Risk of Toxocara canis eggs in stray and domestic dog hair in Egypt

Vet Parasitol. 2011 Jun 10;178(3-4):319-23. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.12.051. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


The aim of the study was to assess whether the hair of stray and domestic dogs in Egypt was contaminated with the eggs of the zoonotic parasite Toxocara canis, and also to identify risk factors for T. canis for contamination. Paired samples of hair and feces were collected from 53 stray and 47 domestic dogs, and hair samples were obtained from a further 11 stray and 9 domestic dogs. All samples were examined to identify T. canis eggs and, if eggs were found, their maturation stage. Eggs were identified in 26.6% of stray and 10.7% of domestic dog's hair samples. A significantly increased risk of embryonated T. canis eggs in hair samples was found in stray dogs (p=0.04), stray dogs had 3.18 (95% CI: 1.04-9.74) times the odds of having T. canis eggs present compared with domestic dogs. There was also a significant difference (p=0.02) between the mean quantity of eggs per gram in stray (77.6±6.54) and domestic (48.7±6.65) dog's hair. Fecal examination found a T. canis egg prevalence of 35.8% and 21.3% in stray and domestic dogs, respectively. As no domestic dogs which were positive from hair samples had negative fecal samples, this indicates that the presence of T. canis eggs in hair is probably due to self contamination. Two stray dogs had positive hair samples but negative fecal samples indicating that contamination may also be environmental. As both non-embryonated and embryonated T. canis eggs were found in the hair of domestic dogs, direct contact with dogs may be a potential risk factor for transmission of T. canis eggs to humans.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dog Diseases / parasitology*
  • Dogs
  • Egypt / epidemiology
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Hair / parasitology
  • Logistic Models
  • Parasite Egg Count / veterinary
  • Toxocara canis / isolation & purification*
  • Toxocariasis / epidemiology
  • Toxocariasis / parasitology*
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses / parasitology*