Cryptosporidium Treatment for Dogs

Cryptosporidium treatment options for dogs vary according to the severity of infection present. Cryptosporidium parvum are infectious parasites that are quite similar to Coccidia. These parasites cause symptoms of bloody diarrhea and loss of appetite when they infect susceptible pets. Puppies and dogs with weak immune systems are at highest risk of contracting Cryptosporidium.

However, due to a few differences in Coccidia and Cryptosporidium parvum, all pets suffering from the latter are unresponsive to medicines used to treat Coccidia.

Transmission of Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium oocysts are generally present in the feces of infected animals. Oocysts can survive in the environment and infect healthy animals when they ingest food or water that’s contaminated with these organisms. Pets that are housed in animal shelters are known to be hosts or carriers of the infection.

They may not necessarily show signs or symptoms of infection but they are able to infect other pets due to the occysts present in their feces. These organisms are resistant to bleach and household cleaners and thus thrive in the environment over a long period of time.

Cryptosporidium parvum can also infect humans with weak immune systems. Such infections can turn out to be fatal. It’s thus important to stay well informed about this infection and take precautions to prevent contamination in your home and surroundings.

Diagnosis of Cryptosporidium

Since the symptoms of cryptosporidium are common to other intestinal disorders, the vet will have to conduct several diagnostic tests to confirm the infection. However not all active infections can be diagnosed promptly because cryptosporidium oocysts are very minute and may not be easily detected under a microscope.

Diagnostic Tests Include:

  • Fecal flotation test
  • Biopsy of the intestinal tissue
  • Blood serum exam 
  • Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)

Treatment of Cryptosporidium

If the pet is detected with an active cryptosporidium infection, the vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill the organisms. The dog will also require plenty of supportive care and rest. In some cases the dog will not require medication, particularly if the immune system is strong enough to combat the infection. Some of the drugs that are prescribed to treat the infection include:

If the dog is severely debilitated due to bloody diarrhea, the pet will have to be hospitalized and intravenous fluid therapy will be administered. Apart from this, the dog will be given a high fiber diet, to soothe the gastrointestinal tract.

Antibiotic Medications

Tylosin is a drug classified as a macrolide and is effective against both gram positive and gram negative micro-organisms. Tylosin and Clindamycin are the two drugs that are most commonly used to treat symptoms of cryptosporidium. Clindamycin inhibits the growth of bacteria and is available as tablets, capsules and in liquid form. Antibiotics have to be administered in the appropriate manner. Pet owners should thus read package instructions before administering medication and should avoid overdosing the pet.

Drugs such as Tylosin and Clindamycin shouldn’t be used with other medications because they’re known to have drug interactions. Pet owners should thus inform the vet, if the dog is currently prescribed any other drug. Although these drugs effectively cure active infections, they do have certain side effects. It’s important to discontinue the medication and seek prompt medical help if the pet shows signs of:

  • allergic reactions
  • dark urine
  • fever
  • nausea

Since each dog responds differently to medication, care takers should monitor pets suffering from cryptosporidium and conduct follow up vet checks to prevent a relapse of the infection.