Prevalence of intestinal parasites in pet dogs in the United States

Vet Parasitol. 2009 Dec 3;166(1-2):144-52. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.07.044. Epub 2009 Aug 5.


To determine the national, regional, and age-related prevalence of intestinal parasites in dogs presenting to veterinarians in the United States, we reviewed the results of examination via zinc sulfate centrifugal flotation of 1,199,293 canine fecal samples submitted to Antech Diagnostics in 2006. The most commonly identified intestinal parasites were ascarids (2.2%), hookworms (2.5%), whipworms (1.2%), Giardia (4.0%), and Cystoisospora (4.4%). With the exception of whipworms, intestinal parasites were more commonly identified in dogs less than 6 months of age (29.6% positive) as compared to those greater than 1 year of age (6.1% positive) although infections with each parasite considered were identified in all age classes of dogs. Hookworm eggs were most commonly identified in fecal samples submitted from dogs from the South (4.0% positive), whereas ascarid eggs and Giardia cysts were most commonly seen in samples from dogs from the West (2.8% and 6.3% positive, respectively). When compared to previous data from shelter dogs, the prevalence of intestinal helminths, particularly ascarids and hookworms, was greatly suppressed in pet dogs in the southern United States (90-91% reduction) and much less so in dogs in the West (52-78% reduction), perhaps due in part to the routine year-round use of monthly anthelmintics effective at controlling both heartworm infection and intestinal helminths in dogs in the South. Taken together these data indicate that intestinal parasites remain a common, important finding in dogs presenting to veterinary practices although in most of the country infection rates in pet dogs appear to be greatly reduced from the level reported from dogs in animal shelters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / parasitology
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / parasitology
  • Dogs
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / veterinary*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology