Cryptosporidium infection in young dogs from Germany

Parasitol Res. 2022 Oct;121(10):2985-2993. doi: 10.1007/s00436-022-07632-2. Epub 2022 Aug 26.


Cryptosporidium is an enteric protozoan parasite which is able to cause severe gastrointestinal disease and is distributed all over the world. Since information about the prevalence of cryptosporidiosis in German dogs is rare, the aim of this study was to examine the occurrence of Cryptosporidium spp. in dogs and the potential zoonotic risk emanating from these infected animals. In total, 349 fecal samples of 171 dogs were collected during the dogs' first year of life. The samples were examined for Cryptosporidium spp. using PCR, targeting the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (SSU rRNA). Further analysis of Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium canis positive samples was accomplished using the 60 kDa glycoproteine gene (GP60). Overall, 10.0% (35/349) of the specimens were tested positive for Cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidium canis was found in 94.3% (33/35) of these samples and the zoonotic type C. pavum in 5.7% (2/35). Both C. parvum infections were subtyped as IIaA15G2R1. Sixteen of the C. canis positive samples were successfully amplified at the GP60 gene locus. These isolates were identified to belong to the subtype families XXd, XXe, or XXb; however, 2 samples could not be assigned to any of the described subtype families. Considering the close contact between pets and their owners, dogs may act as a potential source of infection for human cryptosporidiosis. The results of this study, in context with other studies from different countries, provide important further insights into the distribution of Cryptosporidium species in dogs and their zoonotic potential.

Keywords: Cryptosporidium; Dog; Germany; Prevalence; Zoonotic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryptosporidiosis* / epidemiology
  • Cryptosporidiosis* / parasitology
  • Cryptosporidium parvum* / genetics
  • Cryptosporidium*
  • Dogs
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Genotype
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans