Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Coccidiosis (Farmer Factsheet)

Contributor(s): Mike Taylor , Paul Wood

Royal Dick School Veterinary Studies logo

  • Coccidiosis is disease caused by tiny protozoan parasites (mainly of the genus Eimeria), which develop and reproduce within the lining cells of the gut of a range of different hosts.
  •  All animals have their own coccidia species and will harbour coccidia without showing disease.
  • Clinical disease may be seen in times of starvation, debilitation or other stresses which affect the immune system.
  • In livestock, disease due to coccidia is essentially a consequence of intensification. 
  • With a few exceptions, coccidia are also host-specific so that each coccidia species only infects one host species. This means that cattle coccidia only infect cattle; sheep coccidia only infect sheep and so on.
  • Consequently, a common myth that poultry manure spread onto land may cause coccidia infection in grazing cattle or sheep is completely unfounded.

How is coccidiosis spread?

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What are the effects of coccidiosis?

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How do I confirm the presence of coccidiosis?

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What risk factors influence disease occurring?

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What steps should I take to prevent coccidiosis?

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What treatments are available?

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