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Hudson's Malamutes - Frequently Asked Questions

28. Coccidia - Diarrhea & Vomiting with Siberian Huskies & Alaskan Malamutes - Pups/Adults

Coccidia (Coccidiosis) is a one celled organism that multiply in the intestinal tracts detectable on routine fecal tests in the same way that worms are but coccidia are not worms and they are not visible to the naked eye. This is most common in puppies and kittens less than six months of age. In most cases the pups are four to twelve weeks of age and do not have an immunity to the organism yet. Pups or older dogs that systems are stressed in other ways (Change in Ownership, stress of the weaning pup, move or family problems(christmas) causing stress on pup/dog or other diseases and worms)

Coccidia is caught by receiving it from there mothers, through feces in the ground and the mother brings back to the pups and then are swallowed when a mom/pup licks/grooms the dirt off, by Mice, flies, Cockroaches or other insects that are carrying the coccidia from one place to another. For instance Mice, Flies or other bugs that have come in contact with feces are eaten by a pup/cat/dog and then the coccidia is caught by ingestion and transmitted that way. This is a common parasite and is not necessarily a sign of poor husbandry.

"Puppies have NO immunity to coccidia" and they have to "build their immunity". And this takes time. This means pups at young ages less than sixteen weeks of age are very susceptible to it. A change in their life can cause stress which can cause coccidia that was otherwise dormant to start reproducing.

THERE IS NO CURE FOR COCCIDIA. Pups can only build immunity to Coccidia. Treatments today do not eliminate or kill coccidia- it stops coccidia from reproducing to give your pup enough time to build its own natural immunity to it. Pups with a low coccidia count or coccidia that are not reproducing at the time of the fecal vet exam coccidia can not be diagnosed at that time. General, symptoms disappear spontaneously within two weeks without treatment in most cases. And coccidia can be self eliminating with no treatment.

One major symptom of Coccidia is soft/runny stool. Blood and a mucous may be present in there stool. Diarrhoeic and yellowish stools, with red or digested blood(black). Severely affected animals may also vomit, not want to eat, and become dehydrated. Pups that become severely dehydrated can die very quickly. So please be aware of sever cases to seek vet help. Also be aware that most disinfectants including bleach do not work well against coccidia. Also coccidia is not killed by freezing temps and can still be caught in freezing temps. Coccidia is best in wet conditions and areas with too little sun. Coccidia being so hard to control without having a proper defense to kill the coccidia bacteria the best defense for the breeder is to concentrate all efforts on the pups environment and keeping it as clean as possible. Coccidia can not be caught and infect a human.

Diarrhea is and it is NOT a disease- it is a symptom of many different diseases or illnesses or stresses. Vomiting is defined as the forceful ejection of gastric and occasionally, proximal small intestine content through the mouth. All dogs will occasionally vomit. In the wild they feed their young with regurgitated food and so vomiting is physiologically almost normal under certain circumstances. Because humans hate to vomit we assume that the same applies to our pets. Being concerned about the frequency and cause should be the main concern in many instances. At one time or another every dog has a bout of vomiting or diarrhea. Many mild cases of diarrhea and upset stomach can be resolved quickly with simple treatments such as a dose of Imodium AD. A minimum number of tests can be performed at your vet to rule out certain parasites such as worms and infections like coccidia that could be a cause of diarrhea and vomiting in small pups that immunities have not had a chance to build. Some of the minor causes of diarrhea include change in food/diet, stomach or intestinal viruses, intestinal parasites(worms, coccidia, giardia), and dietary indiscretions(such as eating "CAT" food, garbage, grass, house plants, socks/underwear, children's toys, etc.) Dogs/pups could have eaten too much, too fast or exercised too soon after eating, are overly excited, nervous or stressed out for some reason. A new home, people kissing your pups face, picking/waking you up, putting you where you don't want to be, and just all out being taken away from mom and everything known can make "me" (pup) feel sick to my stomach. So stress can cause diarrhea. If you have changed your pups food recently please allow time for your pup to adjust to the new food. The best way is to gradually change food over by mixing the food the pup/dog has been on with half of the new food you have decided to feed. Changing food will most likely ALWAYS cause diarrhea in the Alaskan Malamute & Siberian Husky Breeds. One of the main medical issues with these breeds is Sensitive Stomach. Even as adults. So always be aware that this may be the cause for your pups/dogs diarrhea.

Many people overreact and get nervous with there new pup. If your pup is not showing other signs of illness, you can save yourself a trip to the vet if you wait 12 hours and do the following:

Take away all food and water so that the irritated intestinal tract can settle down. Feeding the problem can cause lesions in your pups stomach/intestine/colon and make your puppy sicker and cause more diarrhea. Nothing makes a vomiting dog vomit more than a lot of water at the same time or a large meal when you pups stomach isn't feeling well. You may allow the dog/pup to drink very small amounts, and in this short time, if your dog is otherwise healthy, you do not have to worry about dehydration. If the diarrhea resolves, after 24 hours, you may give your dog very small amounts of a bland food, cooked chicken mixed with an equal amount of cooked rice or cooked oatmeal with a little yogurt will help your pups stomach settle. Yogurt puts the good bacteria back that the diarrhea has stripped away. This approach allows the body's healing mechanisms to correct the problem and is the best defense for your pup.

Observe your pup until the symptoms have cleared. If your pups behavior and activity otherwise normal just observe for now. Try to identify the cause of the problem. Could your pup have eaten something that upset him/her? Has your dog been wormed lately? Watch how your dog vomits or eliminates so you can describe it to your vet if symptoms persist. Examine the stool or vomit. Watery diarrhea is not a good symptom. Soft pudding like stool is most likely a cause of stress or other short term symptoms. It should not look oily or smell like infection or anything out of the ordinary. Blood should NOT be present. If you are unsure or any of these things occur take your pup to the vet and have a stool check and vet exam done ASAP. Below are a few other things that if symptoms occur the pup/dog should be seen by a vet in a timely manner.

  • Blood in vomit or stool or both
  • Vomiting and diarrhea together(pups/dogs can dehydrate very rapidly)
  • Vomit Looks like stool/bile (Pup may have an obstruction)
  • Your pup is vomiting many times over a short period of time
  • If you think your pup/dog has gotten into poison or something that could be fatal if swallowed by you... Or if you suspect clothing such as underwear/socks or large pieces of chew toys are missing and can't be accounted for. Always be aware of what goes into your pups mouth.
  • If vomiting or diarrhea persists for more than two days
  • If your pup/dog has a fever for any reason
  • If your pup/dog is loosing a lot of weight
  • If your pup/dogs stomach is getting larger and they are trying to vomit but can not.
  • If your pup/dog does not have energy or is not acting itself.
  • If your pup/dog is in any other pain or is having any other issues.

Informative links:
http://www.swiftwaterfarms.com/swiftwater/p21Coccidia http://www.petandgarden.com/dogs/dogs36.php http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_coccidia.html

Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O Lord, but to you goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
© 2004-2013 Jolene Houghtaling
Hudsons Huskies and Malamutes
P.O. Box 241
Baxter, TN 38544
(931) 432-0955
Pups@HudsonsMalamutes.com