Parasite Prevalence Study at the Idaho Humane Society
Dr. Elizabeth Hannah
Background: Intestinal parasites are a frequent problem in domestic animals. There are five commonly recognized parasites found among cats and dogs in the northwest United States. This study observed four of the five parasites: roundworms, hookworms, coccidia, and giardia. Although tapeworms are a common parasite, they were not prevalent in this study. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to observe what parasites were commonly seen at the Idaho Humane Society (IHS) and to determine if there was a difference in parasite prevalence among two sample animal populations. Methods: An owned-animal population and a shelter population were the two populations from which samples were collected by IHS. Fecal samples were collected randomly within the two populations. Fecal samples were sent to Antech Laboratories for testing. Results were entered into an Access database for analysis. Results: Throughout a two week period, 78 fecal samples were collected and tested. Among the 78 fecal samples, 56% were from dogs and 44% were from cats. Overall 15% of the samples were from clinic animals and 85% were from shelter animals. The study found that 6% of the sample population contained parasites, with roundworm being the most prevalent. Parasites were found only in the shelter animals. Discussion: Parasites were detected in six percent of the total sampled population, suggesting that the current ongoing anti-parasite program should continue.