Coccidiosis in Pets
Coccidia is an intestinal protozoan parasite seen in dogs and cats, most commonly seen in young pets under stressful conditions such as in kennel or pet store situations. In fact, low numbers of coccidia are present in the digestive tracts of healthy pets. During periods of growth or stress, these parasites may overgrow causing clinical signs of diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight loss. Transmission may also occur through the feces of affected pets to other nearby animal.
Coccidiosis is most commonly diagnosed by detecting the characteristic eggs on fecal exam. While some pets may develop severe and even bloody diarrhea, treatment is usually highly effective, and most commonly includes drugs of the sulfa class such as Albon. On occasion vets have used Metronidazole, which is also effective in some cases. Most healthy adult pets usually do not have problems with these parasites. If an infection is detected in adult pets, I will usually place these animals on a good source of probiotics and enzymes such as NaturVet Digestive Enzymes to help strengthen the immune system of the gut. .