Coccidiosis in shelter dogs and cats: Is there a single-dose treatment? [Study]

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.”

You can support shelter medicine education and research by making a gift to Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program today! 

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.

Presentation on Ponazuril Use For Coccidiosis in Shelter Animals

You can view Dr. Cannon’s presentation in the video below.