Original Research

A field survey on parasites and antibodies against selected pathogens in owned dogs in Lilongwe, Malawi

Karin Alvåsen, Sandra M. Johansson, Johan Höglund, Richard Ssuna, Ulf Emanuelson
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 87, No 1 | a1358 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v87i1.1358 | © 2016 Karin Alvåsen, Sandra M. Johansson, Johan Höglund, Richard Ssuna, Ulf Emanuelson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 November 2015 | Published: 29 July 2016

About the author(s)

Karin Alvåsen, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Sandra M. Johansson, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
Johan Höglund, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Sweden
Richard Ssuna, Lilongwe Society for Protection and Care of Animals, Lilongwe, Malawi
Ulf Emanuelson, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden


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Abstract

The aim of this study was to screen for selected parasites and antibody levels against vectorborne pathogens in owned dogs in Lilongwe, Malawi. The study population consisted of 100 dogs; 80 participating in vaccination–spaying campaigns and 20 visiting a veterinary clinic as paying clients. All dogs went through a general physical examination including visual examination for signs of ectoparasites. A total of 100 blood samples were analysed using commercial snap tests and 40 faecal samples by egg flotation in saturated sodium chloride. The sampled dogs had a seroprevalence of 12% for Anaplasma spp., 22% for Ehrlichia spp., 4% for Dirofilaria immitis and 1% for Leishmania spp. Eggs from Ancylostoma spp. were found in 80% of the faecal samples, whereas eggs of Trichuris vulpis, Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina were only present in 3%, 8% and 13% of the samples, respectively. Ectoparasites such as Ctenocephalides sp., Trichodectes sp. and ticks were present on 98%, 25% and 11%, respectively, of the campaign dogs. Among client dogs, 35% had Ctenocephalides fleas, 10% had Trichodectes lice and none had ticks. Public education and prophylactic treatment could be used to improve the animal welfare of dogs; this would most likely also have positive impact on public health.

Keywords

Canis lupus familiaris; Ectoparasites; Endoparasites; Gastrointestinal helminths; Prevalence; Sub-saharan Africa; Urban environments; Vector-borne diseases; Zoonoses

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