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What is Coccidia?

Coccidia is a protozoa passed through the stool. An infected canine will eliminate the feces containing the organism into the environment, where it can survive for up to one year. Once the parasite is consumed by your dog, the oocysts (immature coccidia) found in the stool will make their way to the digestive tract, enter the intestinal lining cells, and reproduce. The cells then rupture, releasing the parasite. The coccidia can reproduce very rapidly, thus causing much damage to the intestine.

Coccidiosis is the disease caused by the one-celled organism, coccidia. The organism invades and damages the intestinal wall, causing diarrhea which can become life threatening. Coccidiosis does not always show symptoms but will cause serious complications in puppies (because they have an underdeveloped immune system) and immunosuppressed dogs.

Coccidia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $250 - $500

Average Cost

$300

Symptoms of Coccidia in Dogs

Coccidia can be present in the intestine of your pet and remain asymptomatic. However, once symptoms begin to become evident, your canine family member can become very ill. Take your dog to the clinic without delay if you see any of the following signs.

  • Watery, mucousy diarrhea
  • Explosive diarrhea that may eventually become bloody
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal discomfort and tenderness
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Little or no appetite

It should be noted that puppies and dogs with poor immune systems can eventually die if not treated for coccidiosis.

Types

The coccidia oocyst develops in 3 to 5 days within the intestine and is capable of passing infection. The communicable offspring multiply rapidly, releasing thousand of oocytes in the stool of an infected dog.

  • Isospora canis
  • Isospora neorivolta
  • Isospora ohioensis
  • Isospora burrowsi

Favorable conditions for the coccidia oocyst are moisture, oxygen and proper temperature.

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Causes of Coccidia in Dogs

Though some dogs may not show any ill signs from the coccidiosis, oocysts are still being shed in the feces, which will continue the infectious cycle when passed to canine buddies.

  • Dogs can ingest the coccidia from contaminated soil, and from hunting and eating infected rodents
  • Fecal matter, or food and water that may have been contaminated by fecal matter, will also pass on the oocysts
  • Coccidia is very resistant in the environment, even in freezing conditions
  • Coccidiosis becomes very prevalent in conditions of overcrowding, poor sanitation, and poor nutrition
  • Coccidiosis can be a common occurrence in puppy mills, shelters, and very busy breeding kennels
  • Puppies who are stressed, for example after weaning or leaving the mother, may develop symptoms
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Diagnosis of Coccidia in Dogs

The veterinarian will base the diagnosis on the clinical signs seen when your dog arrives at the clinic, as well as information provided by you. The veterinary team may ask the following questions.

  • What signs have you seen that indicate that your pet is ill?
  • How is his appetite?
  • How long has your dog had diarrhea?
  • Is diarrhea becoming worse?
  • Is there blood present in the stool?
  • Is your dog vomiting?
  • Can you describe his general demeanor of late?

After the physical examination, the veterinarian will test the stool of your pet. Results must be obtained from a sample that is less than 24 hours old, and the freshest sample you can provide is always the best.

A fecal flotation test will be done, whereby the fecal matter is mixed with a solution that causes immature parasites to float to the top. The organisms are then placed on a glass slide and examined under the microscope. The most common form of coccidia organism (Isospora canis) will be easily seen with this diagnostic procedure. The less common types might be seen on a blood test if they are unable to be identified under the microscope.

Puppies and older immunosuppressed dogs may be tested for anemia as this can be a common secondary condition to coccidiosis.

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Treatment of Coccidia in Dogs

It should be noted that if you have a multi-dog family, all canine members should be treated, whether symptomatic or not, to prevent further cases of coccidia or recurrence.

If your pet is very ill when he arrives at the clinic, he may need to be admitted in order to stabilize his condition before treatment, particularly if he is dehydrated or the diarrhea is severe.

If your pet is experiencing a milder case of coccidiosis, he can be treated at home, and will be given medication to kill the parasite. Oral medication is known to be very effective. Antibiotics may be prescribed as well. If necessary, antidiarrheal drugs will be given to aid in your furry family member’s recovery.

The veterinarian will ask you to schedule an appointment for two weeks later, in order to retest for the presence of parasites.

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Recovery of Coccidia in Dogs

Complete the full prescription given to your pet, even if he appears to be feeling better. Never stop medication early, unless there are side effects that are worrying you, in which case you will need to contact your veterinary team. A change of medication could be required.

Be certain to return to the clinic for retesting of the stool, to ensure that the coccidia has been eliminated.

At home, isolate your infected dog until you know he is clear of coccidiosis, to prevent transmission to other canine family members or friends. Clean up the feces in your yard thoroughly and promptly. Disinfect all crates, water bowls, feeding dishes, floors and bedding. It is a good idea to repeat the cleaning process several times while your pet is recovering from the coccidia.

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Coccidia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $250 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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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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Terrier mix

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11 weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool

My pup has coccidia and was on albon suspension 50mg/ml + 1 250 Metron On his re heck after 9 days he still has the bacteria. I gave him 1ml 2x daily. Vet changed to 125mg tab 1x daily. The next day diarrhea is worse. Can't reach vet. I'm panicking. Is this normal or is something else needed.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that he is feeling better and the diarrhea is back under control. Some parasites can be very hard on the GI tract. If he is still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 19, 2020

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Golden Retriever

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Eight Weeks

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

What to do with my dog overnight right now since she has coccidia

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If you have seen your veterinarian and she is taking the medication, her diarrhea should start to resolve, but it can take a day or two. If you have been giving the medication and her diarrhea is not resolving, it would be best to call your veterinarian, let them know that she still has diarrhea, and see what they recommend, as they know more about her history and medications than I do. I hope that all goes well for her!

Aug. 4, 2020

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Pomsky

dog-age-icon

Nine Weeks

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Loose Bowel Movements

Hi! So my puppy is being treated for a parasite and we are on day 3 of the medication however his poop is still loose. It has a shape but looses it when you pick it up and it leaves a mark. Is this ok?

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It can take a while for the intestines to heal after a parasitic problem, and if things are generally getting better, you may be fine to continue to monitor. If more than a few days go by and his stool is not back to normal, then you may want to call your veterinarian, let them know, and see if there are any other medications or probiotics that they might recommend. I hope that all goes well with your puppy.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Sir Lancelot

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Standard Poodle

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3 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Refuses Food (3 Days)
Drinking Very Little Water

My standard poodle has coccidiosis. I was told by my vet to give panazole (not sure of the spelling); however, everything I read the medication is sulfadimethozine. What is your recommendation?

Aug. 23, 2018

Sir Lancelot's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Coccidia are treated by Sulfa drugs, as well as other anti-coccidial medications. If your veterinarian prescribed a medication to treat the Coccidia, it would be best to follow that advice, and contact them if you have any questions. Without knowing what medication has been prescribed, I can't comment on whether it is an appropriate medication.

Aug. 23, 2018

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Phoenix

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Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite

I was wondering if coccidia (or any other illnesses) could cause a false positive on a parvo screening? My two year old golden retriver passed away from an extremely agressive disease that was diagnosed as parvo, but lacked most all other symptoms. We left him with the vet and was told he passed over the weekend (a 48 hr span of when symptoms first appeared) while my four year old black lab also became ill hours after we were told of his brother's passing and we were able to treat him at home with pedialyte and scrambled eggs over a period of four days.

Aug. 22, 2018

Phoenix's Owner

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0 Recommendations

False positives are rare, but it depends on the type of test done as there are a few methods used to diagnose parvo; however the SNAP parvo test (commonly used test) doesn’t cross react with any other pathogen and doesn’t react in recently vaccinated dogs either. I cannot say whether there was parvo or if the cause of death was due to another cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.idexx.eu/globalassets/documents/products--solutions/pet-side/snap-parvo/snap-parvo-test-faqs.pdf

Aug. 23, 2018

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Micco

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Shepherd

dog-age-icon

8 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lack Of Appetite
Sleepiness

I picked up an 8 week old puppy 3 days ago. Took him to vet 2 days ago, stool sample came back negative. Vet believed stress and the breeder gave him wormer on empty stomach. Yesterday I was contacted by breeder puppies in litter have coccidia/ oocysts. Can a dog on sulfa drug test neg and still have coccidia. He still has symptoms.

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Puppy Litter

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Poodle and Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

7 Weeks

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic, Not Eating, Not Drinking

We have a litter of 5 - seven week old puppies that have been diagnosed with Coccidia by our Vet. He prescribed them Marquees and Albon but unfortunately 2 have passed away and two of the others do not look good. There acting lethargic and do not want to drink or eat. My wife has been giving them fluids and puppy formula. What else can we do to help them? Is there anything else that we can give or do for them? Someone said that pedilight might help, Is this safe?

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Cici

dog-breed-icon

Puggle

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My 3-year-old pug mix Cici has severe diarrhea for about 48-hours until we took her to the vet. At the vet, her stool sample tested positive for Coccidia. She was given fluids to help with hydration as well as put on a strict diet of white rice and boiled chicken with probiotics (FortiFlora) as well as being prescribed Albon, Endosorb, and Metronidazole. The following two days resulted in no more diarrhea and solid, but still mucus-y stools. However, on day three, we’re back to consistently wet stools despite the fact there’s no diarrhea. She still has one day left of the Albon and Metronidazole, but we’re at a loss of where to proceed from here.

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Diesel

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Labrador Retriever bird mix

dog-age-icon

2 Months

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, Vomiting, Lethargic

My puppy Diesel is about 2 months old, within the 2 weeks of having him he seemed to go downhill. He's vomiting clear liquid and he has explosive bloody diarrhea, so I took him to the Vet and he came back positive for Coccida. So they gave him medicine for nausea and the parasites. And we gave him his medicine, but he's not improving, he won't eat, he sleeps all day, he drinks water, and uses the bathroom. But no improvement at all.

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Cocoa

dog-breed-icon

Hava-shih-poo

dog-age-icon

10 Weeks

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

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Dehydration

Our puppy turned 10 weeks old yesterday and we've had her for 3 weeks. She has been doing well, gaining weight and is normally very active. Last night she fell asleep about 7-7:30 (normal for her) and was put to bed. Sometime during the night she had watery diarrhea on her puppy pad and was very lethargic this morning. She is normally very feisty in the mornings, but she only wanted to curl up and go back to sleep. We took her to the vet. She tested negative for Parvo, but they can't figure out what is wrong with her. She won't eat and they have been giving her fluids for several hours, along with an antibiotic and nausea medicine. She has shown no improvement. They said they need to keep her for a few days to continue the fluids and IV medication. She lives with three cats and an adult dog. There are also chickens on the property, but they are in a coop/run and she has no access to them. She only spends a short time outside, and it's always supervised. I think her symptoms sound a lot like Coccidia, but they cannot get enough of a stool sample to test for anything. The vet said they are not sure she's going to make it. Would it have taken 3 weeks for symptoms to show if she had been exposed to the parasite before we got her? We will be devastated if we lose her. We just lost our 3-year old Shih-poo the beginning of September. She is Havanese, Shihtzu & Toy Poodle and weighs about 3 1/2 lbs.

Coccidia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $250 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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