Is Your Adopted Puppy Suffering from Coccidiosis?

Posted on: 2 November 2015


After you adopt an adorable puppy from the nearest shelter, Humane Society, or dog rescue and bring your new bundle of joy home, you may find that it is suffering from a severe case of diarrhea. Upon checking with the facility from which you adopted the puppy, you may be told that they regularly deworm all puppies, and yours should be just fine. But if a few days go by and there is no improvement and you are now seeing blood in your pup's feces, signs are now pointing to coccidiosis.

A vet must treat coccidiosis. If your puppy isn't treated, he or she may become very sick.

What is Coccidiosis?

Coccidiosis is an infection of the intestinal tract that is caused by parasites called coccidia. The parasites may live in the intestinal tract of older dogs and not cause any problems; however, young puppies that haven't developed immunity to the organism will develop an infection.

Puppies are usually exposed to coccidia from their mother's feces. The adult dog sheds coccidia in its feces and the young puppy ingests it. Kenneled puppies get the infection is by passing the parasite to one another. You may not know your puppy has the infection at first because the onset of symptoms is about thirteen days from the time the puppy has been exposed to the coccidia.


The symptoms of coccidiosis are similar to those of intestinal worms. This is why many puppies that haven't had their feces tested by a veterinarian are treated with dewormers.

If your puppy exhibits the following symptoms, it may have coccidiosis:

  • Diarrhea
  • Mucous in their feces
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Little or no weight gain
  • Poor coat condition (along with the above symptoms)

Your vet will test the puppy's feces to see if coccidia is present.


The good news is that coccidiosis is treatable with a good prognosis. Most puppies with coccidiosis will have a full recovery as long as the parasite is caught and treated early.

The infection is treated with an antibiotic. The medication works by inhibiting the reproduction of the parasite. Your puppy will eliminate the parasites from his or her intestines, the antibiotic prohibits new coccidia, and your puppy will have a chance to develop the immunity it needs.  

If you suspect that your pup is suffering from coccidiosis, take it to the vet to confirm the diagnosis and get started with treatment. While treating your puppy, you will need to keep your home and yard as clear as possible from infected feces. This will help prevent your puppy from getting reinfected or infecting other pets. For further information about this illness, contact a representative from a service like Pet Medical Center – Full Service Veterinary Care.