A cross sectional study was conducted in Jimma town from October 2009 to April 2010 to determine the occurrence and prevalence of zoonotic gastrointestinal helminth parasites in household dogs. For the purpose, faecal samples from 334 dogs were collected and examined using faecal floatation and Mac-master egg counting parasitological tools. Among the animals examined, helminth parasite infection was detected in 215 (64.4%) dogs, and the species of helminth parasites found with their relative frequencies were: Ancylostoma caninum (58.8%), Toxocara canis (25.8%), Dipylidium caninum (25.8%), Taenia spp. (18.3%), Toxocara leonina (16.8%) and Trichuris vulpis (0.6%). There was a significant difference in the overall prevalence between adult and young animals (P < 0.05). The species specific prevalences similarly showed a significant variation between the two age groups, being high in young dogs. Both the overall and parasite specific prevalences were statistically insignificant between genders. The overall and parasites specific prevalence showed a decreasing trend as the host age increases. The overall mean faecal egg counts for T. canis, T. leonina, A. caninum and D. caninum were: 657.5 ± 76.4, 674.5 ± 96.2, 3368.2 ± 258.3 and 622.1 ± 51.8, respectively. In conclusion, the prevalence and intensity of gasterointestinal parasites were high; all of the parasites identified were potential public health risks. It implies the necessity of providing education to the public about the potential health risks associated with owning pet animals and how to prevent and minimizing the risk of acquiring helminth zoonotic parasites from dogs.
Key words: Zoonotic, helminth parasites, dog, faeces, Ethiopia.
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