Avian Coccidiosis

a doctor holding a sign that reads Avian Coccidiosis

Avian Coccidiosis is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Eimeria. These parasites are commonly found in poultry and other birds as well as pet birds, and can cause severe damage to their intestines and other organs. Vaccines are available for some species, but usually don’t provide complete protection from all forms of this disease.

Doves, Pigeons and Parakeets are most affected by this disease. Livestock like turkey and chickens can also be affected by it.

Symptoms of Avian Coccidiosis

The Symptoms of Coccidiosis can vary depending on the bird species and the type of Eimeria present. Generally, birds infected with coccidiosis can have a variety of symptoms including:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Dehydration
  • Anemia
  • Listlessness
  • Weakness

In more severe cases, bloody stools or respiratory distress can be common.

Diagnosing Avian Coccidiosis

Diagnosing Avian Coccidiosis can be done by examining a bird’s feces. The feces should be freshly collected and checked for the presence of oocysts, which are the egg-like structures that are produced by Eimeria parasites. A microscope is needed to see these oocysts, because they are very small. A laboratory test known as a fecal flotation can also be used to detect the presence of Eimeria oocysts in their feces.

Stages of Avian Coccidiosis

The Stages of Avian Coccidiosis involve four distinct phases that may occur in a bird’s intestine.

Stage 1

The first stage is ingesting infective oocysts, which are later passed out in their feces and can survive for weeks in the environment.

Stage 2

During the second stage, sporulation occurs inside the host’s intestine, allowing the parasite to mature and multiply.

Stage 3

In the third stage, the newly formed oocysts are released into the environment and can infect other birds.

Stage 4

The fourth and final stage involves re-infection of the host bird with the oocysts, leading to a new wave of symptoms and disease.

Treating Avian Coccidiosis

Treating Avian Coccidiosis typically involves the use of medications known as coccidiostats. These medications interfere with the life cycle of the parasite, preventing it from reproducing. Examples of common coccidiostats include sulfonamides, amprolium, decoquinate, and monensin. Supportive care such as increasing ventilation and making sure that clean water and food are available is important for helping your birds recover.

Preventing Avian Coccidiosis

Preventing Avian Coccidiosis can be done through careful management of your bird’s environment. This includes providing clean water, food and bedding, as well as controlling temperature and humidity levels. Regular deworming or vaccination will be necessary for some species in order to reduce the risk of infection. It’s also important to practice good biosecurity measures to reduce the spread of disease between birds.

Additional Information

Avian Coccidiosis is a highly contagious disease and can be fatal if left untreated. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms, as well as the methods for preventing and treating this disease. If you suspect that your bird might have Avian Coccidiosis, it’s best to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.