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Substrate type and age are risk factors for gastrointestinal parasitism in greyhound kennels

Ash, A.ORCID: 0000-0001-8218-7048, Lymbery, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0542-3446, Godfrey, S., Shiel, R. and Paul, A. (2019) Substrate type and age are risk factors for gastrointestinal parasitism in greyhound kennels. Veterinary Parasitology, 265 . pp. 7-14.

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The control of parasitic infections is particularly challenging in environments that are conducive to the maintenance of parasite lifecycles, such as the greyhound kennel, where the long-term breeding and rearing of dogs is common. The prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) parasites within the Australian greyhound population has never previously been assessed, which seriously constrains the implementation of effective control measures. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence and risk factors for GI parasites in Australian greyhounds, identify parasites which may be detrimental to the health and performance of dogs, and evaluate the likelihood of zoonotic transmission to kennel staff. Faecal samples were collected from 721 individual greyhounds situated in kennels across five states of Australia; Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Animal husbandry and current parasite control protocols were obtained from each kennel and analysed in conjunction with the detected level of parasitism. Overall parasite prevalence was approximately 60%, ranging from 50 to 70% between states. Eleven parasite genera were identified, with Sarcocystis, hookworm, Giardia and Toxocara detected most frequently. Generalised linear mixed model analyses found the major risk factors associated with parasitism were: a) the type of substrate which dogs were housed; b) age of dogs; and c) geographic region. Parasitism was associated most frequently with young dogs housed on grass/sand substrates, which allowed parasite lifecycles to continue, with constant reinfection the likely outcome. Routine treatment with broad-spectrum anthelmintics did not provide effective control in these environments and the adoption of alternate parasite control strategies is recommended. A substantial risk from zoonotic parasites was also identified, with six of the eleven parasite genera detected considered to be zoonotic and a poor understanding of zoonotic transmission among kennel managers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
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