Coccidia in Cats

Coccidia in Cats

If you appreciate the enterprise of cats, you just cannot deny that kittens are very cute. They are very affectionate and compact, and quite a few pet mom and dad will just take a kitten home at some issue in their life. But kittens may acquire some diarrhea and quite a few are diagnosed with parasites. 

Coccidia in cats is rather common and is discovered in up to 36 p.c of cats in the United States [1]. If your veterinarian suggests “your kitten has coccidia,” what are the treatment method options? How do you get rid of it? And can human beings get coccidia? Read much more to learn all about coccidia in cats.

What Is Coccidia in Cats?

Coccidia is a protozoan organism, or a pretty smaller creature designed of personal cells that can not be observed with the naked eye. Cystisospora felis and Cystisospora rivolta are the two species that infect the intestinal lining of cats. Coccidia in cats is really frequent in that more than just one-3rd of cats could be contaminated.

Young kittens beneath 4 months of age are most likely to get coccidia. Coccidia is usually self-restricting, this means that it can go away on its very own and is not major — but only if the cat’s standard health and fitness is very good and their immune procedure is mature. In kittens, they struggle to combat off the an infection. Also, kittens are much less probable to be equipped to manage dehydration induced by the parasite, so coccidia an infection in kittens is additional risky than coccidia infection in adults.

What Triggers Coccidia in Cats?

Cats get coccidia possibly by getting uncovered to the poop (feces) of a different cat who is passing coccidia, or by consuming what is referred to as a paratenic host. Paratenic hosts are creatures carrying the parasite, but the parasite are not able to deliver much more until eventually it reaches its ultimate host — in this circumstance, cats. The paratenic hosts for coccidia are bugs, this kind of as cockroaches, or rodents, this sort of as mice.

Coccidia is pretty contagious amongst cats. The parasite is very good at surviving the ecosystem for quite a few months if surfaces exposed to feces are not cleaned thoroughly. Queens (or cats who experienced kittens) normally unfold coccidia to their kittens. The parasite is quite species-unique, meaning coccidia in cats cannot be transferred to humans, dogs, or any other species. 

Signs and symptoms of Coccidia in Cats

Several cats do not have signs when infected with the parasite, particularly adult cats. If a cat does have signs, diarrhea is most frequent because coccidia infects cells in the lining of the intestines. Nevertheless, the pursuing symptoms may well also take place:

  • Lethargy, or reduced exercise
  • Decreased hunger
  • Dehydration
  • Pale gums (alternatively of pink)
  • Abdominal (stomach) irritation

How the diarrhea seems may differ tremendously in cats. Diarrhea from coccidia can be a minor smooth to liquid. In some cases blood or mucus is observed in the feces. Typically the diarrhea is very smelly, but there is no individual smell for coccidia. The parasite is a great deal too tiny to be viewed. In very young kittens, veterinarians clinically report that yellow liquid diarrhea might manifest with coccidia.

Diagnosing Coccidia in Cats

Generally, a veterinarian will suggest a fecal sample when your cat is in the clinic for a yearly test-up and any time your cat experiences diarrhea. Obtaining a fecal exam performed is specially vital in kittens, as they incredibly routinely have parasites of some kind.

Coccidia is diagnosed in cats by seeking for cysts in a fecal flotation. A smaller quantity of feces is examined by mixing the feces with a unique sugar alternative and inspecting the sample beneath the microscope for cysts. There are some cysts that could display up in your cat’s feces that are not Cystisospora spp. these other species do not infect cats and do not have to have treatment.

If your cat has pale gums, your veterinarian might also run some bloodwork. Anemia, or small sum of red blood cells, can be diagnosed if your cat has coccidia, but this is unusual.

Coccidia Remedy in Cats

Coccidia can be treated in cats with treatment furnished by your veterinarian to be specified at residence. Procedure also includes suitable cleaning of your dwelling. Cleaning is demanding in that coccidia is difficult to eliminate in the atmosphere, and cats regularly re-infect by themselves continuously by defecating (pooping), then grooming modest quantities of feces off their fur coat afterward.

Medicines for Coccidia in Cats

There are two forms of medication to treat coccidia in cats: coccidiostatic and coccidiocidal remedies. 

Coccidiostatic remedies cease coccidia from reproducing and creating a lot more coccidia, so the immune program has to end obtaining rid of the an infection. This may perhaps not be enough procedure for kittens or grownup cats with weakened immune devices. 

Coccidiocidal drugs basically destroy the coccidia. This is frequently advised as it decreases the prospect of coccidia finding into the atmosphere from your cat and has much better procedure success.

An illustration of a popular coccidiostatic medicine applied to address cats features sulfadimethoxine (model identify Albon). This usually is prescribed for 3 months, and some coccidia are resistant, which means the medicine will not get the job done. An instance of a frequent coccidiocidal treatment is ponazuril. Reports present that 1 dose is effective, but offering the medicine at the time a day for a few days is even extra efficient. Not long ago, a new drug in the identical class, termed toltrazuril, has also been revealed to be helpful. Just after remedy with ponazuril, scientific studies show cats are no lengthier contagious eight times right after remedy commenced.

Common Charge to Treat Coccidia in Cats

The expense of managing coccidia is dependent on the indicators your cat is going through. For most cats, fecal testing and medication are the only expected objects and will probable charge around $50-$150. If your kitten has a severe coccidia infection, they may require substantial assistance, such as fluids for hydration and other prescription drugs to enable with nausea or significant diarrhea. In this situation, therapy could price hundreds of bucks, close to $300-$500. 

Cleaning for Coccidia in Cats

In addition to trying to get cure if your cat is contaminated with coccidia, it&#8217s also vital to adhere to protected cleaning methods. Cat feces can infect another cat involving 8 and 48 several hours soon after the feces is developed. For this motive, cleansing the litter box every single day or even twice day-to-day ought to preserve other cats from currently being uncovered. The litter box by itself must be saved clean up of any feces, and litter should really be thrown away just about every day. If your cat has messy diarrhea, wipe their paws and hind close very carefully each working day until the an infection is cleared.

The actual cleaning course of action — i.e. working with soap and drinking water to get all feces, meals, or other contaminants off of a area or product — is the most significant phase. Any bedding or fabrics applied by your cat ought to be totally washed on very hot. The litter box, dishes, toys, and other things often utilised by your cat ought to all be cleaned. Just after cleaning, all surfaces and non-porous things would preferably be disinfected. Solid ammonia products have been proven to kill coccidia in the surroundings, but lots of of these items are harmful to cats and must be made use of with extreme warning. Oxidizing brokers are also successful towards coccidia. Spray or clean surfaces liberally and go away to air dry or let the cleaner sit for 10 minutes in advance of wiping absent. Maintain your cat away even though disinfecting.

How to Protect against Coccidia in Cats

There are a couple of strategies you can support protect against coccidia infection in your cat:

Ensure your cat is routinely dewormed, specifically if they go outside the house. Though program dewormers do not deal with coccidia, coccidia is usually related with other gastrointestinal parasites. Cats with a compromised immune method or by now infected with parasites will have a more difficult time combating off coccidia an infection.

Stop your cat from ingesting bugs and animals. Selections include things like holding your cat indoors and stopping mice or other rodents from entering your home. Lower insect infestations and take into consideration qualified exterminators if insects are in your property.

Scoop the litter box every single working day. Even if a single of your cats has coccidia, if you clear away feces each day, it will retain other cats from currently being uncovered.

Regularly vacant and clear the litter box. You may perhaps not see noticeable soiling of the litter box itself, but modest particles of feces can adhere to the litter box and carry coccidia. For healthy cats, cleaning the litter box is suggested weekly.

Retain new cats separated from your cat right up until deworming and fecal tests has been performed. New cats might be carrying coccidia. When a cat is pressured, such as when going into a new dwelling, shedding of coccidia can worsen.

Prophylactically handle expecting and nursing queens. Even if feminine cats aren’t identified with coccidia, they should really be dealt with with ponazuril when they have kittens to avoid opportunity infections from spreading.

Similar Conditions 

Other gastrointestinal parasites are regularly observed in cats with coccidia. This could be simply because kittens and young cats are routinely contaminated with parasites like roundworms, or it may well be that cats have a more durable time combating off coccidia bacterial infections when they have other bacterial infections.


  1. Companion Animal Parasite Council. “Coccidia.” Retrieved from:

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