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Shukullari, Enstela; Rapti, Dhimiter; Visser, Martin; Pfister, Kurt; Rehbein, Steffen (2017): Parasites and vector-borne diseases in client-owned dogs in Albania: infestation with arthropod ectoparasites. In: Parasitology Research, Vol. 116, No. 1: pp. 399-407
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To establish the diversity and seasonality of ectoparasite infestation in client-owned dogs in Albania, 602 dogs visiting four small animal clinics in Tirana from March 2010 to April 2011 inclusive were examined for ectoparasites by full body search and total body comb. In addition, ear swab specimens collected from all dogs and scrapings taken from skin lesions suspicious of mite infestation were examined for parasitic mites. Overall, 93 dogs (15.4 %, 95% CI 12.6-18.6) were demonstrated to be infested, and nine species of ectoparasites were identified: Ixodes ricinus, 0.8%;Rhipicephalus sanguineus s. l., 8.1 %;Demodex canis, 0.2%;Sarcoptes scabiei, 0.7 %;Otodectes cynotis, 2.8 %;Ctenocephalides canis, 4.8 %;Ctenocephalides felis, 3.0 %;Pulex irritans, 0.2 %;and Trichodectes canis, 0.2 %. Single and multiple infestations with up to four species of ectoparasites concurrently were recorded in 67 (11.1 %, 95% CI 8.713.9) and 26 dogs (4.3 %, 95% CI 2.8-6.3), respectively. On univariate analysis, the category of breed (pure breed dogs vs. mixed-breed dogs), the dog's purpose (pet, hunting dog, working dog), the housing environment (mainly indoors/indoors with regular outside walking vs. yard plus kennel/run), the history of ectoparasiticide treatment and the season of examination were identified as significant (p < 0.05) factors predisposing dogs to various ectoparasites, while the variables dog's age, gender, the dog's habitat (city, suburban, rural) and the presence/absence of other pets were not significant predictors. Multivariate logistic regression analysis for factors associated with overall ectoparasitism revealed that dogs treated with ectoparasiticides at least once per year (odds ratio [ OR] = 0.24;p < 0.001) had a significantly lower risk of infestation compared with dogs not treated against ectoparasite infestation. Dogs examined during spring, summer and autumn (OR = 7.08, 7.43 and 2.48, respectively;all p < 0.001) had a significantly higher risk of infestation than dogs examined during winter. By providing basic data on the infestation with ectoparasites in client-owned, veterinary-cared-for dogs from Albania for the first time, the results of this survey should emphasize the need of an increase of attention to ectoparasites in dogs by both veterinarians and dog owners.