Fact Sheet No. 10: Bovine Coccidiosis


Coccidiosis causes significant economic losses in cattle. Although most cattle are exposed to coccidia and infected, most of the infections are self-limiting and mild or asymptomatic. The parasites that cause this condition are members of the species Eimeria, and the most important of this species for causing disease in cattle are Eimeria bovis and Eimeria zuernii.

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Prevent coccidiosis in calves-It Can be Deadly (By: Heather Smith Thomas)

Adult cattle are rarely affected by coccidiosis, but they pass the parasite eggs, called oocysts, in their manure. They serve as a source of infection for calves who have not yet gained enough immunity to fight off this protozoan parasite. Calves can become ill if they pick up large numbers of oocysts.

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Coccidiosis in Calves and Stocker Cattle

Coccidiosis is an infection of the small and large intestine caused by the protozoan parasites, Eimeria zuernii and Eimeria bovis. Without any preventive program the parasites invade the mucosal lining of the small and large intestines.

Calves become infected by consuming the oocysts from fecal-contaminated pasture, feed, water, and bedding or by licking the hair of other contaminated calves. The parasite can remain viable for months in soil, water and vegetation, thriving in a moist, moderate, airy environment.

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The fecal smear, a test for worms, giardia, and coccidia.

Dr. Greg shows how to do a smear and float to diagnose coccidiia, giardia, and worms.
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Control of cryptosporidiosis in neonatal calves: use of halofuginone lactate in two different calf rearing systems


To date there is no effective treatment for bovine cryptosporidiosis. This study describes the use of halofuginone lactate in preventing cryptosporidiosis in naturally infected neonatal calves on a dairy farm with a high prevalence of infection. The animals were kept in two different calf rearing systems. A randomized double-blind trial was carried out with 32 naturally infected calves, divided into four groups. The two prophylactic halofuginone lactate treated groups were kept in either individual or group pens.


Coccidiosis and The Three-Week Old Calf

Coccidia seem to be everywhere on nearly every dairy farm. One of the reasons
for this is that the eggs or oocysts that are shed in an infected animal’s manure stay
alive for a long time. In damp, dark and dirty conditions they survive for years.
It’s reasonable to assume that any place where there have been dairy heifers and
cows in the past ten years is thoroughly contaminated with coccidia oocysts.
Nearly every heifer calf is exposed to them by the time she is a day or two old.

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