A cross sectional study was carried out between November, 2009 and March, 2010 in Hawassa town, Ethiopia with the aims of determining the prevalence of intestinal helminthes of dogs and evaluating owner’s awareness about zoonotic dog parasites. A total of 455 dogs were sampled randomly and 58% (n=264) were positive for Strongyloides stercorslis, 49.2% (n=224), 40% (n=182), 25% (n=114), 6% (n=28) and 3.3% (n=15) were positive for Ancylostoma caninum, Dipylidium caninum, Toxocara canis, Echinococcus granulosus and Trichuris vulpis, respectively. Results from fecal examination showed that only 60 dogs were free of the above parasites (13.2%). From coprological examinations concurrent infections with one, two, three, four and five types of parasite were 19% (n=75), 33.9% (n=134), 32.2% (n=127), 13.6% (n=54) and 1.5% (n=6), respectively. There was statistically significant difference (P<0.05) in A. caninum, T. canis and S. stercoralis in the two age groups, but there was no statistically significant difference (P>0.05) in D. caninum, E. granulosus and T. vulpis in the two age groups. Questionnaire survey concerning owner’s knowledge about zoonotic dog parasites showed that only 4.4% of the respondents know that dogs have zoonotic parasites, specifically, 95.6% have awareness about the zoonotic importance of rabies and only 7.3% have awareness about the availability of anthelmitics to treat dogs parasites. The high level of helminthiasis in dogs in the present study represent high rate of infection and immense public health risks. In line with this finding, it is recommended that owners who keep dogs should improve their hygienic standards. Besides, they should be able to regularly treat their dogs with the appropriateanthelementics and awareness should be created on the prevention and control methods of helminthiasis.
Key words: Prevalence, gastrointestinal helminthes, dogs, Hawassa Town, Ethiopia.
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