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Coccidiosis (Coccidia)

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Coccidiosis is caused by small parasites that multiply inside the host cells, mainly in the intestinal tract. There are three types, Eimeria, Isospora and Cryptosporidia.

Disease is common and widespread in sucking piglets but is seen occasionally in growing and finishing pigs and boars when they are moved or housed into continually populated and infected pens.

Coccidiosis should be suspected if there is a diarrhoea problem in sucking pigs from 7-21 days of age that does not respond particularly well to antibiotics.


  • None
  • Sows are carriers
  • Diarrhoea is the main clinical sign in early stages.
  • In later stages the faeces vary in consistency and colour from yellow to grey green, or bloody according to the severity of the condition.
  • Dehydration is common.
  • Wasting.
Weaners & Growers
  • Poor growth.
  • Sloppy diarrhoea may be seen.
  • Faeces / diarrhoea may occasionally be tinged with blood.

Causes / Contributing factors

  • Dirty pens.
  • Poor hygiene in farrowing pens.
  • Poor wet floor surfaces.
  • Creep feeding on the floor.
  • Flies.
  • Dried faeces behind the sow in lactation.
  • Continually used houses without cleaning and disinfection.


Faeces samples for laboratory examination should be taken from semi-recovered pigs rather than pigs with scour. Diagnosis is best made by submitting a live pig to the laboratory for histological examination of the intestinal wall. Isospora suis is the most pathogenic of the three types of coccidia.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to find out more about this disease, including treatment, management control and prevention information. The top link is the main article on this disease.