures should be taken. Clean all litter boxes at least once a day. Most coccidia need at least 24 hours outside of a host to infect another animal, so removing feces from the litter daily can prevent the parasites from re-entering your cat. Disinfect the litter boxes weekly using hot water and bleach. 

Take extra care when monitoring the health of kittens to identify cases of coccidiosis before the infection has progressed too far. Test any pregnant cats for protozoa so that kittens may be treated after birth. Most coccidia can not spread to humans. The most common coccidia, I. felis poses no threat to owners. Infections of Toxoplasma or Cryptosporidium may present a small risk to pregnant women and any human who has a suppressed immune system.

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Coccidia Average Cost

From 509 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Coccidia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Kittens name is Sasha other adult cats names are Ivan and Vera

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DOMESTIC

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8 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

I just got a kitten from Petco and she was diagnosed with coccidia . I have 2 other adult cat in the house hold . They have been using the same litter box . I do clean out my litter boxes at least once daily . What are the chances that my adult cat have gotten coccidia ? My problem is that I can't afford to take them both to the vet right now . Is there anything that I can get at the store or on line to treat them ?

Aug. 19, 2018

Kittens name is Sasha other adult cats names are Ivan and Vera's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Many older cats are asymptomatic (don’t show symptoms) and treatment is debated since Coccidiosis may be self limiting; treatment of cats is down to your Veterinarian and if your kitten has been diagnosed you should discuss with your Veterinarian. The article below covers Coccidiosis is in dogs and cats and will give you a better idea. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/digestive-system/coccidiosis/coccidiosis-of-cats-and-dogs

Aug. 19, 2018

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Tinkerbell

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Persian

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

We just sold a 10-week old kitten to a lady who said that when she took the kitten to her vet, she tested positive for coccidia. We have never had this in our cattery before, but now I am worried that we seem to have it. The vet told her it is passed from the mother cat to the kitten. Is this true? She really showed no signs or symptoms other than I noticed she wasn't gaining weight as fast as I thought she should. She seemed to have a good appetite. Her stools seemed good. As a result, should I have all of the cats tested for this? I have a pregnant cat, and she has had at times, blood in her stool. Is it okay to treat her for coccidia if she tests positive and is also pregnant? Her stools appear hard at times, but she is an excellent water drinker.

Aug. 6, 2018

Tinkerbell's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Kittens are not born with Coccidia but may pick it up through contact with the mother’s faeces or from contaminated skin (with faecal matter); you should get the mother at a minimum tested by your Veterinarian and not to allow any other kittens to leave until some faecal samples have been checked and your cats have been treated and the environment cleaned too. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 6, 2018

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Coco & Mouse

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American Short Hair

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4 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Lethargy, Tremors

My kittens were just tested (fecal test) and diagnosed with coccidia. They have been very lethargic and sometimes their legs appear to tremble when standing. They will occasionally get up to play when I engage them in play but they quickly lay down & put their heads down like they are exhausted. Could this behavior be a result of the coccidia infection? My vet is ordering Albon for me to treat them.

July 24, 2018

Coco & Mouse's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If the kittens had a heavy infestation, it can take a lot out of them. Kittens can also have other problems, however, and if you had them examined recently, it would be a good idea to let your veterinarian know that they are not energetic and make sure that they are okay otherwise.

July 25, 2018

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Leila

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Short hair domestic

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16 Months

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Infection

I just got a new rescued kitty and was told she had this infection coccidiosis and she is on 10 days of the antibiotics albon she is almost finished with the medicine, do I bring her back to the vet to see if the infection is gone? The rescue place didn't say what I should do, well they didn't even tell me until I was walking out the door with new kitty.

July 14, 2018

Leila's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

It would be a good idea to have a fecal test done with a veterinarian once the medications are finished to make sure that the Coccidia is gone, yes. I hope that everything goes well for Leila.

July 14, 2018

Thank you, I'm noticing that she is sneezing alot is that from the parasite?

July 14, 2018

Leila's Owner

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Bella

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Shorthair

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4 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting

I recently (3 days ago) adopted 2 kittens from a shelter, one had been treated for coccidia. When I brought her home, she was still having diarrhea and has thrown up twice. My vet gave me a prescription for the diarrhea, but now my second cat has diarrhea and he has thrown up as well. Should I go back to the vet with my second cat? I have also been feeding them wet food once a day, they have free access to their dry food from an automatic feeder. Their throw up looks like they are just throwing up the wet food, should I stop giving the wet food and see if that’s why they are getting sick? Not sure what is wrong with them.

July 10, 2018

Bella's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Diarrhoea in your other cat may be due to a variety of causes including Coccidia, other parasites, infections, stress (new cat in the house), diet among other causes; try to feed a dry food only diet for a day or two to see if there is any improvement and ensure that you’re practicing good hygiene cleaning up faecal material and wiping the affected cat’s anus after each litter tray visit. If there is no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian for a check to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 10, 2018

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Snowy Chinchilla

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Simese

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7 Weeks

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Mucus
No Energy
Lack Of Thist

I found a 6 week old kitten, took him to the vet. Turned out it had coccidia, gave him medicine for a week straight and he was eating and drinking fluids and on the 7th day he passed. If your kittens tummy is big, and has ring patches on his fur, it’s most likely coccidia/ringworm. If you cat has constant diarrhea clean it’s litter every day. My heart is completely crushed. I’ve been wanting a cat for years but because of my husband allergies I wasn’t able to. He just finished his allergy treatment, and I found Snowy Chinchilla on our anniversary. I thought it was a miracle. I wished I could of done more but it’s an awful parasite! If your kitten has this keep him isolated, it’s lethal especially to kittens.

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Marble

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Kitten

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2 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Worms In Stool

On Wednesday I got a new kitten in the afternoon at 2pm I came home took her a quick bath because she had fleas i took her a bath with dawn soap. And the whole afternoon till night she had been walking around the house and she would lay on her bed that I got her aNd she would sleep there but at night before going to bed I put her in her cage the next morning I caught her pooping and that's when I notice she had worms on her stool I got dress and took to the vet she told.me that she has 2 type of parasites tapeworms and coccidia. They gave her medicine a shot and a oral one and vitamins I came back home and place her in a pet play pen to keep her away from the kids and to make sure she get better. They gave me an extra medicine to give her the next day and I did but I'm so paranoid of insects, parasities etc. I was reading alot of coccidia and it says the house can get contaminated when I got back to the house after the vet. I clean the whole house immediately with bleach all the floors move everything around. I have to take her back to the vet in 10 days. I'm just worried about it spreading because of my kids I even threw away the bed she was sleeping in Should I be more precaution?? I know when I take her back to the vet im going to ask them to re check her

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Lino

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domestic medium hair

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14 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Urinating Outside Litterbox
Orange Urine
Pass Wind
Bloating?

We recently adopted a kitten, and after his first vet visit and a fecal analysis, they diagnosed him with coccidia. We were given an albon suspension to give him once everyday for 10 days (I'd provide the mg amount but I'm currently not at home and don't remember it right now) and he seems to be improving; his poop had initially been incredibly watery with a bright yellow color, but now it's become much more solid with brown coloring. It's been about 5 days since we started treatment and now we're dealing with another concern; he passes a lot of foul-smelling gas, and has begun peeing and pooping outside his litter box, which he wasn't doing before even when ill. I thought it might be a side effect of the medication or coccidia in general, but he just does it at random, and after cleaning up another pee accident, it had a liquid brown or orange substance in it. This wasn't a solid color as it sort of swirled around inside. I'm worried it might be blood, but I need to check again to be sure. I plan to visit my vet as soon as I can because I'm worried it's something serious, but I wanted to hear from anyone else if they've had a similar issue? I should also mention that he eats and drinks quite often, though he would drink excessively before we began giving him the albon.

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Josie

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domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

8 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

We rescued a stray that was living under our deck. Took her to the vet shortly after trapping her and other than ear mites, she was given a clean bill of health. She was given de-worming as a precaution but no worms were found in her stool. That night she started with bad diarrhea which we attributed to the de-wormer and vet gave us Tylan powder to mix in her food. After a week with no improvement we insisted on a stool examination and she was diagnosed with coccidia. She was put on Albon, probiotics and special (expensive!) bland food. It’s been 10 days and no improvement and vet extended the Albon treatment. We also have a 2 year old cat and have had the kitten quarantined since we brought her in the house. At first this was to ease into introduction, but now is for fear of transmitting the parasite to our resident cat. The kitten is otherwise healthy...not dehydrated, eats well and loves to cuddle and play. I hate keeping her isolated to one room when she clearly wants to get out and explore her new environment. I’ve read conflicting information on the implications of having the cats interact. Some say strict quarantine during treatment and some say interaction is possible with strict attention to sanitation. Would appreciate an expert opinion.

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Oliver

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dsh

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

I have a cat infected with coccidia and my vet prescribed Albon for 10 days along with metroniazole 10 days. I took my friend's cat to a different vet with a different cat infected with same parasite and this vet only prescribed those two meds for 4 -5 days. Should we be concerned about the course of therapy?

Coccidia Average Cost

From 509 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250