Prevalence of zoonotic helminths in Italian house dogs
Keywords:Owned dogs, helminths, zoonoses, public health, Italy
Introduction: Dogs may act as potential sources of zoonotic parasites, e.g. intestinal helminths like Toxocara spp., Ancylostoma spp., Echinococcus spp. In particular circumstances, the environment contaminated by parasitic elements represents a source of infection for people and animals. The present study has evaluated the presence of zoonotic helminths in house dogs from central and north-eastern Italy.
Methodology: Stool samples from 493 dogs were examined by a qualitative copromicroscopic technique and differences in prevalence of zoonotic parasites were statistically examined in relation to canine individual data.
Results: 48/493 (9.7%) were positive for at least one parasite. Helminths recovered were Trichuris vulpis (5.5%), Toxocara canis (4.3%), Ancylostoma spp. (0.6%) and Eucoleus aerophilus (0.4%), while no cestodes were detected. Age and living with other dogs resulted risk factors for T. canis infection.
Conclusions: The health risk associated with the occurrence of parasitic nematodes in privately owned dogs, along with the current anthelmintic treatment plans, are discussed.
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