Coccidia are small protozoans (one-celled organisms) that reside in the digestive tracts of dogs and felines. They cause disease most typically in puppies and kittens less than 6 months of age, in adult animals whose immune system is reduced, or in animals who are stressed in other methods (e.g.; change in ownership, other disease present).
In dogs and cats, a lot of coccidia are of the genus called Isospora. Isospora canis and I. ohioensis are the types most often come across in dogs. Despite which types exists, we usually refer to the disease as coccidiosis. As a puppy ages, he has the tendency to establish a natural immunity to the impacts of coccidia. As an adult, he might bring coccidia in his intestinal tracts, and shed the cyst in the feces, but experience no ill effects.
Coccidiosis: Treatment for Coccidia in Dogs
How are coccidia transmitted?
A young puppy is not born with the coccidia organisms in his intestine. Nevertheless, as soon as born, the young puppy is frequently exposed to his mom’s feces, and if the mother is shedding the infective cysts in her feces, then the young animals will likely ingest them and coccidia will establish within the young animal’s intestinal tracts. Considering that young puppies, typically those less than 6 months of age, have no immunity to coccidia, the organisms replicate in great numbers and parasitize the young animal’s intestinal tracts. Frequently, this has severe results.
From direct exposure to the coccidia in feces to the beginning of the health problem is about 13 days. A lot of young puppies who are ill from coccidia are, therefore, two weeks of age and older. Although the majority of infections are the outcome of spread from the mother, this is not always the case. Any infected puppy or kitten is contagious to other puppies or kittycats. In breeding facilities, shelters, animal hospitals, and so on, it is wise to separate those infected from those that are not.
What are the symptoms of coccidiosis?
The primary sign of an animal suffering with coccidiosis is diarrhea. The diarrhea may be mild to severe depending upon the level of infection. Blood and mucous might exist, especially in sophisticated cases. Significantly impacted animals may also vomit, lose their cravings, end up being dehydrated, and in some circumstances, die from the disease.
The majority of infected pups encountered by the authors are in the four to twelve week age group. The possibility of coccidiosis ought to always be considered when a loose stool or diarrhea is experienced in this age. A microscopic fecal exam by a vet will find the cysts verifying a medical diagnosis.
It needs to be mentioned that stress plays a role in the advancement of coccidiosis. It is not uncommon for an apparently healthy puppy to get to his new home and establish diarrhea a number of days later resulting in a medical diagnosis of coccidia. If the pup has been at the new home for less than thirteen days, then he had coccidia before he arrived. Remember, the incubation duration (from direct exposure to disease) is about thirteen days. If the puppy has actually been with his brand-new owner a number of weeks, then the exposure to coccidia more than likely happened after the animal arrived at the new home.
What are the risks?
Although numerous cases are mild, it is not uncommon to see severe, bloody diarrhea lead to dehydration and even death. This is most common in animals who are ill or infected with other parasites, bacteria, or infections. Coccidiosis is really contagious, particularly among young pups. Entire kennels may end up being infected, with young puppies of numerous age groups simultaneously impacted.
What is the treatment of coccidiosis?
Thankfully, coccidiosis is treatable. Drugs such as sulfadimethoxine (Albon ® )and trimethoprim-sulfadiazine (Tribrissen ®) have been effective in the treatment and prevention of coccidia. Due to the fact that these drugs do not eliminate the organisms, but rather prevent their recreation capabilities, elimination of coccidia from the intestine is not fast. By stopping the capability of the protozoa to recreate, time is permitted the pup’s own resistance to establish and eliminate the organisms. Drug treatments of one to 3 weeks are generally needed.
How is coccidiosis prevented or managed?
Since coccidia is spread out by the feces of carrier animals, it is crucial to practice stringent sanitation. All fecal material must be gotten rid of. Real estate has to be such that food and water can not become polluted with feces. Tidy water needs to be provided at all times. The majority of disinfectants do not work well against coccidia; incineration of the feces, and steam cleaning, immersion in boiling water, or a 10% ammonia service are the best approaches to eliminate coccidia. Coccidia can endure freezing.
Cockroaches and flies can mechanically bring coccidia from one location to another. Mice and other animals can ingest the coccidia and when eliminated and eaten by a dog, for instance, can contaminate the dog. Therefore, pest and rodent control is extremely important in preventing coccidiosis.
The coccidia types of dogs and felines do not contaminate humans.
Also read: Giardia in Dogs