Gastrointestinal parasites in young dogs and risk factors associated with infection

Parasitol Res. 2023 Feb;122(2):585-596. doi: 10.1007/s00436-022-07760-9. Epub 2022 Dec 22.


Young dogs are particularly susceptible to infections with endoparasites. The occurrence of endoparasites was investigated in young dogs from Central Germany between July 2020 and July 2022. In total, 386 fecal samples originating from 171 dogs were examined for the prevalence of endoparasites using a combined flotation- and sedimentation technique and conventional PCR. Overall, in 41.2% (159/386) of the examined samples, endoparasites were detected. The most frequently occurring endoparasites were Giardia duodenalis (29%), Cryptosporidium spp. (9.1%), Cystoisospora spp. (7.3%), and Toxocara canis (6%). Sequencing of G. duodenalis positive samples showed that most infections belonged to the host-specific assemblages C (38.4% (43/112)) and D (35.7% (40/112)). The zoonotic assemblage A was identified in 8% (9/112) of the samples. Moreover, mixed infections were observed as follows: C/D in 5 (4.5%), D/A in 4 (3.6%), and C/A in 3 (2.7%) samples. All assemblage A infections were assigned to the potentially zoonotic subassemblage AI. Co-infections of G. duodenalis and Cryptosporidium spp. were observed in 3.1% (12/386) of the samples. Analyzing several host factors for their potential association with endoparasitic infection, the origin of dogs, as well as the living environment were identified as the main risk factors for infection with endoparasites. Overall, this study shows a high infection rate with endoparasites, especially G. duodenalis, in young dogs from Germany. The results of this study contribute to further insight into the distribution and potential risk factors associated with endoparasitic infections, as well as the zoonotic potential these parasites may present.

Keywords: Dog; Endoparasites; Germany; Giardia; Prevalence; Zoonotic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coinfection* / epidemiology
  • Coinfection* / veterinary
  • Cryptosporidiosis* / epidemiology
  • Cryptosporidiosis* / parasitology
  • Cryptosporidium* / genetics
  • Dog Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Dog Diseases* / parasitology
  • Dogs
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Giardia lamblia* / genetics
  • Giardiasis* / epidemiology
  • Giardiasis* / parasitology
  • Giardiasis* / veterinary
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic* / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic* / parasitology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic* / veterinary
  • Parasites*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors