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Research Note: Parasite Control


|July 2017

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Endoparasites and zoonoses continue to play a large role in animal and public health. Parasites of zoonotic concern, Ascarididae and Ancylostomatidae, were detected in 80% of public parks in Lisbon, prompting the European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites (ESCCAP) guidelines to advise environmental-control measures (eg, dog feces removal) and parasite control on a quarterly basis in dogs and cats. Canine vector-borne diseases are also an increasing concern; ESCCAP recommends regular insecticide–acaricide treatments. 

In this study, a questionnaire was used to assess owner compliance with the recommended treatment schedules. Additional questions assessed owner knowledge about parasites as a cause of disease and owner perception of how a pet might acquire such parasites. Owners of 243 dogs and 69 cats were interviewed. 

Of 204 adult dogs, 183 (89.7%) were treated with endoparasitic drugs. However, 42.4% of owners admitted forgetfulness about readministering doses. Only 11.8% of dogs and 5.5% of cats were considered adequately and continuously protected from endoparasites. Only 28.4% of dogs were uninterruptedly protected throughout the year from vector-borne diseases transmitted by fleas, ticks, sandflies, and mosquitoes. Only 52.7% of cats were treated with insecticide–acaricide products, most at irregular intervals. One-third of respondents had no knowledge of possible infectious sources, and most had never heard of zoonosis, although they understood the concept. Thirty-seven percent of owners did not always collect their dog’s feces in public places. 

The authors encouraged veterinarians to increase owner education efforts in these areas.


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