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Prevalence of Helminths in Dogs and Owners’ Awareness of Zoonotic Diseases in Mampong, Ashanti, Ghana
Dogs are popular pets that live closely with humans. However, this cohabitation allows for the transmission of zoonotic parasites to humans. In Ghana, very little is known about zoonotic parasites in dogs. We examined excrements of 154 dogs for intestinal helminthes using saturated sodium chloride as a floatation medium and further interviewed 100 dog owners regarding knowledge on zoonosis and pet management practices. Thirteen parasite species were identified, with an overall prevalence of 52.6%. Nematodes were more common than cestodes, with Toxocara canis being the most prevalent helminth (18.8%). Age (p = 0.011; χ2 = 9.034) and location (p = 0.02; χ2 = 12.323) of dogs were significant risk factors of helminthic infections, while mode of housing, function, and gender of dogs were not. Knowledge on zoonosis and pet management practices were poor, including irregular deworming and feeding of animals off the bare ground. Dogs may play an active role in the transmission of zoonotic diseases in the area, given the cohabitation of infected dogs with humans; irregular deworming pattern of dogs; and rampant excretion of helminth-infested dog excreta into the environment.
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