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An unusual Intestinal Parasite

coccidiaWhen most people think of intestinal parasites in dogs and cats, they think of worms.  Some parasites are different, however, including Coccidia.  Coccidia are a type of microscopic single-celled parasite that can causes diarrhea, which may be bloody.  Young puppies and kittens are most commonly affected.  They pick up the parasites from contaminated environments.

Any dog or cat with diarrhea that lasts for more than a day or so should have a fecal exam performed by a veterinarian. If coccidia are diagnosed, your vet will prescribe a medication, often Albon or trimethoprim-sulfa, that helps an animal’s immune system eliminate the parasites from the body.  Hospitalization and fluid therapy may be required in severe cases. Left untreated, coccidia infections can be fatal, but most animals recover quickly when treated appropriately.

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