DOG Coccidia (Toxoplasma gondii)

Parasites and bacteria are an unfortunate possible hazard of dog ownership. One such parasite is coccidia, which can cause the disease known as coccidiosis. While dangerous to canines, coccidia does not present a risk to infect humans. See this guide for information on detecting, treating and preventing coccidia infection.


Coccidia is a small, unicellular organism which lives in the digestive systems of dogs, most commonly found in puppies less than six months in age.

A dog can develop and grow while infected with coccidia and can become tolerant to the symptoms of the disease. However some dogs with compromised immune systems or young puppies can be more susceptible to the infection.


Unsporulated cysts are shed in dog waste. After two to four days the cysts mature and become infective. The oocysts, or eggs, are ingested by the dog or puppy where it enters the digestive tract. Sporozoites penetrate the gut wall and begin reproducing and filling the tract with thousands of new offspring, some of which are shed in the dog’s waste.


Mild cases of coccidiosis may go undetected, but moderate or severe infections will result in diarrhea. The loose stool may contain mucous and blood in advanced cases. A fecal exam for coccidia cysts will confirm infection.

  • Slimy waste: usually containing mucus
  • Watery diarrhea: containing mucus
  • Feces may be blood stained or have marks of blood
  • Vomiting: in advanced infection, vomiting may be present
  • Dehydration
  • Flatulence: frequently expelling gas
  • Bloating: swelling of the abdomen
  • Rectal prolapse: dogs that are frequently straining can prolapse the lining of the rectum through the anus

Stress may also cause a flare up of Coccidia infection. Bringing a dog into a new or strange environment has been shown to trigger further symptoms of the disease.


Dog Coccidia infection is usually diagnosed using a test called centrifugal fecal flotation. Sometimes, coccidia infection may be found during a routine fecal infection, which is a good reason to stay current to your vet’s recommendations.


A veterinarian will prescribe Sulfadimethoxine, brand name Albon, for dogs infected with coccidia. It’s important to keep your dog well hydrated and rested while fighting their infection. Steam cleaning surfaces, treatment of nearby animals, and use of ammonia-containing disinfectants can reduce chances of infection.


Regular pet waste removal is a crucial step to preventing coccidia infection. Fresh dog waste contains inactive coccidia cysts and prompt remove does not allow enough time for the eggs to develop.


Because coccidia is spread by pet waste, it’s important to keep a strict cleaning regimen. Dog houses and runs must be regularly monitored and cleaned with disinfecting agents. Insects and rodents may transmit eggs as well, so their control is important to keeping your dog’s healthy as well. Using Pet Domestic pet waste removal service can be one step to help keep your lawn safer and healthier for your pups.