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Canine gastrointestinal nematode transmission potential in municipal dog parks in the southeast United States

Savadelis, Molly D., Evans, Christopher C., Mabry, Kristen H., LeFavi, Leanne N., Klink, Bruce D., von Simson, Cristiano, Moorhead, Andrew R.
Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports 2019 v.18 pp. 100324
Trichuris vulpis, adults, dog diseases, dogs, eggs, feces, gastrointestinal nematodes, gastrointestinal parasites, gastrointestinal system, heartworms, hookworms, parks, risk, sugars, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
Monthly canine parasite prophylactic products prevent not only adult heartworm infection, but also patent infections with specific gastrointestinal parasites. While most monthly products control and treat certain hookworm and roundworm infections, fewer are labeled for whipworm (Trichuris vulpis). Therefore, we hypothesized that fecal samples collected from municipal dog parks will have a greater prevalence of whipworm eggs compared to hookworm and roundworm eggs. In this study, canine fecal samples were collected from municipal dog parks in three southeastern states, with up to 20 fecal samples were collected from each park. A total of 200 fecal samples were obtained from dog parks in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. All fecal samples were examined for the presence of gastrointestinal helminths by a simple centrifugal flotation using sheather's sugar flotation solution. Of the 200 samples collected, 27% were positive for gastrointestinal helminths by fecal flotation. Of these infected fecal samples, 8.5%, 17%, and 1.5% contained whipworm, hookworm, and roundworm, respectively. However, the majority of hookworm-positive samples were collected from one park, whereas whipworm and roundworm samples were collected from multiple parks. These results could indicate that dogs are at risk of infection by all three parasites at dog parks, and that preventive strategies may need to be tailored not only to the specific region, but to specific infected dog parks.