Coccidia are unicellular intestinal parasites found in a variety of domestic and farm animals. In many animal species, different species of coccidia occur with varying pathogenicity. They range from apathogenic species to highly pathogenic ones, which can lead to watery and haemorrhagic diarrhoea if there is a heavy infestation. Young animals are particularly affected here. In dogs and cats, especially puppies and kittens at 3 to 4 weeks of age can fall ill.
Coccidia have different predilection sites in the intestine, so that dissection may also provide an indication of coccidiosis and the respective coccidia species. Eimeria species are found in ungulates, poultry and rabbits. Isospora is a parasite in dogs and cats, and in pigs, both Eimeria and Isospora occur, with Isospora suis often causingdiarrhoea in piglets.
Tortoise intranuclear coccidiosis (TINC) is a severe disease in tortoises with high morbidity and mortality rates. TINC has already been detected in different tortoises and box turtles in North America and Europe. Clinical signs include lethargy, significant weight loss, erosive rhinitis, dyspnoea and occasionally skin lesions. Infections are generally systemic. These coccidia are most frequently detected in the intestine, pancreas, liver and kidney. However, they can also be found in the Eustachian tube, in macrophages of the spleen, in the middle ear, lungs and stomach. In live animals with rhinitis, they can also be detected in nasal lavage samples.