Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease that is caused by one celled organisms known as coccidium and characterized by watery diarrhea that is bloody in severe cases. The coccidium live in the intestines of the animal but are not worms. They are microscopic intestinal parasites that are detectable in routine fecal tests.
These parasites cause watery, mucus based diarrhea which if not treated properly and promptly, can cause damage to intestinal linings of the dog. In severe cases, bloody diarrhea can result and death can occur if the condition is not immediately treated.
Coccidiosis can spread from one animal to another through ingestion of infected tissues or contact with infected feces. This condition most commonly affects young puppies less than six months of age, adult dogs with compromised immune system or dogs that are stressed due to other reasons (other diseases, change of ownership etc).
The initial sign of the condition is often loose stools. Over time, a puppy suffering from Coccidiosis can develop diarrhoea and its faeces can contain thick mucus, liquid and/or be very light in colour. If the Coccidiosis infection becomes even more severe, blood might be seen in the dog’s faeces. Sudden bowel movements can make it impossible for the dog to stay house broken.