Gastrointestinal parasites in dogs that inhabit in close proximity to humans have been shown to increase the risk of infection to humans, especially those living in rural areas. This study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of gastrointestinal helminth species found in partially owned/stray dogs and the potential impact these infection rates had on the surrounding communities in Wondo Genet, Southern Nations and Nationalities Region of Ethiopia. Coprological and postmortem examination and questionnaire survey were the methods used. A structured questionnaire on 50 households was designed to gather information on dog ownership, management and related risks. Randomized collection of 269 fecal samples was taken and analyzed using the Kato-Katz methodology to determine intestinal helminth infection rates. Postmortem examination was done on 13 stray dogs to determine the presence of adult worms. Very few households (22%) were aware that canine parasites could be transmitted to humans but none of them could provide correct information on the mode of transmission. None of the dog owners had treated their dogs using anthelmintics. Almost all owners had fed their dogs’ raw carcass of a dead animal and condemned offals. Necropsy of 13 stray dogs revealed 90.7% of them were infected with at least one intestinal helminth parasite. No trematodes were found in the intestine of these dogs. The following cestodes were identified: Echinococcus granulosus (61.5 %),Taenia pisiformis (74.7%), Taenia hydatigena (69.2%), Taenia ovis (30.8%), Dipylidium caninum (46.8%) and Mesocestoides (84.6%). Other intestinal worms in dogs wereToxocara canis (53.9%), Tirchuris vulpis (70.3%) and Ancylostoma caninum (73.9%). Most helminths were recovered from the second intestinal segment. The findings showed that the high levels of ignorance among community members about canine parasites and transmission coupled with significant infection rates among the dogs in the community show that immediate action needs to be taken to decrease infection rates in dogs and to raise education levels of the community bout zoonotic diseases.
Key words: Dog, helminthes, intestinal parasites, prevalence, Wondo Genet, zoonoses.
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