Epidemiologic studies on faecal Campylobacter shedding among dogs in the United States have been limited, despite evidence that the incidence of human campylobacteriosis has increased over the last decade. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of faecal Campylobacter shedding among shelter dogs in Texas, to estimate the specific prevalence of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli shedding, and to identify risk factors for Campylobacter-positive status. Using a cross-sectional study design, we collected faecal samples from dogs in six animal shelters across Texas between May and December, 2014. Quantitative PCR protocols were used to detect Campylobacter in samples and to specifically identify C. jejuni and C. coli. The prevalence of faecal Campylobacter shedding among sampled dogs was 75.7% (140/185). Prevalence varied significantly by shelter (p = .03), ranging from 57% to 93%. There was a marginal association (p = .06) between abnormal faecal consistency and positive Campylobacter status, after controlling for shelter as a random effect. However, approximately 70% of Campylobacter-positive dogs had grossly normal faeces. Campylobacter prevalence did not vary significantly by age group or sex. The prevalence of C. jejuni-positive samples was 5.4% (10/185), but C. coli was not detected in any samples. Dogs are a potential source of zoonotic Campylobacter transmission.
Keywords: Campylobacter spp.; Dog; epidemiology; public health; veterinary medicine; zoonoses.
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