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Survey of intestinal parasitism in dogs in the Phoenix metropolitan area

Heather N. CornellCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ 85308.

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Peter R. O'NealCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ 85308.

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Valerie M. WongCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ 85308.

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Donald L. NoahCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ 85308.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the prevalence of selected intestinal parasites in pet dogs and recently apprehended free-roaming (AFR) shelter dogs in the Phoenix metropolitan area and compare those prevalences between the 2 groups.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE Convenience samples of fecal specimens from owned pet dogs from the Phoenix metropolitan area (n = 175) and free-roaming dogs apprehended and admitted to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control and Arizona Humane Society facilities from November 2014 through March 2015 (188).

PROCEDURES Fresh fecal specimens were collected from all dogs; for AFR shelter dogs, specimens were collected within 72 hours after facility admission. Standard centrifugal flotation tests and an ELISA were performed to detect 5 common intestinal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Giardia spp, and Cystoisospora spp). Group comparisons were performed by means of the χ2 test and Rogan-Gladen prevalence estimate.

RESULTS At least 1 of the 5 evaluated parasites was detected in 85 (45.2%) fecal specimens from AFR shelter dogs and 24 (13.7%) specimens from owned pet dogs. This prevalence differed significantly between the groups. Notably, the prevalence of Giardia spp in AFR shelter dogs (n = 76 [40.4%]) was higher than previously reported in the United States.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The prevalence of the evaluated intestinal parasites, particularly of Giardia spp, in AFR shelter dogs was higher than expected. This information is important for veterinarians, animal shelter personnel, pet owners, human health-care providers, and public health officials to consider when devising effective interventions and risk communication efforts against potential zoonotic threats, particularly those relevant to the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the prevalence of selected intestinal parasites in pet dogs and recently apprehended free-roaming (AFR) shelter dogs in the Phoenix metropolitan area and compare those prevalences between the 2 groups.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE Convenience samples of fecal specimens from owned pet dogs from the Phoenix metropolitan area (n = 175) and free-roaming dogs apprehended and admitted to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control and Arizona Humane Society facilities from November 2014 through March 2015 (188).

PROCEDURES Fresh fecal specimens were collected from all dogs; for AFR shelter dogs, specimens were collected within 72 hours after facility admission. Standard centrifugal flotation tests and an ELISA were performed to detect 5 common intestinal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Giardia spp, and Cystoisospora spp). Group comparisons were performed by means of the χ2 test and Rogan-Gladen prevalence estimate.

RESULTS At least 1 of the 5 evaluated parasites was detected in 85 (45.2%) fecal specimens from AFR shelter dogs and 24 (13.7%) specimens from owned pet dogs. This prevalence differed significantly between the groups. Notably, the prevalence of Giardia spp in AFR shelter dogs (n = 76 [40.4%]) was higher than previously reported in the United States.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The prevalence of the evaluated intestinal parasites, particularly of Giardia spp, in AFR shelter dogs was higher than expected. This information is important for veterinarians, animal shelter personnel, pet owners, human health-care providers, and public health officials to consider when devising effective interventions and risk communication efforts against potential zoonotic threats, particularly those relevant to the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Noah's present address is 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308.

Address correspondence to Dr. Noah (dnoah@midwestern.edu).