Coccidiosis

Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by coccidian protozoa. The disease spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces or ingestion of infected tissue. Diarrhea, which may become bloody in severe cases, is the primary symptom. Most animals infected with coccidia are asymptomatic, but young or immunocompromised animals may suffer severe symptoms and death.

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While coccidia can infect a wide variety of animals, including humans, birds, and livestock, they are usually species-specific. One well-known exception is toxoplasmosis caused by Toxoplasma gondii.

Humans may first encounter coccidia when they acquire a puppy or kitten that is infected. Other than T. gondii, the infectious organisms are canine and feline-specific and are not contagious to humans, unlike the zoonotic diseases.

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Coccidiosis is a species specific parasite,and every animal including man carries a form of it,although not at levels that interface with activity or digestion. In pigeon ,coccidiosis is an intestinal disease caused by a single-celled protozoan parasite,usually Eimeria labbeana or E. columbarum. The life cycle of the parasite is quite complicated,but basically,when it infects in large numbers, it destroys the cell in the intestinal walls,each time releasing more protozoa into the intestine, infecting the semi digested food, and attacking new cells,Seriously infected pigeons rapidly lose weight and their droppings  become watery

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The Parasite has a form called an oocyst that is passed out in the feces. it takes 14 days in a damp and warm environment for oocysts to ripen to where they can develop into true coccidiosis if ingested. They can survive for long periods and are infectious as coccidiosis only when they ripen .Pigeons can be infected only by ripe oocysts of pigeon coccidia, and not by those of any other animals.

Coccidiosis is a significant disease for pigeons, especially affecting the young birds. It can be fatal or leave the bird with compromised digestion. There are bird feed mixes that contain a coccidiostat to manage exposure levels and control disease. In an outbreak, coccidiocidal medications are given. Examples are toltrazuril (Baycox) or amprolium. After multiple infections, surviving chickens become resistant to the coccidia.

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