Prevalence of intestinal parasites in dogs and cats under veterinary care in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
AbstractIntestinal parasitism is an important cause of disease in pets. Fecal samples from pets from different neighborhoods in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, were used to investigate the prevalence of intestinal parasites. These samples were sent to Laborvet (Veterinary Laboratory) on the period of January, 2002 through December, 2004. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites in dogs and cats under veterinary care. The total amount of examined samples was 1,761, being 1,473 (83.6%) from dogs and 288 (16.4%) from cats. Positive results with the presence of at least one parasite corresponded to 26.6% (392) for dog samples and to 20.5% (59) for cat samples. In both hosts, Ancylostoma spp., Toxocara spp., Isospora spp. and Giardia spp. were the more frequent parasites. Animals that were zero to six months-old showed high intestinal parasite infection, revealing the rates of 39.5% for dogs and 29.5% for cats. Highest infection rates were diagnosed for Isospora spp. and Toxocara spp. Summer was the season, with the highest prevalence rate, with 30% of infected dogs and 27.6% of infected cats. When monoparasitism was compared to poliparasitism, the presence of a single parasite species was more frequent in dogs and cats (23.8% and 19.4%, respectively). Importantly, our findings showed the prevalence of intestinal parasites in dogs and cats that cause zoonotic diseases. It is essential to keep domestic animals under veterinary care to avoid the spread of intestinal parasite infections among pets and humans.
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