Risk factors and infection due to Cryptosporidium spp. in dogs and cats in southern Rio Grande do Sul

Abstract This study investigated the frequency of oocysts of Cryptosporidium spp. in feces from dogs and cats in five municipalities in the southern region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The risk factors associated with infection were also investigated. Feces samples from 110 dogs and 18 cats were stained using the auramine method. At the time of feces sampling, a questionnaire with semi-open-ended questions was applied to the animal guardians and all data obtained underwent statistical analysis. The real frequency of oocysts of Cryptosporidium spp. was 24.63% (27 dogs and two cats). Only four samples of dog feces were diarrheic and no presence of oocysts was observed in any of them. Variables that represented risk factors for infection were: homemade food, untreated water, circulation of animals on grassy terrain and living in the same environment as other animals (cattle). The results made it possible to inferring that within the population studied, the frequency of parasitism due to Cryptosporidium spp. in dogs was relevant and emphasize the asymptomatic nature of this infection. The adopting control measures are highlighted, particularly in relation to variables that represent risk factors for this infection.