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Coccidia

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Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
crbeagles@gmail.com
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
Bedford, Iowa
Click here for additional contact information.

Our premises are monitored via video surveillance for your puppy's safety!

 

Liability Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, and do not wish for you to use this information to diagnose a problem. Instead, it is offered as "food for thought" for responsible and educated dog owners.

Pronunciation: (cock sid' ee uh)

What is it?: Coccidia is a protozoa that causes diarrhea in puppies and that occurs usually when they are stressed. We have seen it every now and then when we wean and when puppies go to new homes, although with our recent care program, it has become rare here, thankfully!

What Causes the Symptoms? About 60% of all puppies have coccidia parasite in their digestive systems.  Many puppies are never physically affected by this protozoa.  Stress (such as when a puppy leaves its littermates for a new home) can cause the coccidia to flourish, and this can lead to diarrhea. In extreme cases, the puppy can get severely dehydrated, so it's best to just medicate preventatively in our opinion. We have a strict regimen of prevention while puppies are here.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Like most people that raise puppies and that have educated themselves, we treat preventatively for coccidia because it is very hard to avoid having on the property. In fact, I've seen references that indicate that ALL kennels have coccidia.

It can be carried by bugs (especially flies), rabbits, mice, cats, dogs, and other animals. So, when dogs and puppies play in the yard, they can pick up the oocytes. Since we don't believe in keeping puppies in little above-the-ground cages 24 hours per day and 7 days per week (that would not be fun for them OR for us), we know they will be exposed. Yours will too, when you allow him or her to walk on grass in your yard or at parks. 

Preventive Treatment: We treat preventatively at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks with 1/4th  cc of Ponazuril (Bayer) per 5 lbs of puppy weight, which is actually an anti-protozoal medicine for horses that have EPM. It is very expensive to buy, so most people don't use it. A similar medication might be Toltrazuril (Bayer's Baycox), which I have not tried. I have also seen a reference to treat puppies at day 4, then 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 weeks of age.

Another option is daily Albon or daily Corid for 10 days, which is also very cheap but much more work. Some people use Corid for 21 days.

Common Treatments and Preventions:

Albon Inexpensive

Corid Inexpensive

Ponazuril Very expensive, but works well for us!

Baycox Very Expensive
May not be available in US yet

Note To Dog Breeders:
I'm getting a lot of inquiries from dog breeders who see this web page, and whose vets will not give them a prescription for Ponazuril. Please don't call me, as I am NOT a veterinarian and can't give you a prescription.

This is all I can tell you to help:

  • Number 1: The cost is about $200+ for a tube of Ponazuril. A cheaper solution for you is to spend $15 on Albon or Corid (or generic equivalents) from Lambriar Vet Supply or other company. As with all medications, follow your veterinarian's dosage recommendations!  Resistance to Albon is occurring, probably because of improper usage (not giving it long enough, not giving correct dosage, etc.)

  • Number 2: At this time, a prescription is needed before you can obtain Ponazuril.  Here is a study you can show your vet (abstract only) if he/she has not heard of this. Cornell has a short info page with dosages here. If you can't get a prescription from YOUR veterinarian, contact local shelters to see if they can refer you to a veterinarian that is familiar with it and who writes their prescriptions.

  • Number 3: Ponazuril may or may not cure active infections. I've seen this both ways: Some studies report that Ponazuril is not an effective treatment for puppies that HAVE an active, symptomatic case of coccidia. They say it is a preventive treatment that works if used following the schedule on this page or one from your veterinarian. Other studies say it can be used to treat active infections, especially if given 3 days in a row.

  • Number 4: Prevention is the best medicine. Some references indicate that treating puppies at 3 days, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks and 10 weeks with Ponazuril will rid puppies of coccidia and prevent later outbreaks. Another study reportedly recommends a 13-day interval due to the life cycle of coccidia being less than 14 days.

  • Rabbit, dog, mice, and many other animal breeders and pet shelters are using Ponazuril for coccidia and toxoplasmosis.

  • Your vet may require you to buy 4 tubes for $800. Still want to use it? Get a prescription and get one tube only (about $200) from this location. Here is another location that will sell one tube at a time: 1-859-246-0112  vet@riddlepharmacy   info@rrvp.com

  • Breeders: Please don't call me to ask about Ponazuril, and it would be nice if you wouldn't e-mail. I've offered what I know here on this page. I am not a vet, and can not give the necessary prescription to you. More information is published online frequently about the use and effectiveness of Ponazuril, so my page is possibly already out of date. I can't give any of my medicine to you. There's nothing I can do to help you get it. You simply must ask your veterinarian for a prescription. I'm sorry to sound mean, but as I'm getting multiple phone calls and e-mails per week and spending too much of my time trying to explain this, I hope to avoid that wasted time by placing this message here.

Non-Medicinal Treatments for Diarrhea:

If your puppy has liquid/water consistency to stools, and not solid or pudding type stools, it's time to contact a vet. Liquid stools are a sign of bad diarrhea, and could lead very quickly to dehydration. Dehydration can lead to death. So, totally liquid stools are not to be taken lightly. See or contact a vet.

But for "soft" stools, there "usually" is not a danger to the puppy requiring a vet trip. If you had soft stools, would you go to the doctor? If a puppy has "soft" stools, with a consistency like pudding, as long as the puppy is drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, the concern is much, much less.

Remember, I am not a vet and don't recommend anything. These are just things we've tried or heard of. These ideas might not fix the problem if the cause is a protozoa, but they can help control diarrhea in general:

  • Plain or vanilla yogurt (with cultures). Can mix with a little cottage cheese.
  • Buttermilk (with active cultures).
  • Pepto Bismol (2 to 4 times daily for a couple days, 1 cc to 3 cc's each time, depending upon puppy's size...I have heard 1 tsp per 10 lbs is also a common dosage). Or, crush a Pepto (or generic equivalent) tablet and mix with canned dog food. Along with this, you can offer Pedialyte to help prevent dehydration.
  • Herbs for diarrhea (we've never used these, but an example is here).
  • Fasting. For early diarrhea signs, you might withhold solid food for a day. For small puppies, do NOT withhold water. In fact, for small puppies, I don't recommend fasting. But for a 6 month old puppy, it can help to withhold food for a day, and then just offer the bland food in the next bulleted item.
  • Bland diet: rice flavored by boiled chicken for two days (bland foods). Boil rice with a chicken breast for 20 mins (1 c rice, 2 c water, 1 chicken breast). Feed only the rice for two days. On day three, offer some of the chicken breast.  If diarrhea goes away, slowly return to regular dog food.
  • Canned pumpkin
  • New treatment I will be looking into in order to include it here...at this time, I have only heard of it, but have not tried it: Platinum Biosponge

More about coccidia, from wikipedia.com:

People often first encounter coccidia when they acquire a young puppy who is infected. The infectious organisms are canine-specific and are not contagious to humans.

Young puppies are frequently infected with coccidia and often develop active Coccidiosis -- even puppies obtained from diligent professional breeders. Infected puppies almost always have received the parasite from their mother's feces. Typically, healthy adult animals shedding the parasite's oocysts in their feces will be asymptomatic due to their developed immune systems. However, undeveloped immune systems make puppies more susceptible. Further, stressors such as new owners, travel, weather changes, and unsanitary conditions are believed to activate infections in susceptible animals.

Symptoms in young dogs are universal: at some point around 2-3 months of age, an infected dog develops persistently loose stools. This diarrhea proceeds to stool containing liquid, thick mucus, and light colored fecal matter. As the infection progresses, spots of blood may become apparent in the stool, and sudden bowel movements may surprise both dog and owner alike. Coccidia infection is so common that any pup under 4 months old with these symptoms can almost surely be assumed to have coccidiosis.

Fortunately, the treatment is inexpensive, extremely effective, and routine. A veterinarian can easily diagnose the disease through low-powered microscopic examination of an affected dog's feces, which usually will be replete with oocysts. One of many easily administered and inexpensive drugs will be prescribed, and, in the course of just a few days, an infection will be eliminated or perhaps reduced to such a level that the dog's immune system can make its own progress against the infection. Even when an infection has progressed sufficiently that blood is present in feces, permanent damage to the gastrointestinal system is rare, and the dog will most likely make a complete recovery without long-lasting negative effects.

Some of the many causes of diarrhea include:

  • Giardia

  • Coccidia

  • Digestive Upset, general (stress induced, dietary, etc.)

  • Worms

  • Trichomonas

  • Parvo (very serious, potentially lethal)

 

  

 

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Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
crbeagles@gmail.com
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
Bedford, Iowa
Click here for additional contact information.

Our premises are monitored via video surveillance for your puppy's safety!

 

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