As a pet owner, it is your responsibility for taking good care of your feline companion. This includes taking them to the veterinarian for regular checkups. It is vital to do so to prevent common illnesses such as Coccidia in cats. Indeed, this condition is way more common than you think. Similarly, Giardiasis is also a disease common in cats. In this post, we'll delve deeper to understand these common illnesses- Giardiasis and Coccidiosis.

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Giardiasis And Coccidiosis- Understanding These Illnesses

Whether you have a cat or kittens, you should have a solid understanding of the common feline illnesses. This is needed to ensure that you take prompt action and seek treatment before they cause severe complications and become life-threatening.

Here, it is vital to know that compared to adult cats, kittens are more susceptible to illnesses. It is largely because of kittens don't have fully developed immune systems. The two prevalent illnesses are:

Both of these illnesses occur because of intestinal parasites. To be precise, Giardiasis is an infection that results from the protozoan parasite Giardia duodenalis. This parasite infects kittens when they ingest contaminated water, food or even feces that may contain Giardia cysts.

Likewise, Coccidia in cats is an equally common health problem. Protozoan parasites of the genus Coccidia cause it. Kittens contract coccidiosis via the ingestion of oocysts shed in feces of infected animals.

Giardiasis and Coccidiosis Symptoms

To begin with, both illnesses have some similarities in their symptoms. This makes it difficult for cat owners to diagnose on their own. Here is an overview of symptoms of Giardiasis and Coccidia in cats:


This symptom is common among kittens with Giardiasis and Coccidiosis. However, the diarrhea caused by Giardiasis has a foul smell and is more watery. Plus, it contains blood and mucus. Furthermore, kittens may have bowel movements frequently because of irritated intestines. However, Coccidia in cats results in more mucous-like diarrhea. The severity may be mild to severe, depending on the extent of infection.

Weight Loss

Another common symptom is weight loss. Diarrhea can lead to poor nutrient absorption in the body, which can further result in weight loss. So, even if the kitten has increased or a normal appetite, they may fail to gain weight. In fact, you may feel that your kitten is malnourished.

Lethargic Behavior

If your kitten is a playful and active pet, you are likely to spot this symptom immediately due to the change in their behavior. Giardiasis and makes them lazy. Diarrhea and malnutrition can lower their energy levels, and eventually, they become lethargic.

Other symptoms specific to each infection are:

Poor Condition of the Coat

This is common in kittens with Giardiasis. Their coast may appear unkempt and dull because of nutritional deficiencies. This is usually caused by the parasite's interference with their nutrient absorption.


Kittens with Giardiasis may experience nausea and vomiting. Vomits may occur because of the stomach and intestine irritation caused by the parasite. Besides this, it is also a secondary response to the gastrointestinal upset.

Bloody Stools

Coccidia in cats may cause bloody stools. This is indicative of the damage to the intestinal lining caused by the parasites. Depending on the infection's severity, the stool can have a lot of blood or subtle streaks of it.

Diagnosis Followed by Treatments

Now that you are well-aware of the potential symptoms, let us take a look at on the steps for diagnosing these issues in cats

Fecal Testing

The diagnosis of Giardiasis and Coccidiosis is primarily done via fecal testing. This helps detect parasite cysts and oocysts presence. So, once you think your kitten has any of these illnesses, make sure to take them to the veterinarian.

The veterinarian will collect the fecal sample of your pet and examine it using a microscope. They will evaluate it to determine the presence of these parasites.

However, in some situations, the vet may also suggest specialized tests. These include the following:

●Fecal flotation
●Antigen Test
These tests may be required for accurate detection of the parasites. For instance, to detect and diagnose Giardiasis, the veterinarian may opt for a zinc sulfate test along with a direct smear examination. It helps detect Giardia antigens in the feces.

For Coccidiosis, veterinarians may perform a fecal floatation test using a concentrated solution to separate oocysts from fecal debris for microscopic examination. Alternatively, immunofluorescence assays or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests may be utilized for more sensitive detection of coccidian parasites.

Treatment for Giardiasis and Coccidiosis

When your cat is diagnosed with any of these illnesses, the veterinarian may treat them with antiparasitic medication. Take a look here at the medications used for treating these illnesses:


This is an antibiotic & antiprotozoal medication. It is widely used for treating Giardiasis in cats. This medication interferes with the DNA synthesis of the parasite, which kills it. The medication is orally administered, but you may be asked to give it to your kitten for several days. It is much needed to eliminate the infection effectively.


This is an anthelmintic medication. It is widely used for treating Coccidiosis. Like Metronidazole, this medication disrupts the metabolism of the coccidian parasites. Fenbendazole is typically administered orally for several days to a week, depending on the severity of the infection.

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Supportive Care

Additionally, you may have to provide your kitten with supportive care. This is necessary for symptom management and prevention of complications. These include:

Fluid Therapy: Kittens with severe diarrhea and dehydration may require fluid therapy to restore electrolyte balance and prevent dehydration. Intravenous fluids may be administered to replenish lost fluids and nutrients.

Dietary Management: Kittens with Giardiasis or Coccidiosis may benefit from a bland or easily digestible diet to reduce gastrointestinal irritation and promote recovery. Veterinary prescription diets or homemade diets may be recommended to support the kitten's nutritional needs during treatment.

Environmental Management: It's essential to thoroughly clean and disinfect the kitten's living environment to prevent re-infection and transmission of parasites. Wash bedding, litter boxes, and surfaces with a veterinary-recommended disinfectant to eliminate parasite cysts or oocysts.

Veterinary Attention Is Crucial

It's crucial for kittens suffering from illnesses like Giardiasis and Coccidiosis to receive immediate veterinary attention. This is much needed for complication prevention and to facilitate recovery.

If you fail to seek medical help, these infections can lead to severe dehydration, malnutrition, and potentially life-threatening complications. Veterinary guidance is essential for accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and monitoring of the kitten's progress throughout the recovery process. By following veterinary recommendations and providing comprehensive care, kittens can overcome Giardiasis and Coccidiosis and regain their health and vitality.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, Giardiasis or Coccidia in cats is highly dangerous. These illnesses can lead to severe symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and weight loss. Your feline friend may feel lethargic and malnourished. Therefore, it is vital to take immediate action and ensure they get the proper treatment to help them get back on the path of recovery and healthy living.