Gastrointestinal helminths in dog feces surrounding suburban areas of Lower Dir district, Pakistan: A public health threat

Abstract Data on environmental contamination of the parasites of zoonotic importance is scarce in Pakistan. Soil contamination with feces of dogs hide infective stages of the parasite represents a health-risk to humans. This study was aimed to assess the eggs of gastrointestinal parasites of stray dogs and household dogs in lower Dir district, Pakistan with special consideration to those that can be spread to humans. One hundred and fifty two stool specimens from (stray dogs=90 and household dogs=62) were collected. The helminth eggs were processed by direct smear method and centrifugation techniques and identified by microscopic examination. Of the total examined dogs 26.8% (n=41 /152) were found to be infected with one or more intestinal parasites. The intestinal helminths detected were Dipylidium caninum (n =18, 11.8%), followed by Toxocara canis (n =16, 10.5%), Taenia spp., (n=10, 6.57%) Ancylostoma caninum (n=6, 3.94), Toxascaris spp., Capillaria spp., and Trichuris vulpis (n=2, 1.31% each) in order of their prevalence. Pattern of infection revealed that 27 (65.8%) dogs have single, 13(31.7%) double and 1(2.43%) triple infection. The stray dogs were highly infected 34.4% (n=31) than house hold dogs 16.1% (n=10). The prevalence of infection with intestinal parasites was significantly different among these two groups (p = 0.0097). This study highlight a severe environmental contamination by frequent parasitic stages infectious to humans. There is a higher risk of zoonotic transmission from dogs which indicate an immediate need for the controlling of these parasites and educating the public to take wise action relating to the parasites and pets.