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Coccidia

Posted on February 21, 2011 at 12:22 PM

"Coccidia"

Coccidia (pronounciation: kok-SID'-ee-uh)

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If your little fur baby has been diagnosed with Coccidiosis you may be wondering what is Coccidia and how and when did my dog get this disease? But don't worry, Coccidiosis is a fairly common disease, especially in puppies and is treatable.

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What are Coccidia?

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Coccidia are singel-celled parasites (protozoans) that live in the intestinal tracts of dogs and cats. These parasites are not visible to the naked eye. There are actually several different species of Coccidia which are found not only in dogs and cats but also in other animals such as rodents and rabbits. The most common species of Coccidia found in dogs are called Isospora canis and I. ohioensis. Regardless of which species is present, vets generally refer to the disease as Coccidiosis.

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Coccidiosis is a very contagious disease. The incubation period (the time between exposure and symptoms appearing) is about 2 weeks. It's more most commonly seen in puppies less than 6 months of age who haven't had time to build up any immunity. Some healthy adult dogs may also be infected with Coccidia and not show any signs at all. These dogs are known as "carriers" of coccidiosis. Meaning they have coccidia protozoa in their intestines and pass them into the enviroment in their stools.

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How did my puppy get Coccidiosis?

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No puppy is born with Coccidia organisms in their intestine. They must come into contact with it after birth to contract this disease. Once puppies are born they are frequently exposed to their mother's feces. If the mother happens to be shedding the infective cysts in her feces, then the young puppies will likely ingest them and Coccidia will develop within the young pups intestines. All your puppy has to do to become infected is lick his contaminated paws or fur and he will become infected. Coccidia can also be tramsmitted through infected soil. Since these young puppies have no immunity to coccidia, the organisims reproduce in great numbers and parasitize the young pups intestines. And remember, if one puppy has this disease then all puppies exposed to your pup will have it. It is highly contagious and entire kennels may easily become contaminated.

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What are the Symptoms?

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The most noticeable symptom of Coccidia in puppies and dogs are repeated episodes of diarrhea. This will most likely be the first symptom you will see. The diarrhea can range from mild to severe depending on the severity of the initial infection. Coccidia organisms multiply very rapidly causing the infection to get worse very quickly. The diarrhea will usually be watery and bloody and in some cases contain mucus. Puppies with Coccidiosis are at risk of becoming dehydrated pretty quickly. This disease can be fatal in young puppies if left untreated. Cases of death are most common in puppies who are already ill or infected with parasites, bacteria, or viruses.

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Other symptoms of Coccidia include:

*Vomiting

*Weight Loss

*Lethargy

*Loss of appetite

*In advanced/severe cases seizures may occur

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Treament

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Coccidiosis can be diagnosed by your veteranarian by examining a fecal sample from your puppy under a microscope. Fortunately, this disease is treatable with sulfa-based drugs such as Albon (sulfadimethoxine) or Tribrissen (trimethoprimsulfadiazine). (Note: Sulfa-based drugs aren't recommended for use in pregnant dogs as they can cause birth defects in puppies.) These drugs have been effective in treatment and prevention of Coccidiosis. It is possible in some cases early on in the infection for test results to come back negative. This occurs simply because at the time of the fecal exam, there hadn't been enough coccidia protozoa eggs shed yet. It may take one to two more tests over the next few days for an accurate diagnosis.

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Once your puppy has been diagnosed with Coccidiosis, your vet will prescribe the Albon or Tribessen. These medications do not actually kill the Coccidia protozoa, but instead stop them from breeding and reproducing. By stopping the protozoa's ability to reproduce, time is allowed for the puppies own imunnity to develop and remove the organisms. The antibiotics will need to be taken over a period of time anywhere from one to seven weeks to insure that all organisms have died out. In some cases more that one treatment is needed. And in some severe cases, additional supportive veteranary care will be needed. This extra care may include hospitalization and IV fluids.

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Preventing Reinfection

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Since Coccidiosis is spread through feces, practicing good hygeine will be very important to limit the spread of this disease. Always pick up your dogs feces immediately and clean all areas thoroughly. Coccidia are very difficult to kill, and most household cleaners are not effective. Cleaning at high temperatures such as steam cleaning and immersion in boiling water is a great option for cleaning food bowls, toys, etc. Always wash bedding using hot water with bleach added. For your floors, use a 10% ammonia solution to keep everything sanitary. If you do not have ammonia available, you can use a 1 part bleach to 16 parts water solution. Wash all areas thoroughly and leave the solution on to soak for at least 20 minutes before rinsing. Use the same soaks for grassy/dirt areas. You may want repeat the soak again seeing as Coccidia are very hard to remove from dirt. These surfaces can remain contaminated for up to 2 months or longer. The strains of Coccidia effecting dogs aren't transferable to humans, but you should always keep areas sanitary and practice good hygeine. Also keep in mind that bugs such as cockroaches and flies can mechanically carry Coccidia from one place to another. Mice and other animals can ingest the Coccidia and when killed can infect your dog if eaten. So keep insect and rodents under control in your household.

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Natural Remedies

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There are also a few natural dog remedies that can help to soothe your dogs digestive tract and re-balance bacteria and reduce inflammation. Used in conjunction with the treatment prescribed by your vet they can help speed up recovery and get your pup feeling better, faster.

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Here are a couple of excellent natural products for dogs that you may want to try....

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Only Natural Pet Probiotic Blend for Dogs and Cats A gentle formula that helps restore the balance of microbes in your pets' digestive tract. Provides "friendly" bacteria to help minimize inflammatory responses and other GI distress symptoms.

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Only Natural Pet GI Support for Dogs and Cats This soothing product aids digestion, and is especially good for dogs suffering from dog food allergies or sensitivities. Helps reduce symptoms that accompany many canine digestive disorders such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and more.

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NOTE: Do remember to let your veteranarian know about any natural or over-the-counter products you are giving your dog. Your vet needs to know these details in order to give your puppy the best possible care.

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Home Remedies

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Below is an excellent alternative and affordable option to treating Coccidiosis in dogs.

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For those of you who might not be able to afford vet care or who just have a lot of dogs to treat with Coccidisis, there is an alternative option. There is a product called Sulfadimethoxine 12 1/2% solution, which is generic Albon. This can be obtained without a prescription and for a fraction of the cost. The active ingrediants in this solution per each fluid ounce are: 3.75 grams Sulfadimethoxine solubilized with sodium hydroxide. You can buy one-gallon sized jugs of the Sulfadimethoxine 12 1/2% solution (generic Albon) for around $40 per gallon. This single one-gallon jug is enough antibiotic to medicate an entire huge kennel of small breed dogs for several months or even years.

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Sulfadimethoxine 12 1/2% solution combined with Dyne High Calorie Supplement is the same 5% Albon solution you would get from your vet. You can purchase the Dyne High Calorie Supplement (a liquid nutritional supplement) for around $34. The Dyne High Calorie supplement is formulated to provide a nutrient dense liquid diet with essential vitamins and has a high caloric value. Using this product will expidite the rate of recovery of weak and sick animals. You can also give this supplement (diluted with milk) to animals unable to eat solid foods.

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To make the 5% Albon solution like the one you get from the vet you: Mix 5 ounces of Dyne High Calorie supplement with 4 ounces of the Sulfadimethoxine 12 1/2% solution. This will give you a palatable mixture of the 5% Albon (RX) at an 85% or higher savings without the required prescription or even the expense of a vet exam. Albon is a pretty expensive treatment if bought at your veteranary office, costing most around $75 or more a pint. So, you can either pay $75 per pint for 5% Albon at your local vet or pay $75 for 2 whole gallons of 5% Albon by making it yourself. It's completely up to you which route you choose, but I just wanted to educate others of this other less inexspensive option.

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If you decide to make your own, here are the dosing instructions:

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(Note: Each teaspoon full (5 ml) will contain 250 mg of Sulfadimethoxine.)

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5 ml for every 10 lb. of body weight as an initial dose

Follow with 2.5 ml per 10 lb. body weight once daily thereafter for a total of 10 days.

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You can administer this solution orally or it can be given with food or water.

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And that's it! Hopefully I have provided you with enough information on Coccidiosis to help you know when and how you should treat your puppy/dog. If anyone ever has any questions, feel free to comment this blog and I will answer your question as soon as possible.

 

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12 Comments

Reply Lisa
8:49 PM on March 31, 2014 
Becky says...
We lost several puppies out of boxer litter. After having the rest of puppies vet checked, he said the puppies had coccidiocide. Do you think this could be why we lost several of the puppies. They looked very healthy but just started dying. Should we have be treating the Mom before they were born?



It really depends on how old the puppies were when they died. If they were older puppies then it is very likely that is was the Coccidiosis that killed them. They can contract it from the mother and usually if one of your dogs has it then they all will have it. Coccidia is mostly spread through feces. Were they dewormed regularly? It's best to deworm at 2,3,4,6 & 8 weeks of age. Worms can cause them to appear healthy but then die suddenly. Hold old were they?....and I'll be able to better answer what the probable cause of death was.
Reply Lisa
8:48 PM on March 31, 2014 
Becky says...
We lost several puppies out of boxer litter. After having the rest of puppies vet checked, he said the puppies had coccidiocide. Do you think this could be why we lost several of the puppies. They looked very healthy but just started dying. Should we have be treating the Mom before they were born?

It really depends on how old the puppies were when they died. If they were older puppies then it is very likely that is was the Coccidiosis that killed them. They can contract it from the mother and usually if one of your dogs has it then they all will have it. Coccidia is mostly spread through feces. Were they dewormed regularly? It's best to deworm at 2,3,4,6 & 8 weeks of age. Worms can cause them to appear healthy but then die suddenly. Hold old were they?....and I'll be able to better answer what the probable cause of death was.
Reply Becky
8:38 PM on March 31, 2014 
We lost several puppies out of boxer litter. After having the rest of puppies vet checked, he said the puppies had coccidiocide. Do you think this could be why we lost several of the puppies. They looked very healthy but just started dying. Should we have be treating the Mom before they were born?
Reply autumn
9:13 PM on April 29, 2013 
hello, I have a couple Chihuahuas and I was going to get a great dane and that day she came down with coccidius. she is being treated but we are unsure about getting her now because even after she is treated isn't it still carried through the feces? will our Chihuahuas get it? how long does it take before it is completely out of their system and they can be around other dogs? thank you
Reply Lisa
8:49 PM on June 24, 2012 
LIZ says...
I have two puppies that I got from a guy that I know.... I have bought two other puppies from him. Both of the other puppies had cocidia, well now you know these two tiny puppies have it. I really don't have the money to take them to a vet... I took these ones as a favor... now I don't want two dead puppies on my hand... So here it is they are like a week old and to top it off they are chihuahuas so please email me back soon please thank you...



Yes, usually if you have one puppy that has Coccidia then they will all have it. It is very contagious. If you are on a budget, I recommend buying the Sulfadimethoxine 12 1/2% solution, which is generic Albon. It however is still $40 a gallon but will last you forever. Or you can tryu just calling your vet and asking them for some Albon which in some vets is around $10 (I think) for a small bottle. Some vets will let you buy it without having to have an exam. If there's anything else I can help you out with let me know.
Reply Lisa
8:42 PM on June 24, 2012 
knappspreciouspups says...
[jacki knapp]
We had one puppy come down with it, but she has been treated. We aren't seeing signs of it in any of the others, but want to use it as a preventative. The puppy that had it came down with it quick and if it weren't for the swift action of our local ER Vet we would have lost her in a matter of two days after onset. Thanks so much for creating this site! It has been a "go-to" of sorts for us!


Just saw your comment.....Thank you :) I'm so glad my site has been helpful to you. If you ever have any other questions I can help you out with please feel free to ask.
Reply LIZ
6:53 PM on June 24, 2012 
I have two puppies that I got from a guy that I know.... I have bought two other puppies from him. Both of the other puppies had cocidia, well now you know these two tiny puppies have it. I really don't have the money to take them to a vet... I took these ones as a favor... now I don't want two dead puppies on my hand... So here it is they are like a week old and to top it off they are chihuahuas so please email me back soon please thank you...
Reply knappspreciouspups
7:23 AM on May 17, 2012 
[jacki knapp]
We had one puppy come down with it, but she has been treated. We aren't seeing signs of it in any of the others, but want to use it as a preventative. The puppy that had it came down with it quick and if it weren't for the swift action of our local ER Vet we would have lost her in a matter of two days after onset. Thanks so much for creating this site! It has been a "go-to" of sorts for us!
Reply Lisa
9:20 PM on May 16, 2012 
Linda says...
Do you have a dosing schedule for puppies?
I breed shih tzus so I have 2-3 lbs puppies.



Sorry for the late reply. For small puppies around 2-3 lbs. I would recommend a dose of 1.25 ml as the initial dose and the .75 ml each dose thereafter for 10 days.
Reply Lisa
9:17 PM on May 16, 2012 
jacki knapp says...
how much 12,5 by it self would I in with drinking water to help prevent further out brakes like with puppies. we would be devistated if anything happened to our pups we are new breeders and we are trying to do everything right our dogs our like our kids. we are breeding poms boston terriers and buggs (boston-pug mix)


For a preventative, I use 2.5 ml in a regular sized drinking bowl of water for my little ones. I will have to look though my notes to find the exact ammount that is recommended. Are you using your on small pups or adult dogs and are they already infected or are you just wanting to use this as a preventative?
Reply jacki knapp
5:39 PM on May 16, 2012 
how much 12,5 by it self would I in with drinking water to help prevent further out brakes like with puppies. we would be devistated if anything happened to our pups we are new breeders and we are trying to do everything right our dogs our like our kids. we are breeding poms boston terriers and buggs (boston-pug mix)
Reply Linda
5:46 PM on April 30, 2012 
Do you have a dosing schedule for puppies?
I breed shih tzus so I have 2-3 lbs puppies.