Epidemiologic and zoonotic aspects of ascarid infections in dogs and cats

Trends Parasitol. 2010 Apr;26(4):155-61. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Feb 19.


Toxocaracanis and Toxocara cati of dogs and cats, respectively, can cause significant disease in people. Human seroprevalence for Toxocara antibodies varies with factors such as geographic location, socio-economic status, and dietary habits. Risk factors for infection include geophagia and low-level education. Toxocara canis is better recognized as a cause of human toxocariasis, but Toxocara cati should not be overlooked. In addition, patent infections with Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon ascarid, have been increasingly recognized in dogs. Pet owners need to be properly educated about zoonotic risks, and veterinarians should institute regular parasite screening and treatment for all pets. Establishment of national surveillance programs to determine the incidence and specific etiological agent in human larva migrans patients would aid in the development of targeted intervention strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / blood
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cat Diseases / transmission
  • Cats
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / transmission
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sentinel Surveillance / veterinary
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Toxocara canis / immunology
  • Toxocara* / immunology
  • Toxocariasis / epidemiology*
  • Toxocariasis / transmission*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses


  • Antibodies, Helminth