This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

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Coccidiosis is a disease which affects many species of animal, and can have serious health and economic consequences - particularly in groups of animals such as Poultry. Coccidia are microscopic single-celledparasites (called protozoa) that live within cells and are usually found in the intestinal tract.

Different species of coccidia can infect herbivores, birds, lagomorphs (rabbits) and rodents (e.g. Guinea Pigs). Unusual forms of coccidia may be found in cat or dog faeces in which case the coccidial oocysts have been ingested from one of these other species in which case they pass though without causing disease.

Dogs are infected by I.canis, I.ohioensis, I.burrowsi and I.neorivolta.

Cats are infected by I.felis and I rivolta

Guinea Pigs are usually infected with Eimeria caviae

Breed Incidence
There is no breed susceptibility to infection

Diarrhoea is the usual sign associated with coccidial infection, and in severe cases this leads to weight loss, dehydration and sometimes haemorrhage. In some species (e.g. dog and cat) the presence of disease associated with coccidia may be secondary to immune compromise, so a search for an underlying cause should be made.


Coccidia have a sexual and an asexual phase to their lifecycle and sometimes these occur in different host species (as with Sarcocystis), in other cases (e.g. Isospora) both phases occur in the same host. In the case of cats infected with Isospora felis , for example, oocysts may be passed by the cat and reingested by the same or another cat, or they may be ingested by an intermediate host (rodent - mouse) which is subsequently eaten by a cat.

The oocysts shed into the environment are very resistant to freezing

Identification of oocysts in faecal samples using faecal flotation (link to diagnosis/faecal flotation) techniques.


Fluid therapy for dehydration or blood transfusion if necessary for severe blood loss

Treat underlying cause of immune suppression if there is one.

Coccidiostatic drugs - stop their growth.e.g. sulphonamides (e.g. sulphadimidine) , trimethoprim-sulphonamide combinations, nitrofurazone. Amprolium is used by some veterinarians to control outbreaks in kennels (though it is not licensed for use in dogs).

Guinea Pigs - treat with sulphadimidine 2% in drinking water for 7-10 days.

Good basic hygiene. Remove and incinerate faeces daily. Steam cleaning of environment and feeding utensils is needed

Long term problems


Updated January 2016