e-mail me

Worms

WORMS

Introduction

Dogs are victims of several internal parasites frequently referred to as worms. The most common are the roundworms that infest most puppies at some time in their young lives and tapeworms that can be a big problem when flea infestations are high.

Evidence of roundworms and tapeworms can be seen without the aid of a microscope, but other worms are not so easily diagnosed. Occasionally adult whipworms can be seen in the stool when the infestation has already caused some debilitation or weight loss in the dog.

Early diagnosis of the presence and species of intestinal parasite is important, for not all worms respond to the same treatment. Therefore, stool samples should be taken to the veterinarian for microscopic examination if worms are suspected. Many veterinarians include the stool check as part of the annual health examination.

Most worm infestations cause any or all of these symptoms: diarrhea, perhaps with blood in the stool; weight loss; dry hair; general poor appearance; and vomiting, perhaps with worms in the vomitus. However, some infestations cause few or no symptoms; in fact some worm eggs or larvae can be dormant in the dog's body and activated only in times of stress, or in the case of roundworms, until the latter stages of pregnancy, when they activate and infest the soon-to-be-born puppies.


Roundworms

Roundworms are active in the intestines of puppies, often causing a pot-bellied appearance and poor growth. The worms may be seen in vomit or stool; a severe infestation can cause death by intestinal blockage.

This worm can grow to seven inches in length. Females can produce 200 thousand eggs in a day, eggs that are protected by a hard shell and can exist in the soil for years. Dogs become infected by ingesting worm eggs from contaminated soil. The eggs hatch in the intestine and the resulting larva are carried to the lungs by the bloodstream.

The larva then crawls up the windpipe and gets swallowed, often causing the pup to cough or gag. Once the larvae return to the intestine, they grow into adults.

Roundworms do not typically infest adults. However, as mentioned above, the larvae can encyst in body tissue of adult bitches and activate during the last stages of pregnancy to infest puppies. Worming the bitch has no effect on the encysted larvae and cannot prevent the worms from infecting the puppies.

Although roundworms can be treated with an over-the-counter wormer found in pet stores, a veterinarian is the best source of information and medication to deal with intestinal parasites. Dewormers are poisonous to the worms and can make the dog sick, especially if not used in proper dosage.


Hookworms

These are small, thin worms that fasten to the wall of the small intestine and suck blood. Dogs get hookworm if they come in contact with the larvae in contaminated soil. As with roundworms, the hookworm larvae becomes an adult in the intestine. The pups can contract hookworms in the uterus and the dam can infest the pups through her milk.

A severe hookworm infestation can kill puppies, but chronic hookworm infection is usually not a problem in the older dog. When it does occur, the signs include diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and progressive weakness. Diagnosis is made by examining the feces for eggs under a microscope.


Tapeworms

Another small intestine parasite, the tapeworm is transmitted to dogs who ingest fleas or who hunt and eat wildlife infested with tapeworms or fleas. The dog sheds segments of the tapeworm containing the eggs in its feces. These segments are flat and move about shortly after excretion. They look like grains of rice when dried and can be found either in the dog's stool or stuck to the hair around his anus. Tapeworms cannot be killed by the typical over-the-counter wormer; see the veterinarian for appropriate treatment.


Whipworms

Adult whipworms look like pieces of thread with one end enlarged. They live in the cecum, the first section of the dog's large intestine. Infestations are usually light, so an examination of feces may not reveal the presence of eggs. Several checks may be necessary before a definitive diagnosis can be made.


Prevention

Several worms that infect and reinfect dogs can also infect humans, so treatment and eradication of the worms in the environment are important. Remove dog feces from back yards at least weekly, use appropriate vermicides under veterinary supervision, and have the dog's feces checked frequently in persistent cases. Do not mix wormers and do not use any wormer if your dog is currently taking any other medication, including heartworm preventative, without consulting the veterinarian.

When walking the dog in a neighborhood or park, remove all feces so that the dog does not contribute to contamination of soil away from home as well.

Dogs that are in generally good condition are not threatened by worm infestations and may not even show symptoms. However, it's a good idea to keep the dog as worm-free as possible so that if disease or stress do take a toll, you're not fighting worms in a sick pet.

 

Heart Worm

Once considered a parasite of southern climates, the heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is now recognized as a major, global pest affecting dogs, cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and some other animals. From its discovery in dogs more than a century ago and the documentation in cats in the 1920s, researchers have devised diagnostic tests, preventives and treatments, but the disease has spread to all 50 states. According to the Heartworm Society, the highest infection rates occur in dogs (not maintained on heartworm preventive) within 150 miles of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries. Other areas with large mosquitoe populations also have a high rate of infestation.

To jog the concern of clients, veterinary clinics may display a preserved heart infected with heartworm in a jar and hang posters about heartworm life cycles in examining rooms, but seeing is not necessarily believing; although clients can view the infested heart loaded with long, spaghetti-like worms every time they visit, many gamble that their dogs will never be bitten by an infected mosquito.

Heartworm prevention is simple. It involves a blood draw to determine whether the parasite is present and regular dosing with preventive medication. Heartworm infestation is dangerous; untreated dogs die and treated dogs go through weeks of discomfort while the worms are killed and expelled from their bodies.


The parasite

Parasites go through several life stages before emergence as adults and often need at least two hosts to complete the cycle. In heartworms, a mosquito serves as the intermediate host for the larval stage of the worm, also known as the microfilariae. The mosquito ingests the larva when it bites an infected dog and deposits its cargo in an uninfected dog when seeking another blood meal. The microfilariae burrow into the dog and undergo several changes to reach adult form, then travel to the right side of the heart through a vein and await the opportunity to reproduce. Adult heartworms can reach 12 inches in length and can remain in the dog’s heart for several years.

Dogs can have some microfilariae in their blood and worms in their lungs without manifesting the disease. Once the number of worms exceeds a certain number based on the size and activity level of the dog, however, the adult worms move to the heart and symptoms begin to occur. Very active dogs may experience symptoms with lower numbers of worms than couch-potato dogs.

The time lag between the initial infestation of microfilariae and reproduction by adult worms living in the heart is six-to-seven months in dogs.

Female heartworms bear live young – thousands of them in a day. These young – the microfilariae – circulate in the bloodstream for as long as three years, waiting to hitch a ride in a bloodsucking mosquito. They undergo changes in the mosquito that prepare them to infect a dog, and they transfer back to the original host species the next time the mosquito bites. The process of change in the mosquito takes about 10 days in warm climates, but can take six weeks in colder temperatures.

The worms grow and multiply, infesting the chambers on the right side of the heart and the arteries in the lungs. They can also lodge in the veins of the liver and the veins entering the heart. The first sign of heartworm infestation may not manifest for a year after infection, and even then the soft cough that increases with exercise may be dismissed as unimportant by the owner. But the cough worsens and the dog may actually faint from exertion; he tires easily, is weak and listless, loses weight and condition, and may cough up blood. Breathing becomes more difficult as the disease progresses. The progression is traumatic: the dog’s quality of life diminishes drastically and he can no longer retrieve a Frisbee or take a long walk in the park without respiratory distress. Congestive heart failure ensues, and the once-active, outgoing pet is in grave danger.


Epidemiology

Heartworm disease is present on every continent except Antarctica.(1) It occurs where these four factors are found:

  • a susceptible host population
  • a stable reservoir of the disease
  • a stable population of vector species
  • a climate that supports the parasite’s life cycle

Dogs are considered the definitive host (2) for the parasite; even though the disease is not transmitted directly from one dog to another, untreated dogs provide a stable reservoir for the disease. Mosquitoes of several different species are the vectors (intermediate host for the developing microfilariae). Development of the microfilariae in the mosquito requires a temperature at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit for about two weeks. No larval development takes place in the mosquito below 57 degrees F.


Testing

Heartworms can be detected by blood test. The filtration test finds microfilariae in the blood; the occult test locates adult worms in the heart. Many veterinarians prefer to do both tests as the absence of microfilariae in the blood does not necessarily mean that there are no adult worms in the heart. Both tests are done with a single blood draw, preferably in the early spring before daily temperatures warm above 57 degrees F.

Radiographs (X-rays) can also detect the presence of adult heartworms in the heart and lungs.


Treatment

If a blood test or the onset of symptoms alert owner and veterinarian to the presence of this devastating parasite, treatment is possible and successful if the disease has not progressed too far. The first step is to evaluate the dog and treat any secondary problems of heart failure or liver or kidney insufficiency so that he can withstand the treatment. The next step is to kill the adult worms with an arsenic compound. Veterinarians now have access to a Immiticide(3), a new compound that has fewer side effects than the previous drug and is safer for dogs with more severe infestations.

The treatment is administered in two doses each day for two days, followed by several weeks of inactivity to give the dog’s system a chance to absorb the dead worms. Exertion can cause the dead worms to dislodge, travel to the lungs, and cause death.

At least three-to-four weeks after the administration of the drug to kill the adult worms, further treatment to kill the microfilariae is needed. The dog is dosed daily for a week, then the blood test is repeated. If microfilariae are still present, the dose can be increased. Follow-up studies should be done in a year.

Surgical removal of the adult heartworms is possible and may be indicated in advanced cases with heart involvement.


Prevention

Preventive doses come in oral and topical versions and are only available from a veterinarian. Diethylcarbamazine is given daily. Ivermectin (Heartguard(3), Milbmycin (Interceptor(4)) and Moxidectin (ProHeart(5)) are given monthly. Selamectin (Revolution(6)) is a new preventive applied topically. Some of these drugs also kill other parasitic worms, and Revolution also acts against fleas, ticks, and mites.

Moxidectin (ProHeart® and ProHeart® 6, (5)) is a potent preventive compound available in a six month sustained release injection administered by veterinarians or a monthly oral dosage form.

Many veterinarians recommend and many owners use a year-round heartworm prevention program to guard against the occasional mosquito flying about in areas with mild winters. If Fido has already had his yearly check-up, call your veterinarian to schedule a heartworm check. If he’s due for yearly vaccination, be sure to include a heartworm check in the visit.

 

Parasites

Giardia

GUARDING AGAINST GIARDIA

Maggie Fisher BVetMed MRCVS



Early in 1995, the kennel population of more than 100 dogs at the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association's Midlands Regional Centre in Leamington Spa was hit by an unusually severe outbreak of diarrhoea. The cause turned out to be an infection of the intestine by a commonly-occuring, single celled organism - or protozan known as Giardia. A combined treatment and disinfection strategy was then introduced that brought the infection under control.

Maggie Fisher, a veterinary surgeon with a special interest in parasitology, was called in to help deal with the Giardia outbreak, and in the following paper she describes the infection and how it can be treated and controlled

The division of Giardia into groups according to species is still somewhat confused; the organisms that infect mammals look very similar but it remains unclear to what extent they form one or a number of species. It is for this reason that, while Giardia infection in some mammals, including dogs, is suspected of being infectious to man (ie: a zoonosis), it has not been conclusively shown that the species in, for example, dogs and man is the same.

The Giardia trophozoite (Figure 1) - which is the active stage of the organism - inhabits the small intestine of the dog. It attaches to the cells of the intestine with its adhesive disc and rapidly divides to produce a whole population of trophozoites. As they detach they may be swept down the intestine. If intestinal flow is fast then they may appear in the faeces. However, if they have time, they will develop into the inactive, more durable, cyst form of the organism and these will be passed in the faeces. The cyst (Figure 2) is more able to survive in the environment than the trophozoite, which is very fragile.

Figure 1 - Figure 2
Diagram of Giardia Tophozoite Diagram of Giardia Cyst

How do Giardia cause disease in dogs?

Like all infectious agents, in order to cause disease Giardia depaends on being able to overcome the dog's defence against infection, either by its virulence or by the number of the organisms becoming established. It has been observed that as few as 10 cycsts can cause disease in humans. Different anaimals may respond to infection in different ways, which may be due to different strains of the sam Giardia population, with varying levels of pathogenicity. Another explanation for observed differences in the host response to infection is that protective immunity with age and/or exposure. This may be temporarily lost if the animal is stressed or immunosuppressed, for example with corticosteroid treatment.

What is the source of infection for dogs?

The original source of an outbreak may be cysts in contaminated water or the environment. In addition, infected dogs which may be either carriers (ie: show no clinical signs but continue to harbour infection and pass cysts into the environment) or dogs that have diarrhoea associated with infection may act as the source. Surveys have shown that about 14% of the adult dog population and over 30% of dogs under one year of age were infected. Once passed, the cysts can survive in cold water for several months.

The cysts are infective as soon as they are passed, unlike other parasites where a lag period is necessary before the organism is infective. The most common route of infection is faeco-oral. For example, dogs may accidentaly eat cysts as they lick around theenvironment or lick other dogs' coats (particularly if the other dog has diarrhoea). Another major source of infection in human cases is drinking contaminated water. Once eaten, the cyst breaks open in the animals' intestine and releases two new trophozoites to initiate infection. If a dog is left in a dirty environment it may act as its own source of further infectionas it eats cysts passed in its own faeces.

What are the clinical signs associated with infection?

The trophozoites divide to produce a large population, then they begin to interfere with the absorption of food, so faeces from affected animals are typically light coloured, greasy and soft. These signs, together with the beginning of cyst shedding, begin abou tone week post-infection. There may be additional signs of large intestinal irritation, such as straining and mucus in the faeces, even though the Giardia do not colonise the large intestine. Usually the blood picture of affected animals is normal, though occasionally there is a slight increase in the number of eosinophils (one of several types of white blood cells) and mild anaemia. Without treatment, the condition may continue, either chronically or intermittently, for weeks or months.

How can infection be diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on demonstration of the infection and the elimination of other possible causes of diarrhoea (eg: Salmonella or Campylobacter), Giardia cysts may be observed directly in faecal samples or indirectly using an elisa technique. Direct examination of faeces, using zinc sulphate centrifugal flotation. followed by staining the supernatant with Lugol's iodine, has been found to be upto 70% effective at detecting infection from a single faecal sample. The cyst output is very variable from day to day so the detection rate may be improved by pooling faecal samples collected over three days. Faecal examination is the cheapest method but is time consuming and requires an experienced technician for reliable results.

The elisa technique requires a kit and some method of reading a colour change or production of flourescence. Studies examining the reliability of some immunoflourescent kits have found them to be over 90% accurate, with relatively few false negatives or false postives. However, the tests are costly and probably only wothwhile where there are alarge number of samples to be processed and a technician who is familiar with carrying out elisas.

How can infection be treated?

Infection may be traeted using one of a number of drugs. Unfortunately there is no treatment licenced for the control of giardias in dogs, though fenbendazole (Panacur, Hoechst Animal Health) is licenced for treatment of worms in dogs. Treatments from the literature are shown in table 1. Whatever treatment is chosen, itis very unlikely to eliminate 100% of the infection in all dogs. Adaptations that may be made to try to improve the success rate of a treatment regime include extending the duration and dose of the treatment. Care must obviously be taken with this approach to make sure that an adequate safety margin is always maintained. Another approach is to retreat after an interval of one week. Alternatively, repeat faecal samples may be collected one week after the treatment and dogs which are still passing cysts can be identified and treated. It should be recognised that, when treating a large number of dogs, whichever of these treatment strategies is adopted, there may be one or two dogs that remain as carriers of infection that will act as a potential sources of infection in future.

Treatments for Giardias in dogs

Drug Name Trade Name Dose Rate Duration of
Treatment
Metronidazole Flagyl 25-30 mg/kg bid** 7 days
Furazolidone Neftin 4 mg/kg bid* 10 days
Tinadazole - 44 mg/kg once daily 7 days
Fenbendazole Panacur *** 50 mg/kg once daily 3 days
Albendazole Valbazen 25 mg/kg bid 2 days

bid Twice daily
* Maximum daily dose 200 mg
** Contra-indicated in pregnancy
** Licenced for the treatment of worm infections in dogs

How can infection, once present , be controlled?

Once infection is present in a kennels, control may be approached in two ways:-
1. identification, isolation and treatment of infected dogs.
2. mass treatment of all dogs.

Option 1 is only practical where a few dogs in a discrete area have been identified as being infected and where complet isolation is feasible, either within their own block or in a specific isolation block. Such isolation includes segregation of exercise areas and thes animals should be fed and cleaned after all others on the premises, preferably using separate cleaning and feeding equipment and separate staff if possible. Treatment of all dogs should commence on the same day when option 2 is adopted.

Thorough cleaning of all kennel area where infected dogs have access is essential. Once organic debris has been removed, thorough disinfection will help to further reduce the level of environmental contamination and reduce the risk of dogs becoming re-infected after the completion of treatment. Disinfectants containing quaternary ammonium compounds have been found to kill Giardia cysts at the manufacturers' recommended dilutions (dilutions of one disinfectant upto 1:704 were found to be effective at both low and high environmental temperatures). Efficacy of killing is increased by prolonged contact time, therfore disinfectant solution should be left for 20 minutes to half an hour before being rinsed off kennel or run surfaces. Since disinfection of grass runs is impossible, such area should be regarded as contaminated for atleast a month after infected dogs last had access.

Introduction of new dogs into the infected area should be avoided until the period of treatment and faecal samle checking has been completed. It should not be overlooked that some of thoe infected dogs may continue to excrete low numbers of cysts even after all treatments and examinations have been completed. It is therefore important that rigorous disinfection is maintained and a careful check is kept on the condition of all treated and introduced animals.

How can infection be prevented?

It is very difficult to prevent entry of an infection that is known to be carried by a percentage of normal dogs into a kennels. However, an initial period of isolation for all new entrants into kennels, for perhaps ten days, would reduce the risk of an infected dog spreading a large number of cysts around the main kennel area. All dogs could be observed and any infection present, which in the case case of Giardia might be exacerbated by the stree of entry in kennels, could be identified and treated before entry into the main kennels.

Dogs should be prevented from access to foul water that may contain large numbers of cysts (eg: river-flooded paddocks).Small numbers of cysts may occasionally be present in the potable water supply but the risk of this being a major source of infection is small.

 

Coccidiosis (Coccidia)

What are coccidia?

Coccidia are small protozoans (one-celled organisms) that multiply in the intestinal tracts of dogs and cats, most commonly in puppies and kittens less than six months of age, in adult animals whose immune system is suppressed, or in animals who are stressed in other ways (e.g.; change in ownership, other disease present).

In dogs and cats, most coccidia are of the genus called Isospora. Isospora canis and I. ohioensis are the species most often encountered in dogs. Regardless of which species is present, we generally refer to the disease as coccidiosis. As a puppy ages, he tends to develop a natural immunity to the effects of coccidia. As an adult, he may carry coccidia in his intestines, and shed the cyst in the feces, but experience no ill effects.

How are coccidia transmitted?

A puppy is not born with the coccidia organisms in his intestine. However, once born, the puppy is frequently exposed to his mother's feces, and if the mother is shedding the infective cysts in her feces, then the young animals will likely ingest them and coccidia will develop within their intestines. Since young puppies, usually those less than six months of age, have no immunity to coccidia, the organisms reproduce in great numbers and parasitize the young animal's intestines. Oftentimes, this has severe effects.

From exposure to the coccidia in feces to the onset of the illness is about 13 days. Most puppies who are ill from coccidia are, therefore, two weeks of age and older. Although most infections are the result of spread from the mother, this is not always the case. Any infected puppy or kitten is contagious to other puppies or kittens. In breeding facilities, shelters, animal hospitals, etc., it is wise to isolate those infected from those that are not.

What are the symptoms of coccidiosis?

The primary sign of an animal suffering with coccidiosis is diarrhea. The diarrhea may be mild to severe depending on the level of infection. Blood and mucous may be present, especially in advanced cases. Severely affected animals may also vomit, lose their appetite, become dehydrated, and in some instances, die from the disease.

Most infected puppies encountered by the authors are in the four to twelve week age group. The possibility of coccidiosis should always be considered when a loose stool or diarrhea is encountered in this age group. A microscopic fecal exam by a veterinarian will detect the cysts confirming a diagnosis.

What are the risks?

Although many cases are mild, it is not uncommon to see severe, bloody diarrhea result in dehydration and even death. This is most common in animals who are ill or infected with other parasites, bacteria, or viruses. Coccidiosis is very contagious, especially among young puppies. Entire kennels may become contaminated, with puppies of many age groups simultaneously affected.

What is the treatment of coccidiosis?

It should be mentioned that stress plays a role in the development of coccidiosis. It is not uncommon for a seemingly healthy puppy to arrive at his new home and develop diarrhea several days later leading to a diagnosis of coccidia. If the puppy has been at the new home for less than thirteen days, then he had coccidia before he arrived. Remember, the incubation period (from exposure to illness) is about thirteen days. If the puppy has been with his new owner several weeks, then the exposure to coccidia most likely occurred after the animal arrived at the new home.

Fortunately, coccidiosis is treatable. Drugs such as sulfadimethoxine (Albon®) and trimethoprim-sulfadiazine (Tribrissen®) have been effective in the treatment and prevention of coccidia. Because these drugs do not kill the organisms, but rather inhibit their reproduction capabilities, elimination of coccidia from the intestine is not rapid. By stopping the ability of the protozoa to reproduce, time is allowed for the puppy's own immunity to develop and remove the organisms.

How is coccidiosis prevented or controlled?

Because coccidia is spread by the feces of carrier animals, it is very important to practice strict sanitation. All fecal material should be removed. Housing needs to be such that food and water cannot become contaminated with feces. Clean water should be provided at all times. Most disinfectants do not work well against coccidia; incineration of the feces, and steam cleaning, immersion in boiling water, or a 10% ammonia solution are the best methods to kill coccidia. Coccidia can withstand freezing.

Cockroaches and flies can mechanically carry coccidia from one place to another. Mice and other animals can ingest the coccidia and when killed and eaten by a dog, for instance, can infect the dog. Therefore, insect and rodent control is very important in preventing coccidiosis.

The coccidia species of dogs and cats do not infect humans.

Coccidiosis

General Information

Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract caused by microscopic organisms called coccidia. The disease spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces. It is most severe in young or weak animals and often causes bloody diarrhea.

What are coccidia?
Coccidia are small protozoans (one-celled organisms) that multiply in the intestinal tracts of dogs and cats, most commonly in kittens and puppies less than six months of age, in adult animals whose immune system is suppressed or in animals who are stressed in other ways (e.g., change in ownership, other disease present).

In cats and dogs, most coccidia are of the genus called Isospora. Isospora canis and I. ohioensis are the species most often encountered in dogs; I. felis and I. rivolta are the most common in cats. Regardless of which species is present we generally refer to the disease as coccidiosis. As a puppy or kitten ages it tends to develop a natural immunity to the effects of coccidia. As an adult it may carry coccidia in its intestines, shed the cyst in the feces, but experience no ill effects.

How are coccidia transmitted?
A puppy or kitten is not born with the coccidia organisms in its intestine. However, once born, the puppy or kitten is frequently exposed to its mother's feces and if the mother is shedding the infective cysts in her feces then the young animals will likely ingest them and coccidia will develop within their intestines. Since young puppies and kittens, usually those less than six months of age, have no immunity to coccidia, the organisms reproduce in great numbers and parasitize the young animal's intestines. Oftentimes this has severe effects.

From exposure to the coccidia in feces to the onset of the illness is about 13 days. Most puppies and kittens who are ill from coccidia are, therefore, two weeks of age and older. Although most infections are the result of spread from the mother, this is not always the case. Any infected kitten or puppy is contagious to other puppies and kittens. In breeding facilities, shelters, animal hospitals, etc., it is wise to isolate those infected from those that are not.

What are the symptoms of coccidiosis?
The primary sign of an animal suffering with coccidiosis is diarrhea. The diarrhea may be mild to severe depending on the level of infection. Blood and mucous may be present, especially in advanced cases. Severely affected animals may also vomit, lose their appetite, become dehydrated, and in some instances, die from the disease.

Most infected kittens and puppies encountered by the authors are in the four to twelve week age group. The possibility of coccidiosis should always be considered when a loose stool or diarrhea is encountered in this age group. A microscopic fecal exam by a veterinarian will detect the cysts confirming a diagnosis.

What are the risks?
Although many cases are mild it is not uncommon to see severe, bloody diarrhea result in dehydration and even death. This is most common in animals who are ill or infected with other parasites, bacteria or viruses. Coccidiosis is very contagious, especially among young kittens and puppies. Entire kennels and catteries may become contaminated with puppies and kittens of many age groups simultaneously affected.

What is the treatment of coccidiosis?
It should be mentioned that stress plays a role in the development of coccidiosis. It is not uncommon for a seemingly healthy puppy or kitten to arrive at its new home and develop diarrhea several days later leading to a diagnosis of coccidia. If the puppy or kitten has been at the new home for less than thirteen days then it had coccidia before it arrived. Remember the incubation period (from exposure to illness) is about thirteen days. If the puppy or kitten has been with its new owner several weeks, then the exposure to coccidia most likely occurred after the animal arrived at the new home. The authors merely point this out as they have been involved in legal cases as to who was responsible for the cost of treatment, the breeder or new owner. Usually coccidia was present only to surface during the stressful period of the puppy or kitten adjusting to a new home.

Fortunately coccidiosis is treatable. Drugs such as sulfadimethoxine (Albon), trimethoprim-sulfadiazine (Tribrissen) and amprolium (Corid) have all been effective in the treatment and prevention of coccidia. Because these drugs do not kill the organisms, but rather inhibit their reproduction capabilities, elimination of coccidia from the intestine is not rapid. By stopping the ability of the protozoa to reproduce, time is allowed for the puppy's own immunity to develop and remove the organisms. Drug treatments of five or more days are usually required.

How is coccidiosis prevented or controlled?
Because coccidia is spread by the feces of carrier animals, it is very important to practice strict sanitation. All fecal material should be removed. Housing needs to be such that food and water cannot become contaminated with feces. Clean water should be provided at all times. Most disinfectants do not work well against coccidia; incineration of the feces, and steam cleaning, immersion in boiling water or a 10% ammonia solution are the best methods to kill coccidia. Coccidia can withstand freezing.

Cockroaches and flies can mechanically carry coccidia from one place to another. Mice and other animals can ingest the coccidia and when killed and eaten by a cat, for instance, can infect the cat. Therefore, insect and rodent control are very important in preventing coccidiosis.

The coccidia species of dogs and cats do not infect humans.


|Home| |What's New| |APBT PUPS| |APBT Males| |APBT FEMALES| |Pit Bull Females| |Breed Standard American Pit Bull Terrier| |Patterdale Standard| |Origin - Patterdales| |Patterdale Males| |Patterdale Females| |Spanning Terriers| |Colors of Patterdales| |Bred By page 1| |Bred By page 2| |Bred By page 3| |Bred By page 4| |Bred By page 5| |Show and Pull Photos| |Misc. Pics 1| |Misc. Pics 2| |Rainbow Bridge| |NUTRITION| |OFRN HISTORY| |OFRN PICTURES| |Links| |Line Bred or Inbred| |BANNER| |Diseases| |Parasites-Worms| |Welcome|