Intestinal Parasite (Coccidia) in Dogs

Coccidiosis in Dogs

 

Coccidiosis is a parasitic type of infection, caused by the coccidium, that most commonly causes watery, mucus-based diarrhea in dogs. If it is not treated, over time it can cause damage to the lining of the dog's intestinal tract. With treatment, the prognosis is good.

 

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

You may notice that the dog has watery, mucous-like diarrhea. As the condition progresses, bloody diarrhea and an inability to withhold it will begin to show. The dog may also be in a weakened state.

 

Causes

 

Stress, as from moving, travel and weather changes, and being in an environment with other infected animals are the most common causes of this parasitic infection to develop. It is spread through fecal matter, and is most commonly found in puppies that have contracted the parasite from an adult dogs' feces. The coccidiosis infection is of particular danger for young dogs, since their immune systems are still underdeveloped.

 

Diagnosis

 

A fecal examination is the most common method of diagnosis for this infection. The coccidium parasite will be readily visible under a microscope.