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TDK conference 2012

Can housing environment affect the worm infections of dogs?
Vágó Eszter - year 5
SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Parasitology and Zoology
Supervisor: Dr. Róbert Farkas


The aim of the study was to investigate whether the habitat of dogs can affect their worm infections. Forty adult dogs were involved in the study of which 10 were kept only in gardens, 10 lived in gardens and they were taken for walks regularly. Ten animals were kept in flats in Budapest and they were also taken for walks a few times a day, and 10 dogs lived outdoors in villages. The owners agreed to complete a questionnaire concerning their animals and they gave permission to collect faecal samples of their pets in every three months and to treat the dogs if they are infected with worms and to verify the efficacy of the drug.

Fresh faecal samples were taken and examined. The faeces were checked for the presence of adult worms with the naked eyes, a standard flotation technique was performed for detecting worm eggs and the Baermann technique was used for detecting the nematode larvae.

A total of 160 samples were examined of which 24 (15.0%) contained eggs or larvae of nematode species. In the majority of the infected dogs (20) one, in three animals two and in a dog three nematode species caused the infection. Trichuris vulpis (12) and Toxocara canis (12) occurred in most of these cases. The larvae of the 'French heartworm', Angiostrongylus vasorum were found in five samples.

At the beginning of the study 10 dogs (25.0%) were infected with nematodes, most of them (4) were held in flats in Budapest, one infected dog was kept in a garden without walking. Three month later 10.0%) of the animals (4) were infected; three of them were kept in a village. Although two infected dogs were treated earlier with Drontal Plus T. vulpis and T. canis eggs were found in their faeces. Six animals had parasitic infection during the third faecal examination carried out in spring. Four of them were kept in rural environment and two dogs were taken from gardens for walks regularly. After the last sampling four dogs were found to be positive, three of them were kept in the countryside.

It can be concluded that dogs taken for walks and those ones which were kept in a village were more often infected with nematodes than the others. The relatively frequent occurrence of A. vasorum draws attention to the fact that based on faecal examination should make decision about the number of anthelmintic treatments in dogs per year and the drugs used in order to protect the health of dogs and the humans from zoonotic helminths.

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