Coccidia in Puppies

What is Coccidia
Coccidia is one of the most common issues in puppies. It's usually very easy to diagnose and treat, however, if left untreated it can be fatal, especially in your smaller breed dogs. Coccidia is not "worms." Coccidia is a one celled organism that lives and multiplies in the intestinal tract of animals which gives them diarrhea.  

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Symptoms of Coccidia
Soft or runny mud-pie looking poop that can turn into severe diarrhea. (blood and mucus may or may not be present)  However, a lot of puppies act completely normal, eat great and romp around playing with no symptoms at all, especially when they first get it. If you recently just brought a new puppy home then it's a good idea  to have your vet run a "fecal" test for a clean bill of health. Fecal tests are usually fairly inexpensive. 

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Is Coccidia Contagious
VERY contagious, so if you have other animals in the home ~ you might want to keep them separated. Adult dogs are Not as likely to be contaminated since their systems have usually already built up an immunity against it, but younger animals are at high risk of picking it up. It is NOT contagious to people or children.

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How Do I Know if My Puppy Has Coccidia
Coccidia is really easy to diagnose by a fecal test from you vet. Healthy puppy poop should look like brown firm tootise rolls or logs. So if your puppies poopies are looking bad, you should have your puppy checked.

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Treatment for Coccidia

First off, there is NO cure for Coccidia.  Puppies can only build an immunity to it and that takes time and age. Treatments today do not  kill the coccidia but they will slow down the coccidia from reproducing so quickly in your puppies intestines which will allows your puppy enough time to build up it's own natural immunity towards it. If your puppy has coccidia do NOT ignore it thinking your puppy will just build up an immunity.  If you just ignore it, the coccidia can multiply to an overwhelming number within your puppies intestines, which can make the puppy extremely sick and suppress the immune system making them unable to fight off other common puppy issues.

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Is Cocciddia Life-Threatening to My Puppy

For the most part Cocciddia is not a real danger to puppies if treated. However, in very severe cases Cocciddia can lead to other health problems and even death if ignored.

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How Do they Treat Cocciddia

Most vet's will prescribe a liquid drug called "Albon" which puppies tend to enjoy the flavor and it works awesome. I have also seen vet's use a drug called "Tribrissen"  or "Baycox" which is also fantastic.

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How Did My Puppy Get Coccidia?
Coccidia can be passed so many different ways. 

When puppies smell and lick each others bums, lick or eat pieces of poop that they find outside, or even just chewing, licking and eating the grass itself. A puppy might accidentally step, run or "roll" across fecal matter on the grass which can leave it on their paws, fur, or body so when they groom, play or lick each other they ingest it. Even if you don't see poop on the grass, the Coccidia cyst can still be in the grass from where poop used to be. 

A puppy can not have the symptoms of Cocciddia but they can still be a "carrier" of Coccidia. This means the Coccidia cysts is still in their poop, so when they go potty outside, that can now make other puppies that come across it sick who haven't built up an immunity towards it yet which is one of the reasons why it's risky to put an un-vaccinated puppy on public grass. 

Stress lowers a puppy's immune system and can make them more vulnerable to Coccidia.  Examples of stress would be: weaning from the mother, introduction to new things, change of ownership, new diet, new routine, holiday chaos, surgery, harsh punishment during training, family problems, being left alone to long, being confined to outside kennel runs, tie downs, cage banks, crates, and/or even just living with babies, toddlers or children. Just so you know - stress does NOT always bring on Coccidia. Alot of puppies are exposed to stressful situations & never get Coccidia ~ so it's all just dependent on the puppy. 

Another way puppies can get Coccidia is from: Flies, mice, cockroaches and other household insects that can carry the coccidia cyst from one place to another in your home / yard and therefore exposing your puppy.

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What Age Do Puppies Get Coccidia
Cocciddia is most common in puppies 4 ~ 16 weeks old.  A puppy may experience one or several episodes of coccidia before they no longer get it.

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Preventing Coccidia
Sorry, there is NO vaccination to protect puppies from Coccidia. Like we stated above, puppies are going to be exposed to Coccidia all over the place so we just have to do what we can to take care of it when it arises until they build up their own immunity to it. One of the best ways you can help your puppy is by strengthening their immune system and putting them on a high quality probiotic. Contact us below for more information on which probiotics have the best reviews. We are happy to recommend.

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Disclaimer: We are NOT licensed vets. DO NOT try to diagnose or treat animals based off this or any other information you find on the internet.  If you pet is having any kind of medical issues, please seek professional treatment from a licensed vet who is trained and set up to handle such matters.

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