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Prevalence of Various Intestinal Zoonotic Parasites in Dogs of Jammu Region of Jammu and Kashmir

Irfan Ali Shah H. K. Sharma M. A. Shah R. Katoch M. A. Malik
Vol 7(1), 116-120

Study was conducted to determine the prevalence of various zoonotic intestinal parasites among the dogs of Jammu region. A total of 105 faecal samples of dogs (50 pet and 55 stray) were screened for Taenid eggs and 6 (5.71%) were found positive. The prevalence of the eggs was highest in stray dogs (16%) having access to condemned meat/offal (living near slaughter shops/post mortem areas). None of the samples was found positive from 50 pet dogs. Six suspected dogs were purgated by arecoline hydrobromide and one dog was found positive for Echinococcus granulosus. Twenty dogs, died in road accidents, were necropsied and intestines were examined for various parasites.The intestinal zoonotic parasites viz., Ancylostoma caninum (8/20, 40%), Toxocara canis (3/20, 15%), Taenia hydatigena (2/20, 10%) and Dipylidium caninum (4/20, 20%) were observed.

Keywords : Dogs Zoonotic Parasites


There are approximately 700 million dogs in the world. It is estimated that 75% of them are strays because they roam freely and are mostly free to reproduce (Macpherson et al., 2003). These dogs have numerous parasites which can affect humans also. Such parasites are zoonotic and pose a major threat to human population. Humans have pet and stray dogs around which act as source of infection. Usually these parasites are gastrointestinal in nature which passes their eggs through faeces of dogs which through contaminated soil, water, food etc. infect humans. Parasites can enter the body in various ways, such as via the skin mucosa, and digestive and respiratory tracts (Kaminsky et al., 2004). It has been estimated that 85% of the adult human population has at least one form of parasite living in their bodies (Chorazy and Richardson, 2005). Among the intestinal parasites with zoonotic risk from dogs are Echinococcus Ancylostoma, Toxocara and Dipylidium (Córdoba et al., 2002). There is a lack of information on the epidemiology of intestinal zoonotic parasites infecting dogs in the Jammu region. Thus, we sought to determine the prevalence of intestinal zoonotic parasitic infection in dogs.

Materials and Methods

The research work was carried out at Department of Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology and Veterinary Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, SKUAST-J, R.S. Pura, Jammu. Faecal samples of 105 dogs (50 pet and 55 stray) were collected during study. Samples from stray dogs were collected early in the morning from roads sides in the different localities. Besides this necropsy examination of 20 stray dogs died accidently during the study period was carried out to find the adult parasites/worms in the intestines of dogs in and around the vicinity of suspected stray dog’s population. Faecal samples were first examined macroscopically for the detection of proglottids of cestodes. Faecal samples were screened microscopically for the presence of parasite eggs qualitatively as per the standard techniques and confirmation of eggs was done on the basis of its morphological characteristics (Soulsby, 1982).

After faecal examination, the six suspected dogs from the area of positive faecal samples were purgated one by one with arecoline hydrobromide at the rate of 4mg/kg body weight orally. This was followed by detailed examination of purgate for the presence of Echinococcus granulosus. Gastrointestinal tract of 20 stray dogs that died accidently during the study period were examined for the presence of adult parasite. Different segments of gastrointestinal tract (small intestine and large intestine) were cut and placed in separate dissecting trays and again cut into manageable lengths. Each segment was opened with the help of scissors and washed with running tap water in small dissecting trays. The washed intestinal tract was scraped gently to remove any worm embedded in intestinal mucosa. Worms were picked up with clean brush under dissecting microscope. Helminthes from each segment of the gastrointestinal tract were collected in separate petridishes, fixed, preserved and identified nematodes collected from the gastrointestinal tract were put in glycerine alcohol for clearing; cestodes and trematodes were pressed gently between the two glass slides and fixed in hot formalin and stained with aqueous borax carmine and mounted for identification as described by Soulsby (1982).

Results and Discussion

In the present study, out of a total of 105 feacal samples of dogs examined, 6 were found positive for eggs of the Taeniidae family with overall prevalence of 5.71per cent (Table 1). The prevalence was higher in stray dogs as compared with pet dogs and among stray dogs prevalence of eggs was highest (16%) in dogs having access to condemned meat/offal (living near slaughter shops/post mortem areas) and the same is depicted Table 1. None of the samples was found positive from 50 pet dogs. Das et al., 2009 in similar study also recorded higher prevalence of helminthes in stray dogs as compared to owned dogs of Puducherry. Probable reason of higher prevalence in stray dogs as compared to owned dogs may be due to free roaming habit, lack of deworming, and acquiring contaminated food from the surroundings, on the other hand owned dogs have confined environment, regular deworming and restricted feeding resulting in lower prevalence in owned dogs than stray dogs. The prevalence in the present study was higher as compared to the study of Dyachenko et al., 2008 who in a cross-sectional survey detected Taenid eggs in 54 (0.25%) and 37 (0.34%) canine and feline faecal samples, respectively in domestic dogs and cats from Germany and other European countries. Faecal samples of 21,588 dogs and 10,650 cats routinely submitted to a private veterinary laboratory between June 2004 and June 2005 were examined using the ZnSO4–NaCl flotation method. The high prevalence in present study is because of stray dogs samples contrary to that study.

Table 1: Prevalence of Taenid Eggs in Faeces of Dogs

S. No. Category of Dogs No. of Samples Examined No. of Samples Positive (%)
1 Pet dogs 50 0 (0)
2 Stray dogs collected from residential colonies 30 2(6.67)
3 Stray dogs having access to condemned meat/offal 25 4 (16)
Total 105 6 (5.71)

In case of purgation, in present study five dogs out of six dogs were successfully purgated showing the sensitivity of 83.33 per cent and one dog was found positive for Echinococcus granulosus. The study is in parity with that of Stefanic et al. (2004) who used PCR assay to investigate 131 purged dogs from Kazakhstan. Eighteen dogs harbored Echinococcus spp. ten of them in mixed infections with Taenia spp. Also in present study a sensitivity of 83.33 per cent was found and is in agreement with results of Lahmar et al. (2007) who evaluated different diagnostic techniques in pre-patent E. granulosus infection in experimental dogs and found that arecoline purgation was highly specific but had a sensitivity of only 64 per cent. In the present study, a considerable prevalence of zoonotic importance parasites was recorded viz. eight dogs were positive for Ancylostoma caninum (40%), three for Toxocara canis (15%), two for Taenia hydatigena (10%), and four were positive for Dipylidium caninum (20) which indicates a high risk of parasitic zoonoses infection to humans. The study is in agreement with Agarwal et al. (1980) and Hedge and Jagannath (1975) who reported Ancylostoma caninum as predominant parasite in dogs of Matura, Uttar Pradesh, and Bangalore, respectively. However, Umar (2009) reported Dipylidium caninum as predominant parasite followed by Taenia hydatigenaDiphyllobothrium latumAncylostoma caninum and Toxocara canis in dogs of Nigeria. High prevalence of Taenid eggs in stray dogs (16%) having access to condemned meat/offal (living near slaughter shops/post mortem areas) indicated that left over, condemned meat/offal’s serve as important source of contamination in dogs because when people slaughter animals for meat they leave the leftover offals on the ground. Dogs come to these places for scavenging, leading to extended contamination. Butchers often throw out cysts, while dogs waiting outside butcher’s shops eat these cysts directly and get infected.


The present study concludes that stray dogs of Jammu have high potential to transmit zoonotic diseases of parasitic origin to humans. This suggest suitable control measures to be adopted at earliest like, control of population of stray dogs, proper disposal of condemned meat/offals, awareness campaign among people about the disease dynamics and hygienic measures to be adopted, routine deworming of pet dogs etc. to prevent parasitic zoonoses through dogs.


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