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Rehbein, Steffen; Kaulfuss, Karl-Heinz; Visser, Martin; Sommer, Maria Franziska; Grimm, Felix and Silaghi, Cornelia (2016): Parasites of sheep herding dogs in central Germany. In: Berliner und Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift, Vol. 129, No. 1-2: pp. 56-64

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This paper reports on endoparasite infections diagnosed in 2012 by standard coproscopical techniques and coproantigen Giardia ELISA in 165 dogs used for sheep herding in 36 farms in central Germany. The overall prevalence of dogs with evidence of endoparasite infections was 27.3% (95%CI 20.6-34.7). The most frequently identified faecal forms were those of ascarids (Toxocara, 6.7%;Toxascans 3.6%), hookworms (5.5%) and taeniid cestodes (4.2%), followed by those of Trichuris whipworms (3.0%), Capillaria aerophila (1.8%), Angiostrongylus and Crenosoma lungworms (1.2% each) and Cystoisospora canis coccidians (0.6%). Molecular identification demonstrated the seven dogs shedding taeniid eggs positive for Taenia (T) species tapeworms (five, T. hydatigena;one, T. ovis;one Taenia sp.). Screening of the faeces with the coproantigen ELISA revealed Giardia specific antigen in 5.5% of the samples. The majority of the dogs had evidence of single endoparasite infections (22.4%) while evidence for infection with two or three parasites concurrently was found in six (3.6%) and two (1.2%) of the dogs, respectively. Dogs <= 1 year (n = 19) were parasitized more frequently (p < 0.05) with overall gastrointestinal parasites (63.2% vs. 20.5%), ascarids (36.8% vs. 6.8%) and Giardia spp. (21.1% vs. 3.4%) than older dogs (n = 146). Dogs which had been wormed within six months of examination tested less frequently positive for gastrointestinal helminths compared to dogs not wormed (11.1% vs. 25.0%;p = 0.0567). In addition, ear swabs taken from 43 sheep dogs in 2012 were examined, and Otodectes cynotis mites were extracted from one dog. Identification of ectoparasites collected by full body search and combing from 113 sheep dogs in the years 2011 to 2013 revealed infestation of fleas and ticks (each up to five specimens per dog) on 13 and 108 dogs, respectively, with nine dogs carrying both fleas and ticks. Archaeopsylla erinacei, Ctenocephalides (C.) canis, C felis and Pulex irritans fleas were identified from one, three, two and eleven dogs, respectively. Dermacentor reticulatus, Ixodes (L) hexagonus and L ricinus ticks were isolated from 16, eight and 95 dogs, respectively.

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