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Animals 2018, 8(7), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8070108

Gastrointestinal Parasites in Shelter Dogs: Occurrence, Pathology, Treatment and Risk to Shelter Workers

1
School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia
2
Australian Pet Welfare Foundation, Kenmore, QLD 4069, Australia
3
Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan
4
School of Veterinary Science, The University of Melbourne, Werribee, VIC 3030, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 27 June 2018 / Accepted: 28 June 2018 / Published: 2 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Sheltering)
Full-Text   |   PDF [320 KB, uploaded 2 July 2018]   |   Review Reports

Simple Summary

Despite evidence of a minor role of gastrointestinal parasites in causing disease in owned pet populations prophylactically treated with anthelmintics, gastrointestinal parasitism remains an important consideration in the care of animals in shelters, and in owned pet populations in developing countries, where regular prophylactic treatment is lacking. In addition, the zoonotic potential of many organisms is a universal public health concern. Animal shelters facilitate spread of gastrointestinal parasites to incoming animals and shelter staff if there is overcrowding and frequent exposure to a contaminated environment. The prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in shelter dogs is typically higher than in owned dogs. In this review, we report the prevalence of parasites in shelter dogs worldwide, and review parasite control strategies for use in shelters. We also discuss whether the shelter environment might magnify risks for development of parasiticide resistance in resident parasite populations. We recommend an integrated parasite control approach based on sanitation measures to reduce environmental contamination and accompanied with appropriate use of anthelmintics in shelter dogs. Ideally, every animal should be treated after fecal examination for parasites during its stay in the shelter, although it is recognized that for many shelters, the resources to do this might be prohibitive.

Abstract

Dogs entering shelters can carry gastrointestinal parasites that may pose serious risks to other animals, shelter staff and visitors. Shelters provide an environment that could facilitate the spread of parasitic infections between animals. Nematodes and protozoa that transmit through ingestion or skin penetration are major enteric parasites of concern in shelter settings. Ancylostoma spp., Uncinaria stenocephala, Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina, Trichuris vulpis and Dipylidium caninum are the major helminths while Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Isospora spp. and Sarcocystis spp. are the most prevalent protozoan parasites in shelter dogs. The prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in shelter dogs is typically higher than in owned dogs. A range of cost-effective drugs is available for prevention and control of helminths in shelters, notably fenbendazole, pyrantel, oxantel, and praziquantel. Parasiticide options for protozoan parasites are often cost-prohibitive or limited by a lack of veterinary registration for use in dogs. Environmental control measures reliant upon hygiene and facility management are therefore a mainstay for control and prevention of protozoan parasites in shelters. This philosophy should also extend to helminth control, as integrated parasite control strategies can allow anthelmintics to be used more sparingly and judiciously. The purpose of this article is to comprehensively review the current knowledge on the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites most commonly found in dogs in shelters, canvass recommended treatment programs in shelter dogs, and to explore the likelihood that parasiticide resistance might emerge in a shelter environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal shelters; dogs; nematodes; tapeworms; protozoa; treatment protocols; parasiticide resistance animal shelters; dogs; nematodes; tapeworms; protozoa; treatment protocols; parasiticide resistance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Raza, A.; Rand, J.; Qamar, A.G.; Jabbar, A.; Kopp, S. Gastrointestinal Parasites in Shelter Dogs: Occurrence, Pathology, Treatment and Risk to Shelter Workers. Animals 2018, 8, 108.

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