How Coccidia Affect Dogs
The main symptom of coccidiosis in dogs is diarrhea, which typically is much worse in puppies than in older animals. It is also worse in young dogs living in dirty, damp, cold, unsanitary conditions, as well as in those that are concurrently affected by other diseases or disorders.
Symptoms of Coccidia
In puppies and kittens, coccidia can cause a fairly severe form of diarrhea, which unfortunately may become life-threatening. Adult dogs and cats typically develop a much more mild form of illness, or no signs of illness at all. They may not even require treatment. Owners of dogs that do become sick from coccidia infection may notice:
- Mild diarrhea (gradual or acute onset)
- Profuse, loose, watery diarrhea tinged with blood (hematochezia)
- Voluminous unformed stool; often greasy, bulky, stinky, pale in color and containing mucus or fat (steattorhea)
- Straining to defecate (tenesmus)
- Loss of appetite (inappetence; anorexia)
- Weight loss
- Dehydration (can be severe, depending upon the extent of diarrhea)
Dogs at Increased Risk
Any dog, of any gender, age, breed or mix of breeds, can become infected with coccidia if they take in cysts of the parasite from the environment. However, clinical disease is uncommon in healthy, mature animals. Young, weak puppies living in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions have the greatest chance of becoming sick from coccidial infection.