Canine intestinal coccidiosis is a cause of diarrhea in young dogs and dogs that are immunocompromised. Reports in the literature indicate that experimental reproduction of clinical coccidiosis with Cystoisospora canis (syn. Isospora canis) is difficult, and few studies have been done with C. canis. Experimental oral infections were attempted in 22, 6- to 8-wk-old female beagles with 5 × 104 (n = 2) or 1 × 105 (n = 20) sporulated C. canis oocysts. Diarrhea was observed in all inoculated dogs. Diarrhea began 2–3 days before oocyst excretion. Five of the 22 dogs were given an anticoccidial (sulfadimethoxine) because of their clinical signs. The mean prepatent period was 9.8 days (range, 9–11 days, n = 22 dogs), and the patent period was 8.9 days (range, 7–18 days, n = 20 dogs). Two dogs exhibiting clinical coccidiosis were examined at necropsy 10 days after infection. Developmental stages of C. canis were present in cells in the lamina propria throughout the entire small intestine in both dogs. Microscopic lesions observed in both of these dogs were villous atrophy, dilation of lacteals, and hyperplasia of lymph nodes in Peyer's patches. Results of bacterial and viral examinations of these 2 dogs were negative, indicating that intestinal coccidiosis was the cause of the diarrhea. Our study indicates that C. canis can be a primary cause of diarrhea in young dogs.

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