Cases of Coccidiosis Are on the Rise

January 17, 2020
Cases of coccidiosis are on the rise. But what is it and what steps can you take to prevent, and if necessary, treat it?

If your pet is constantly vomiting or suffering diarrhea, it’s important to rule out coccidiosis. This is a disease caused by coccidia, a parasitic infection that lives in the small intestines of dogs and cats.

The main way that this parasite appears is through contact with fecal matter, where coccidia eggs can be found.

Puppies and kittens are more likely to suffer from this infection because they have a weaker immune system, among other reasons. However, the immune system can also be affected by stress, changes in routine, or other infections.

One way to keep your pet’s defenses strengthened and prevent the formation of coccidia is to make sure that they get the right diet.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of coccidiosis are vomiting and diarrhea, and, in most cases, there will be blood in your pet’s feces. As the disease gets worse, your pet may suffer weight loss, dehydration, and a loss of appetite.

A sick dog lying on the floor.

If you spot these symptoms, it’s important to act quickly to stop things from getting more serious. If left untreated, this condition can even lead to death.

However, in adult dogs and cats, the symptoms aren’t quite so obvious. In fact, animals can live with the internal parasite without it causing any symptoms.

How to detect coccidiosis

  • Coccidia eggs can take between one day and one week to mature once discarded in the feces. After this point, the risk of infection increases
  • For dog owners, the symptoms are the best way to detect the infection. Coccidia parasites are microscopic, so the vet will need to examine your dog’s feces.
  • With adopted pets or pets in care, we recommend periodic examination of feces. Even if the animal shows no symptoms, they could be incubating the parasite.
  • Detecting the disease early helps prevent the infection from spreading to other animals or causing an epidemic. Just like with other diseases and conditions, prevention is always better than treatment.

How to prevent coccidiosis

The main cause of infection is through fecal contact. Just a small amount entering through the animal’s mouth is enough to start an infection.

This normally happens because the area where they play or rest is not completely clean. If the ball they play with has come into contact with feces, then this can be an easy way for a dog to become infected.

This is why it’s important to make hygiene a priority and keep the areas that your dog plays or rests in as clean as possible.

Ultimately, any areas where they usually go to the toilet should be cleaned with disinfectants and you should collect their feces immediately. This way you can keep contamination to a minimum and stop coccidia from reproducing.

Some specialists recommend using dewormers as a preventative method, especially if coccidiosis develops in a litter of puppies. However, don’t give your dog any medication without first seeking guidance from your vet.

A dog receiving a check-up at the vet.

What to do if you suspect coccidiosis

  • First, go to your vet. Treatment can be very simple and consists of a dose of dewormer to halt the parasite.
  • Then, your pet will need to be rehydrated to recover energy and electrolytes. Hospitalization will only be necessary in cases of severe dehydration.
  • When coccidiosis develops in a litter or a group of several animals, infected animals should be isolated straight away. This stops the infection from spreading.
  • If you have a pregnant animal, take samples of their feces to help prevent the infection from spreading to the future offspring.
  • You should keep any place where an animal is going to give birth clean since an early infection could be fatal for newborns.
  • It’s very important to keep taking your animal for regular check-ups and keep them up to date with their deworming. This is especially important when you have more than two dogs or cats living together.