Toxocara canis in household dogs: prevalence, risk factors and owners' attitude towards deworming

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    The prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites and risk factors for shedding of Toxocara eggs were determined for 916 Dutch household dogs older than 6 months. Additionally, the owners answered a questionnaire about their dogs and their attitude towards routine deworming was assessed. Faecal samples were examined using the centrifugal sedimentation flotation method. The overall prevalence of dogs shedding Toxocara eggs was 4.6 %. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that the risk for 1-7-year-old dogs to shed Toxocara eggs was significantly lower (OR 0.38) than that of 6-12-month-old dogs. Compared to dogs walking ≤20 % of the time off-leash, those ranging freely 50-80 % and 80-100 % of the time had a significantly higher risk (OR 10.49 and 13.52, respectively) of shedding Toxocara eggs. Other risk factors were coprophagy (OR 2.44) and recently being kenneled (OR 2.76). Although the applied deworming frequency was not significantly associated with shedding Toxocara eggs, there was a trend towards no shedding in dogs under strict supervision that were dewormed 3-4 times a year. Most dog owners (68 %) recognized 'dog's health' as the main reason for deworming. Only 16 % of dogs were dewormed four times a year. It was concluded that the prevalence of Toxocara egg-shedding household dogs is almost unchanged over recent years and that the knowledge of owners is insufficient to expect sound decisions on routine deworming.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)561-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalParasitology Research
    Issue number2
    Early online date3 Dec 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


    • Deworming frequency
    • Gastrointestinal parasites
    • Faecal samples
    • Toxocara canis
    • Toxocara eggs
    • Dog


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