Study: Is there a single-dose treatment for coccidiosis in shelter dogs and cats?

Shelter pets would be a lot better off if there were a single-dose, affordable treatment for coccidiosis, a protozoal infection that causes diarrhea in dogs and cats, particularly in vulnerable puppies and kittens.

At the 2014 Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Conference at the University of Florida, Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Resident Staci Cannon, DVM, presented the results of a study that looked at three different dosages of ponazuril paste in cats and dogs that had confirmed coccidiosis:

  1. 50 mg/kg every 24 hours for 3 days
  2. A single dose of 50mg/kg
  3. A single dose of 20mg/kg

Unfortunately, researchers did not identify an effective single-dose treatment. Instead, Dr. Cannon told the audience, “Results support use of oral ponazuril at 50mg/kg once every 24 hours for three consecutive days for treatment of coccidiosis with follow up fecal flotation. If still infected, treatment should be repeated.”

From the study:


Fecal oocyst counts and identification and fecal consistency scoring was performed pre-treatment (Day 1) and again at Day 3-4 and Day 8.


There were higher proportions of animals with oocyst excretion below the detection limit at both Day 3-4 and Day 8 in the dosage 1 group (dogs 92.9%, cats 87.5%) than in the other two groups (dosage 2, dogs 76.9%, cats 80.0%; dosage 3, dogs 68.8%, cats 47.8%).


Animals with high fecal oocyst counts at Day 1 were significantly more likely to be infected at Day 3-4 (dogs, P<0.001; cats, P=0.013). Fecal consistency score at Day 3-4 was not significantly related to infection status (dogs, P=0.898; cats, P=0.136).


Further studies are warranted to investigate a ponazuril protocol that can safely reduce fecal oocyst burdens in infected dogs and cats to levels below the detection limit.

You can view Dr. Cannon’s presentation in the video below; her slides are available in PDF form here.