Australia has a very high rate of dog ownership, which in some circumstances may lead to exposure to zoonotic parasitic diseases from those companion animals. Domestic dog faecal samples (n = 300) were collected from public spaces and private property in the greater Rockhampton (Central Queensland) region and tested for intestinal helminths and protozoa by direct microscopy, two flotation methods and a modified acid-fast stain for cryptosporidia. Intestinal parasites detected included hookworms (25%), Cystoisospora ohioensis complex (9%), Blastocystis hominis (3%), Giardia duodenalis (3%), Spirometra erinacei (1%) and Toxocara canis (1%), Sarcocystis spp. (2%), Cryptosporidium spp. (2%) and Cystoisospora canis (1%). One infection each with Trichuris vulpis, Dipylidium caninum and a protozoa belonging to the Entamoeba histolytica complex were identified. Sheather's sucrose centrifugal flotation was more sensitive than saturated salt passive flotation, but no single test detected all cases of parasitic infection identified. The test methodologies employed are poor at recovering larva of Strongyloides stercoralis, Aleurostrongylus abstrussis and eggs of cestodes such as Echinococcus granulosis, so the potential presence of these parasites in Central Queensland domestic dogs cannot be excluded by this survey alone.
Keywords: Australia; Queensland; canine; dogs; domestic; hookworm; parasites; zoonoses.