Posts Tagged ‘pet stores’

Hot on the heels of the recent spate of Hookworm cases, comes Coccidiosis, an intestinal infestation by the parasite coccidia.

Eye-shaped coccidia "egg" called an oocyst.

Eye-shaped coccidia “egg” called an oocyst.

Coccidiae are a protozoan parasite, so they cannot be killed through the worming medications that most pets receive as pups and kittens. Coccidiosis cannot be prevented through heartworm medications, either. For this reason, we always recommend fecal analysis, even for pets that have been wormed previously.

We commonly find coccidiae in pets that have come from a shelter, kennel or “puppy mill,” or pet store. In those situations, multiple animals may be housed together, making the spread of feces-borne parasites more likely. A high level of sanitation is required to prevent transmission of this microscopic parasite, and not all facilities are up to the task. 

Multiple coccidia oocysts clearly visible on the slide. Click to enlarge.

Multiple coccidia oocysts clearly visible on the slide. Click to enlarge.

Coccidiae are also found in the environment, so pets that spend time outdoors may come across objects contaminated with infected feces or consume small animals (such as rodents) infected with coccidiae.

Left untreated, the disease can cause intermittent diarrhea, weight loss, dehydration, and intestinal bleeding. In severe cases, pets may progress to vomiting, depression, refusal to eat, and even death.

When caught early, before severe symptoms appear, Coccidiosis is treated with a multi-week course of medication. Hospitalization may be necessary in more advanced cases, however. Pets can have recurrent cases of Coccidiosis, so vigilance is key.

This article is not intended to diagnose or direct treatment of any illness or disease. When in doubt, take your pet to the vet!

 All photos by Jennifer Miele at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

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