Decoquinate Antiprotozoal Agent
Decoquinate belongs to coccidiostat category of drugs which interrupt the life cycle of the parasites in the intestine of animals with coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease caused by a single-celled protozoan parasite Eimeria spp. The life cycle of the parasite is quite complicated. Coccidiosis is a species-specific parasite and every animal (including man) carries a form of it, although not at levels that interfere with activity of digestion. However, when it infects in large numbers, it destroys the cells in the intestinal walls, each time releasing more protozoa into the intestine, infecting the semi-digested food, and attacking new cells.3
Decoquinate is a microcrystalline powder with a slight odor. It is practically insoluble in water and is stable for about 4 years if stored under appropriate conditions. Decoquinate is poorly absorbed in the intestinal tract, and what is absorbed is rapidly cleared from the blood and tissues. The drug acts on the parasites by inhibiting their mitochondrial respiration.3
This drug is used to prevent of coccidiosis in broilers and to control coccidiosis in sheep, goats, and calves. It is usually fed for at least 28 days when development of coccidiosis is likely. It should not be fed to laying chickens or donkeys.1,2
Use of Decoquinate to Treat Coccidiosis in Goats
Decoquinate (Deccox) has been approved to prevent coccidiosis in young goats. The dosage is 0.5 mg per kilogram per day. This dos is mixed with the feed and fed for at least 28 days during periods of exposure to the parasite. It should not be fed to breeding animals or animals producing milk for food.4
Use of Decoquinate to Treat Hepatozoonosis in Dogs
Decoquinate is used to treat hepatozoonosis, a tick-borne protozoal infection of many mammals, including dogs and cats. Although no treatment effectively eliminates the tissue stages of the parasite (H. americanum), treatment with trimethoprim-sulfadiazine, clindamycin, and pyrimethamine followed by long-term administration of decoquinate results in extended survival times and excellent quality of life.5
1. Veterinary pharmacology and therapeutics. H. Richard Adams
2. The Donkey Companion. Sue Weaver
3. Pigeons. Matthew M. Vriends, Tommy E. Erskine, Michele Earle-Bridges
4. Pygmy Goats: Management And Veterinary Care. Lorrie Boldrick DVM, Lydia Hale
5. Treatment of dogs infected with Hepatozoon americanum: 53 cases (1989-1998).
Macintire DK, Vincent-Johnson NA, Kane CW, Lindsay DS, Blagburn BL, Dillon AR. In: J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001 Jan 1;218(1):77-82.