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Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites in the Intestine of Dogs (Sheep-Keeper, Owned, Pet and Stray) in Duhok Province, Kurdistan Region | OMICS International
ISSN: 2157-7579
Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology

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Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites in the Intestine of Dogs (Sheep-Keeper, Owned, Pet and Stray) in Duhok Province, Kurdistan Region

Teroj Abdulrehman Muhamed1 and Lokman T Omer Al-barwary2*

1Department of Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Duhok, Iraq

2Department of Pathology and Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Duhok, Iraq

*Corresponding Author:
Lokman T Omer Al-Barwary
Department of Pathology and Microbiology
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Duhok, Duhok 00964, Iraq
Tel: 009647504504789
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: August 22, 2016; Accepted date: August 29, 2016; Published date: September 02, 2016

Citation: Muhamed TA, Al-barwary LTO (2016) Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites in the Intestine of Dogs (Sheep-Keeper, Owned, Pet and Stray) in Duhok Province, Kurdistan Region. J Vet Sci Technol 7:379. doi: 10.4172/2157-7579.1000379

Copyright: © 2016 Muhamed TA, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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This survey was done to investigate the prevalence of internal parasites in the intestine of dogs in Duhok province from February to October 2015. A total of 270 sheep-keepers, owned, pet and stray dogs’ fecal samples from most areas in Duhok province were collected and examined by flotation technique, sedimentation technique and direct smear. During this study Spirocerca lupi (0.7%) and Uncernia stenocephala (2%) were recorded for the first time in Kurdistan region; while Diplydium caninum (16.7%), Strongyloides spp. (1.9%), Ancylostoma caninum (2.2%), Isosporaspp (9.3%), cyst of Giardia (5.2%), Hymenolepis nana (1.9%), Eimeria oocyst (3.7%), Taenia spp. (13.7%) and trematode eggs (1.9%) were recorded for the first time in dogs of Duhok province. The overall percentage of intestinal parasites in dogs was 65.9%.


Internal parasite; Dogs; Duhok province; Kurdistan region


There have been no recent surveys to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites in dogs in Duhok province, Kurdistan region. Dogs are frequently infected by internal parasites. However, several of these parasites are zoonotic and are considered important to human health. Although dogs are often considered family members by their owners, it is important to seriously note that they may be transmitter of intestinal parasites. Most of these intestinal parasites have an oralfecal transmission cycle; and a major component for the spread of these parasites is the shedding of eggs or oocysts into the environment [1]. The transmission of zoonotic agents could be through direct and indirect contact with animal and animal secretions and excretion [2]. Dogs are the main zoonotic disease source through which parasites, in particular helminthosis, can raise serious public health concerns worldwide [3].

Many canine gastrointestinal parasites eliminate their scuttle elements (egg, larvae and oocyst) through the faecal route [3]. Several intestinal helminths of dogs including Toxocara canis, Ancylostoma braziliense and Ancylostoma caninum are important causes of zoonotic diseases, including cutaneous, visceral, ocular larva migrans and eosinophilic enteritis [4,5].

The aim of this investigation was to determine the prevalence of internal parasites infections in stray, owned, sheep-keeper and pet dogs in Duhok province, Kurdistan region.

Materials and Methods

Faecal samples

In this study, 270 fecal samples were collected from dogs of both sexes and different ages from three months to 13 years old, as shown in Table 1.

Faecal examination Sex Age Type of dogs Faecal collection
Female Male Young Adult Pet Owned Sheep
Stary Rectum Ground
270 38 232 64 206 21 24 180 45 172 98

Table 1: Details of samples which were collected from dogs.

Collection of fecal samples

The practical work was carried out from the beginning of September 2014 to end of June 2015 in different rural and urban areas of Duhok governorate in Kurdistan region to determine the prevalence of intestinal helminths. Faecal sample was collected directly from the rectum of each dogs by using plastic lop spatula in small dogs, plastic gloves in adult dogs [6], or collection from the ground after defecation directly or some days old feces, but not more than 5 to 7 days [7]. Samples were then put in plastic containers and labeled; after that they were kept in a cool box and brought to the research laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine for coprological examination.

Study area

The area studied in this research is Duhok governorate, Kurdistan region in the north of Iraq, and five districts around it, namely Duhok, Summel, Zakho, Amedi and Shikhan/Qesrok, as shown in Figure 1. The animal population in this area is more than 750,000, including sheep, goats and cattle, and each year more than 650,000 animals are vaccinated.


Figure 1: Duhok governorate map.

Macroscopic examination

The fresh fecal sample was examined by naked eyes for consistency, texture, color and for the presence of any helminths, mucus and blood.

Coprological examination

All fecal samples were examined microscopically by flotation concentration method and formalin-ether sedimentation.

Flotation concentration method (modified Sheathers solution): The flotation solution must have a higher specific gravity than oocysts or parasite egg. The modified Sheather solution was prepared by using the methods of Dryden et al. [8] and Dryden et al. [9] (Figure 2).


Figure 2: Flotation concentration methods.

Formalin-ether sedimentation: Faecal samples were concentrated by formal-ether concentration technique. The formalin-ether sedimentation was prepared by using the method of Allen and Ridley [10] and Zajac and Conboy [11]. Formalin 10% (1 volume of 40% formaldehyde diluted with 9 volume distilled water) and ether 99% (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Formalin-ether sedimentation technique.


The following results were obtained from examination of fecal samples with methods of examination and each fecal sample was examined two times by Sheather concentration method and three times by formalin-ether sedimentation; and different ova of intestinal parasites were detected by these methods.

Out a total of 270 fecal samples examined, 65.9% were infected with ova of different intestinal parasites, while only 34.1% were free from ova of parasites, as shown in Table 2.

No. of dogs examined Free from parasite microscopically Infected with the parasite
  Negative % Positive %
270 92 34.1 178 65.9

Table 2: Overall percentage of intestinal parasites in dogs.

Table 3 shows ova of different intestinal parasites recorded by copro-parasitolgical examination methods. Ova of two parasites were detected for the first time in Kurdistan region, and these parasites were Uncinaria stenocephala and Spicocera lupi (Table 4).

Name of parasite No. of positive %
Tremaode 5 1.9
Ancylostomacaninum 6 2.2
Ascarisspp. 11 4.1
Dipylidiumcaninum 45 16.7
Eimeriaspp. 10 3.7
Cyst of Giardia 14 5.2
Hymenolepis nana 5 1.9
Isosporacanis 25 9.3
Larvae ofToxocaracanis 1 0.4
Rhabditiform larvae 6 2.2
Sarcocystspp. 13 4.8
Strongyloidesspp. 5 1.9
Spicocercalupi 2 0.7
Taeniaspp. 37 13.7
Toxocaracanis 63 23.3
Toxascarisleonina 14 5.2
Uncinariastenocephala 5 1.9

Table 3: Types of parasite ova, oocyst, cyst and larvae present in faecal samples examined by concentration technique with their infection rate.

Parasite species Male dog Female dog
No. of infected dogs Infection rate % No. of infected
Infection rate %
T. canis 53 22.84 10 26.31
D. caninum 37 15.94 2 5.26
Taeniaspp. 32 13.79 5 13.15
Isosporaspp. 20 8.62 5 13.15
T. leonina 12 5.17 2 5.26
Ascarisspp. 11 4.74    
Sarcocystis 9 3.87 4 10.52
Giardia spp. 8 3.44 6 15.78
Eimeriaspp. 7 3.01 3 7.89
A. caninum 6 2.5    
Strongyloidesspp. 5 2.15    
U. stenocephala 5 2.15    
H. nana 4 1.72 1 2.63
Rhabditiform larvae 4 1.72 2 5.26
Trematode 3 1.29 2 5.26
S. lupi 2 0.86    
Larvae of T. canis 1 0.43    

Table 4: Prevalence of intestinal parasites ova among 232 male and 38 female dogs examined.

Prevalence of intestinal parasites among 232 males examined recorded high infection rate of T. canis (22.84%) and low infection rate of S. lupi (0.86%); while the prevalence of intestinal parasites among 38 female dogs examined recorded high infection rate of T. canis (26.31%) and low infection rate of H. nana (2.63%).

Table 5 shows the percentages of single and mixed infection. Single infection had high frequency. As shown in Table 6, high prevalence of infection were found in stray and sheep keeper dogs with percentages of 73.3 and 70.5 respectively; while the lowest infection rate was in pet dogs (19.04%).

No. of infection No. of dogs infected Infection rate (%)
0 92 34.07
1 113 41.85
2 49 18.14
3 14 5.18
4 2 0.74

Table 5: Frequency of single and mixed intestinal parasites infection in dogs.

Dog categories No. of dog examined No. of dog infected Infection rate (%)
Stray dog 45 33 73.3
Owned dog 24 14 58.3
Sheep keeper 180 127 70.5
Pet dog 21 4 19.04
Total 270 178 65.9

Table 6: Prevalence of intestinal parasites in dogs of different functional categories.


Dog (Canis familiaris) is a domestic animal that has contact with man and other animals, any lack in the diagnosis or treatment of a certain disease may lead to the transmission of a zoonotic disease.

A total of 270 fecal samples were obtained for copro-parasitological examination, 178/270 (65.9%) were found to harbor at least one species of parasites, some had two to three species of parasites but only two samples harbored four species of parasites. The high prevalence of these helminthes in dogs is an indication of the degree of environmental contamination and poor hygienic level; also it indicates the lack of knowledge of dog owners in the role of dog in disease transmission and the importance of veterinary care.

Toxocariasis is one of the zoonotic diseases distributed worldwide by dogs. It is caused by Toxocara canis. Humans act as accidental host and are infected accidentally through ingestion of the thick-shelled embryonated eggs, causing serious health problems [12,13]. The highest prevalence rate was found in T. canis eggs at 63/270 (23.3%) of the examined samples. This high prevalence rate of the infection is close to other results recorded in Iraq and Kurdistan region. Prevalence of 36% of 50 stray dogs examined in Sulaimani province, Kalar city was recorded by Bajalan [14]; the prevalence in cats was 30% in Mosul as obtained by Al-Obaidi [15] and 26.5% in Basrah according to Awad and Al-Aziz [16]. Dog sex had no effect on the copro-prevalence of the family Ascaridiodea and the same result was recorded by Dishow [17].

Diplidiasis is another zoonotic disease caused by dog tapeworm Diplyidium caninum. Human diplidiasis reported by Narasimham et al. [18] showed a prevalence of 45 (16.7%); this prevalence was less than recorded in Diyala and Sulaimani provinces at 28 and 26%, respectively [14,19].

The prevalence of Taenia spp. in our work was 37/270 (13.7%); and the same result was recorded by Hasson [19] as 14.2%.

Hookworm was also observed in this work and the prevalence recorded was 2.2% (6/270) and 1.9% (5/270) for Ancylostoma caninum and Uncinaria stenocephala, respectively. The prevalence of A. caninum in Sulaimani is the same as in Duhok province, which was 2%. U. stenocephala had not been reported before this time in Kurdistan region and the prevalence was less than recorded in Albania which was 64.9% from a total of 111 dogs examined by Xhaxhiu et al. [20]; it was also less than recorded in Argentina by Dopchiz et al. [21] at 14.29%.

Trematode egg recovered from the fecal sample had prevalence of 1.9% (5/270); but in Basrah it was 67.1% from a total of 70 dogs examined by Awad et al. [22]. Low prevalence of trematode in Duhok province was due to little contact of the dog with water and the characteristic dry hot weather of this area.

As in the present work, for the first time Spirocera lupi was recorded in Kurdistan region, Duhok province and the prevalence was 0.7% (2/270); unfortunately, there is no available result in Iraq to compare the prevalence with. However, in neighbouring countries like Iran, the parasite was recorded and prevalence was 19.04% from a total of 105 dogs examined by Oryan et al. [23].

Other parasites were also recorded, but with low prevalence rate. Those parasites include Strongyloides spp. with prevalence of 1.9% (5/270) in fecal samples and this rate was less than recorded in Diyala province 7.1% by Hasson [19]; and Hymenolepis nana with observed prevalence rate of 1.9% (5/270).

Beside the presence of intestinal helminths in dogs of Duhok province, dog intestinal protozoa was present and the prevalence of cyst of Giardia was 5.2% (14/270), while the prevalence of Eimeria spp. and Isospora spp. were 3.7% (10/270) and 9.3% (25/70), respectively. Most of the infection rates were shown by dogs less than six months and this may be due to contact of puppies with feces of infected mother. High prevalence rate was also recorded in Baghdad and Diyala by Khalaf et al. [24] and Hasson [19] and the prevalence were 14.7 and 21.4%, respectively.

Sarcocystis spp. is one of the intestinal protozoa widely spread among sheep and goats in Duhok province and high prevalence of microcytic Sarcocystis spp. was recorded in sheep and goats; and the infection rate was 96.5% (220/228) of sheep and goats inspected in Duhok slaughter house by Hussein [25]. In the current study, it was found that the prevalence of the Sarcocystis spp. in the final host was 4.8% (13/270). This rate was more than recorded by Katagiri in Brazil with prevalence of 2.7% of a total of 254 dogs examined [26,27].


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