PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Coccidia is single-celled parasite that can live in the intestinal tract of your cat. Sometimes but rarely it can occur in dogs or puppies. It occurs primarily in felines, more specifically in kittens. Older cats should be able to ward it off but they can be affected, especially if they are vulnerable with a weaker immune system due to stress or a previous illness.
Cats who hunt can contract it from infected rodents or from ingesting soil containing coccidia or infected cat feces. This is the only way to contract the disease. Fortunately, coccidiosis is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from one animal to another or to humans.
The major symptom is diarrhea. If you suspect a problem, call your vet immediately. Severe cases can lead to vomiting, dehydration, weight loss and even death. Prevention includes keeping the litter box clean and changing it frequently. Keep your cat from hunting. Keep your cat or kitten hydrated with fresh water daily. Keep them on a healthy diet. Avoid any factors that can create a stressful environment for your cat/kitten. Since they are the most vulnerable, and to keep them healthy, always have your kittens safely examined with a clean bill of health by your vet.
Reported By Nan Talleno, KYW Newsradio