All recommendations stated here are what we do to care for our own personal dogs, but we cannot be held liable for any practices you choose to use on your dog. I recommend you speak with your vet before administering any medication.


I am now convinced that if you raise litters of puppies, you will have cocci at some point. It does not have to do with lack of cleanliness like older literature states. It is just a fact of breeding.  Coccidia is something that is in the intestines of every puppy. When everything is in balance, it is as it should be but when the coccidia goes above a a certain range, the puppies can get an intestinal infection called Coccidiosis.  It is a fairly common infection. if it is verified, your vet will probably prescribe Albon (Comes in liquid or pill).  This treatment costs about $12 and can take up to 2 weeks.   Coccidiosis is frequently referred to as an opportunist – a disease that will develop when other stress factors are present. For example, the highest incidence of coccidiosis is in the first 21 days after a dog has changed owners and moved to a new residence. If a normal animal carries oocysts, it is relatively easy for rapid development when the conditions are right – adverse weather, shipping, dog food changes, new owners, new residence, and other stresses are important.


If you read on the Internet, you will find it is common. We keep our yards and kennels very clean. It is not true that this infection is caused soley by unsanitary conditions. The younger the pup is when it goes home, the more likely it is to succumb to coccidiosis due to the increase in stress level. By 12 weeks of age, a pup is immune to this infection. Coccidia is a microscopic parasite that lives in the lining of the intestinal tract. It can be passed from one dog to another through fecal contamination.

How do puppies get intestinal parasites? Dormant larvae can live in the muscles of adult dogs and can be activated by hormones during pregnancy. They are then transmitted from the mom to her pups before birth or during nursing. Puppies also contract intestinal parasites when they ingest larvae in an environment where any of the following are found: flies, roaches, fleas, rodents, wild birds, etc... Thus, a young pup can take one trip outside to go potty, lick up some wild bird poop and get coccidosis from even that encounter.

What do we do about Coccidiosis?? My number one choice is Ponazuril which is also known as Marquis. Marquis was originally developed to treat EPM in horses. This is an equine protozoan disease, just as cocci is a canine protozoan disease. Breeders use to use Albon to treat their pups, but this is a 2 week treatment; whereas Ponazuril ( = Marquis) is only a 3 day treatment. You can only get this medicine via prescription and you may have to educate your vet on its use in dogs. It is reasonably priced, the puppies love the taste and it is effective. The other positive aspect of Ponazuril is that it can be used as a preventative treatment for cocci; whereas Albon is used after the cocci exists in your pups. As puppies get past 10 to 12 weeks of age, they develop a natural immunity to coccidia and do not show illness if exposed as a young puppy. A fully mature immune system (adult dogs) typically is able to deal with coccidia before it becomes a clinical issue. Coccidia has a 28 day life span as a parasite. It is important to have the Cocci under control in order for your vaccinations to be effective. Other breeders recommend giving the Marquis on Day 4, then 2,4,6,8 and 10 weeks of age by mouth. I have been skipping the day 4 dosage. Roadrunner pharmacy will compound the Marquis and give administration dosages.

Albon is a coccidiostat, while Ponazuril, Baycox, Marquis are coccidiocides.   ‘Stats’ arrest, ‘cides’ kill. Coccidiastats and coccidiocides are both effective. Treating with the ‘cide’ is newer and many veterinarians are either not familiar with the cides or do not want to be the first to use an off label protocol. 

The older protocols using coccidiostats arrest the reproductivity of coccidia, allowing the immune system to ‘catch up’ and eradicate it by flushing it from the body.  The newer protocols that involve using ‘cides’, work by killing off the coccidia, thereby doing the work for the immune system, and doing it more quickly.

Your vet will need to call in the prescription. I use Road Runner Pharmacy at 877-518-4589. It comes in beef, chicken or bacon flavor at no charge.

A second way of treating is using a protozoan medicine for piglets called Baycox. You do not need a prescription and can get it at this site. The literature claims that one dose will kill the cocci for pups and treat your adults 2x per year. From my readings, we will give  .1 ml for every 1 pound of dog of 5% Baycox. If any of the puppies have diarrhea, then we dose mom and puppies for 2 - 3 days and then repeat again in 14 days, for 2 - 3 days.


Coccidiosis is different than the parasites treated by a normal puppy wormer. We do worm our pups with the method described here: http://iamranch.com/pupsworm.htm

Here is what I found on a website that I have often referred to about breeding dogs....




Clinical signs of coccidiosis usually are present or shortly following stress such as weather changes; weaning; overcrowding; long automobile or plane rides; relocation to a new home and new owners; and/or unsanitary conditions. Symptoms or signs of coccidiosis will depend on the state of the disease at the time of observation. In general, coccidiosis affects the intestinal tract and symptoms are associated with it. In mild cases, only a watery diarrhea may be present, and if blood is present in the feces, it is only in small amounts. Severely affected animals may have a thin, watery feces with considerable amounts of intestinal mucosa and blood. Straining usually is evident, rapid dehydration, weight loss and anorexia (off feed) also may be clinically visible. One of the most prevalent canine coccidia is S. tenella and during autopsies of dead animals appears as microscopic muscle cysts in the host animal. Oocysts in the feces of dogs are also microscopic in size and can only be positively identified through lab tests or direct observation under a microscope.

 Here is an article that is written by an online vet. 


Coccidia are a group of protozoan parasites that are extremely common and which infect a wide number of animal species, including dogs, cats, horses, cattle, goats, sheep and chickens --- and many other species of animals, as well.  The groups of coccidians that infect pets include Eimeria, Isospora, Hammondia, Toxoplasma and Neospora.  Of these, the two that are usually referred to as "coccidia" infections are Eimeria and Isospora infections and the rest are generally identified by name, as they are more complex parasites and cause specific disease problems. Eimeria species are more commonly involved in infections in cattle, sheep, horses, etc. and Isospora species are most commonly involved in infection in dogs and cats. So for the purpose of the rest of this note, the enteric (gastrointestinal) forms of Isospora are what will be covered.

The first thing that has to be considered is that coccidosis is very common. It is likely that 30 to 50% of puppies have coccidia in their stools at some time during their first few months of life. These may be coccidia from another species that the puppy or kitten has in the digestive tract due to ingestion of stool, such as rabbit feces, squirrel feces or cat feces (in the case of puppies).  If this is the case it is unlikely that the puppy or kitten will actually have any clinical disease as a result of ingesting the coccidia. In other cases, a puppy or kitten becomes infected with coccidiosis, produces lots of oocysts of coccidia but never has clinical signs of disease such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting or failure to thrive. These pets may never show any clinical signs and without signs it is questionable whether they should be treated or not, although I think that almost all veterinary practitioners go ahead and treat for the infection. Isospora species can also be transmitted through ingestion of intermediate hosts, such as infected mice.

Isospora species that affect dogs include Isospora canis, I. ohioensis, I. neorivolta and I. burrowsi.  The species that affect cats include Isospora felis and Isospora rivolta. These coccidia tend to be pretty species specific, so infection of a puppy or kitten is not thought to be a risk to humans and puppies are not a risk to cats or infected kittens a risk to dogs. It is very likely that if one puppy in a litter has coccidiosis that all puppies are affected. It is extremely difficult to prevent coccidia infections, especially in group situations, so puppies coming from a breeder with coccidia is not an indication of poor sanitation or poor health care practices. It is simply a very common problem.

Coccidia spread when oocysts are shed in the stool of infected pets and then the oocysts are consumed later by another susceptible dog or cat. Since incredible numbers of oocysts are shed from infected pets, the environmental contamination with coccidia oocysts is severe. Puppies and kittens often show signs of illness, usually watery diarrhea, before there are oocysts in their stools, so it sometimes takes several fecal samples to know if a puppy or kitten is infected. In addition, lots of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are infected and are shedding oocysts despite having no clinical signs of infection.

Coccidia are easy to find using standard fecal floatation methods for fecal exams and are often present in sufficient numbers to show up if a small amount of stool is smeared on a glass slide, mixed with a small amount of saline and examined.

When Isospora species cause disease the most common form is watery diarrhea that is very profuse. Many kittens and puppies seem to just leak watery stools as if they have no control at all over their bowel movements, while others have a more "normal" diarrhea. Without treatment, the diarrhea might last for several weeks. With treatment the diarrhea might last several weeks, too --- but it does seem to cut down some on the duration of the diarrhea to treat affected puppies and kittens. The most commonly used medications are sulfonamide antiseptics, such as sulfadimethoxine (Albon Rx, Bactrovet Rx) given at 55mg/kg of body weight initially and then 27.5mg/kg per day for 4 to 7 days. The medication should be given until two days after symptoms of illness have disappeared. Lots of vets substitute trimethoprim/sulfa combination medications (Ditrim Rx, Tribrissen Rx, Bactrim RX) for this sulfadimethoxine, using a dosage of 15mg/lb of the combined product and this seems to work, too. While it is probably impossible to kill all the coccidia in a puppy with clinical disease using medications, it may help reduce the numbers of organisms that littermates and housemates are subjected to and to shorten the duration of clinical signs.

In some cases it does seem like there is resistance to the sulfanomides. I am not sure if this is actually the case, since it is difficult to tell if the medication is working in the first place. However, if this is suspected, alternative medications include ampolium (Corid Rx) and furozolidin (Furoxone Rx).

General cleanliness does not ensure that infections will not occur, but removal of contaminated stool reduces the potential for infection. The oocysts are supposed to be pretty resistant to most disinfectants and things like steam cleaning or flame guns may be necessary to actually kill the oocysts, which is impractical for most situations.  Keeping access to mice down (especially for cats) is also a good idea.

So the direct answers to your questions are that most of the time all littermates are infected. It is not likely that other species will be affected. The organism is spread in the stool, so keeping non-infected pets away from the stool of infected pets is helpful but if they share a common environment it is highly likely that infection will occur. The infection may or may not cause clinical disease and treatment is generally considered to be necessary only for pets showing clinical signs.

I hope this information is helpful.


All recommendations stated here are what we do to care for our own personal dogs, but we cannot be held liable for any practices you choose to use on your dog. I recommend you speak with your vet before administering any medication.


When it comes to Giardia in the kennel, the concern is less about treatment and more about the long term plan to manage it. Giardia is one of those parasites that always seem to be waiting for the perfect time to strike. In a kennel, this time is usually after weaning and right around the time the puppies get to their new home - both inconvenient times for a breeder.

What is Giardia

Giardia is a tiny parasite, one-celled protozoa that is hard to diagnose. They can be difficult to see under the microscope and take a trained eye to identify them accurately. Screening tests are also available, such as SNAP® Giardia Test Kit. In these tests, the feces is mixed with the solution, placed in a well and then “snapped” down to start the test, which checks for a protein from the Giardia organism. Snap tests are useful as a piece of the puzzle, not as a definitive test. Though negative tests are true negatives, false positives are very common and may be deceiving. If you have a positive snap test and you’re not sure if it’s correct, it may be helpful to send it to the lab for more accurate diagnosis.

Recommended treatment

Metronidazole has traditionally been used to treat Giardia, but lately there has been resistance - one study shows only 60% efficacy. The new treatment of choice is using Fenbendazole (Safeguard®) which is 96% effective when used 6 days in a row. Bathing is also important. Giardia oocysts are directly infective, meaning the dog passes them in the stool and can immediately contract the disease if they ingest the Giardia again. Bathe the dog with VET BASICS® Puppy and Kitten Care Shampoo on days 3 and 5 of treatment. Giardia is sticky and will stay on the hair coat, particularly the back legs, so concentrate on the back half of the body. If you don’t bathe them, they can just re-infect themselves while grooming, making your treatment ineffective.

Since Giardia is stubborn, kennels should be scrubbed with a degreaser or a good detergent. Flaming the surface of the kennel is also effective, especially for contaminated walls in metal kennels. Simply pass the flame over the surface - you don’t need to melt anything or damage the equipment. The heat causes the Giardia cyst to pop and die.

Long term control

Long-term control starts with the mother. When she is heavily pregnant, the stress will decrease her resistance to parasites. Using Fenbendazole three days in a row after day 50 of gestation will decrease the shedding of the Giardia organism and is helpful in preventing the transfer of other parasites to the puppies. Bathing the mother before whelping is also helpful when fighting the problem. Alternatively, some breeders will clip the hair on the back legs and belly to remove the oocysts the mom carries on her hair. Either technique is effective. The goal is mom not giving Giardia to puppies and we don’t have to get Giardia back out of them.

For puppies, deworming three days in a row with Safeguard® at 6 weeks of age is also good prevention. This helps eliminate any Giardia that may have found their way in the baby and is enough to provide effective prevention.

With all parasites, you want to think long-term control. If you just treat the puppies without considering where the parasite is coming from, you’ll eventually get resistance that overwhelms your medication. Every year you should have fewer and fewer parasite numbers in your kennel. Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia and Giardia should all be accounted for in your preventative program. If you have any questions about parasite control, feel free to give us a call!


– frustrating and costly to deal with!
Campylobacteriosis is an infectious diarrheal disease that’s
found in both animals and people. Campylobacter can be found
in 20 to 30% of dogs or cats with diarrhea, and 10% of the
normal dogs or cats in an infected cattery, kennel or humane/
rescue kennel. It’s also referred to as “Show Crud” since it’s very
common in show dogs.
Transmission to Neonates:
The bacteria are shed in the feces of infected and asymptomatic carrier animals are the biggest
issue in kennel or cattery. The most common way campylobacter is transmitted is by ingesting
feces contaminated food and water. Many chicken flocks and birds are natural reservoirs, infected
but showing no signs of illness. Campylobacter is easily spread through an infected water
source or raw meats especially chicken. Puppies or kittens under six months of age are the most
susceptible. Dogs and cats over 6 months are quite resistant and may become asymptomatic
carriers, keeping the organism in the cattery or kennel.
Clinical Picture:
Neonates often break with the disease in the weaning period or shortly after arriving at a rescue or kennel. Recently
Campylobacter has started affecting puppies 4 weeks of age. They eat nurse and drink but are lethargic and have
mucoid progressing to diarrhea with blood tinge. Clinical signs vary from mild to severe depending on the stress level
of the neonate. We may see loose feces, watery diarrhea or bloody mucoid diarrhea. This makes the owner worry
about Parvo, but quickly realize it is not the same. Unlike many viral infections, puppies and kittens generally do not
have a fever, vomit or lose their appetite. This helps you distinguish Campylobacter from Parvovirus or Panleukopenia.
In humans, Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States. The best
prevention is hand washing with soap and water. Some studies have even shown soap to be superior to antibacterial
products, which means mechanical washing is important!
There are many different treatments available that have shown varying amounts of success. You should talk to your
veterinarian to find the best option for your dogs. You need to keep them on the medication for a minimum of 21 days
to clear Campylobacter - we don’t want to create carriers by stopping treatment too early. In addition to treatment,
electrolytes are especially important with any diarrhea to prevent dehydration and this is one disease probiotics have
helped speed recovery!
• Antibiotics such as azithromycin (Zithromax®) or erythromycin are the best choice for eliminating the symptoms if it’s
given early in the illness. Azithromycin (Zithromax®) 5 mg/lb daily for 3days then every 3 days for three treatments.
• Erythromycin is recently available in the powder form and should be given 10mg/lb, twice a day.
• Cephalexin at 15 mg/lb twice daily has also been used successfully.
• Tylan® at 10mg/lb given twice a day can be given orally or mixed in the water, using it as the only water source. You need to keep them on the medication for a minimum of 21 days to clear Campylobacter - we don’t want to create carriers by stopping treatment too early.
• Baytril® has been effective, but fluoroquinolones are contraindicated due to the cartilage damage that may occur with long term use in neonates. Avoid using Baytril in puppies and never use it longer than one week in neonates.
• Chloramphenicol has been used effectively in humans, but has not been reliable in dogs.
• Lab studies show sensitivity to gentamicin, neomycin, clindamycin, and tetracycline, however, resistance to tetracycline is high and should not be used.
• Ineffective antimicrobials are penicillins, ampicillin, polymyxin B, trimethoprim, and vancomycin and should not be used.
• Probiotics have been helpful in preventing and in treatment of puppies. Kennels have used probiotics in mom 30 days before whelping and after whelping. It has shown benefits in eliminating the carrier moms from transferring Campy to puppies.
Whole kennel treatment:
We need to remember there are carriers in the kennel or cattery that are seeding the bacteria to the neonate. In treating the whole kennel, we can target the asymptomatic carriers and eliminate the bacteria out of the kennel.
• Tylan or lincomycin can be used in the nursery or whelping area. Both can be used in a self medicater for automatic watering systems or added to water bowls.
• Tetracycline in the water of non-pregnant adults has been tried, but monitoring is necessary as resistance is quickly seen. Never use tetracycline in neonates or pregnant moms as it will stain the non-erupted teeth brown.

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