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Coccidiosis in Dogs

Posted October 23, 2011 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Overview
Coccidiosis is a disease caused by the tiny, single-cell pests, coccidia. These parasites can live in the wall of your dog’s intestines. They are most common in puppies, but can still infect older dogs and cats, as well. Our canine friends can become infected by swallowing dirt or other things in an environment that is contaminated with coccidia-infected feces.

To learn more about coccidia, visit http://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/coccidia.html.

SymptomsIf your dog is infected with coccidia, the symptoms can vary. In adult dogs, there may be no signs of infection, while in puppies the symptoms can be more serious. The most common symptom is diarrhea; in severe situations, the diarrhea can be accompanied by blood in the stool.

Diagnosis/Treatment
The good news is that coccidiosis is a very treatable condition. The coccidia parasites are often identified microscopically in your dog’s feces. Because these little pests are not visible to the naked eye, your veterinarian may recommend treatment for coccidiosis even if the parasite is not found in your dog’s stool. Additionally, if your pooch is plagued with diarrhea as a side-effect of the coccidiosis infection, your veterinarian may recommend supportive care to get the diarrhea under control.

Treatment for coccidiosis often includes oral antibiotics called sulfonamides, which control the parasites causing harm in your dog’s digestive tract. Following all recommendations from your veterinarian regarding the administration of medications is very important to effectively treat your pet for coccidiosis.

Prevention
You can help prevent a coccidia infection by keeping your yard clean of feces and reducing your dog’s exposure to possibly infected feces. If your pooch is a “Hoover,” eating first and asking questions later, keep a special eye on him in public places. If you adopt a new pet, have a fecal sample examined immediately to rule out a parasitic infection, and keep infected pets away from those who are not!

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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