Coccidiosis In Dogs

Definition of Coccidiosis

It is an infection of the Gastro-intestinal tract, caused by the Isospora species of protozoancalled Coccidia. There are four genera of Coccidia protozoan which can cause severe harm to our canine friends.

These different genera are:


Isospora Canis



Cats and dogs are the definitive hosts of some of these organisms. These species spend a part of their life on the lining of the intestine. Most of the infections don't have an interpretive sign. This beforemetioned type of  infections are Sub-clinical infections. Isospora Canis causes most of the infections in the dogs. Cryptosporidium parvum is another type of Coccidia parasites which causes sudden Diarrhea cases.

Some facts about Coccidia and Coccidiosis

1.Some puppies can have an infection of  Coccidia with consequences like Diarhhea or even sudden death. In some cases, the dog may not show any sign of this disease.

2.Canines often get this infection from getting in contact with the infected soil or dog feces.

3.The vet can diagnose and treat the dog with this disease.

So, are Coccidia parasites harmful for humans?

The commonly found coccidia parasites cannot cause any harm to the humans. But the less common types are quite harmful to the human race. A type, with the name of Cryptosporidium can affect humans severely and are frequntly there in cats and canines. Civic people often get these type of parasites in the water supply of the cities. These parasites can be very harmful, especially to those who are immune-depressed, such as AIDS patients, Cancer patients, and the senior citizens.

Signs and symptoms

While suffering from this condition, an adult dog may not show any signs of this disease, but the young pups can dispose of some minor symptoms of this disease. It is quite common that some dogs may dispose signs of major Diarhhea, and if not treated in time, the animal may also die eventually.


Tests are done through a microscopic fecal examination. Since immature Coccidias are much smaller than the eggs of the worms, a thorough investigation is done by zinc sulfate solution. Another way of diagnosis is through a blood test.


Most of the cases need minimum intervention and are self-limiting. The most common drug which the vet prescribes is sulfadimethoxine, a sulfa-type drug. Using the drug for nearly twenty days is the norm. In some cases, the vet may also increase the duration of this drug. The vet may also prescribe some other drugs to relax symptoms like diarrhea and dehydration. If sulfa drugs do not work, other treatments are available. Re-infection is common in some dogs, so the owner has to make sure that the entire environment is infection free.

Immature Coccidias are to some extent resistant to environment disinfectant and conditions. The use of diluted chlorine bleach can be efficient to disinfectant the surface of the household. Steam cleaning may also help to get rid of the Oocysts or immature  Coccidia.


Removing feces of dogs from the surrounding environment will be the best protection from Coccidia. These organisms are mostly found in puppies, so pups needs an occasional test. The vet can also conduct a fecal analysis of the dog.

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