If you guessed Coccidia, you are right! This is an example of a very severe case of it. You are seeing in the picture above are the eggs. The eggs came from a stool sample from an infected dog.
Here are the facts about this pesky parasite:
- Coccidia are tiny single-celled parasites that live in the wall of your pet’s intestines. They are found more often in puppies and kittens, but they can also infect older dogs and cats.
- Pets become infected by swallowing soil that contains coccidia or other substances in the environment that may contain infected animal feces.
How will coccidia affect my pet?
- Coccidiosis, the disease caused by coccidia, may not cause any signs in older pets but is usually more serious in puppies and kittens. The most common sign of coccidiosis is diarrhea. More serious infections can cause bloody diarrhea. Severe infections can be fatal, especially in puppies or kittens.
How do I prevent my pet from getting coccidia?
- Coccidial infections can be prevented by regularly removing stool from your yard and other areas where animals go to the bathroom. Because coccidia are found most often in puppies and kittens, it is important to have them examined for the parasite as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can perform a fecal test to diagnose coccidiosis. If your pet is infected with coccidia, your veterinarian will treat them with proper medication to eliminate the disease.
Can my cat get coccidia from my dog?
- Coccidia are species specific; meaning that if a dog is infected with the parasite, he is unable to pass it to a cat, and vice versa. Coccidiosis is not transmissible to people.