Medycyna Wet. 63 (6), 681-687, 2007
Bajer A., Bednarska M.
Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. infections in sled dogs
The aim of this study was to evaluate the distribution of intestinal protozoa Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. among the sled dogs taking part in an international competition during the Dryland World Championship IFSS, in Lubliniec, Poland, April 2005. Fecal samples (n = 80) were collected during the race and during two time periods: 2-4 weeks and 6-8 weeks after the race. The immunofluorescent assay (IFA) MerIFluor Cryptosporidium/Giardia was used for the detection of parasite dispersal stages in condensed samples. The influence of a range of factors on the prevalence and the intensity of cyst/oocyst production was estimated. Giardia spp. infections were identified in four studied countries with overall prevalence of 36%. Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in samples from 2 of 4 countries with an overall prevalence of 12.5%. For both intestinal protozoa an identical dynamics of infection was noted, with the peak in prevalence and cyst/ oocyst production 2-4 weeks after WC, which supports the hypothesis of the enhanced risk of parasite transmission during the race. The number of dogs in kennels, dog sex, and age affected the Giardia infections in sled dogs. The prevalence or intensity of cyst production were higher in kennels with more than 10 dogs, in males compared to females, and in young (<2 years old) dogs. Cryptosporidium infections were more common among males and young dogs, and the prevalence was low among Husky breeds. The co-infections with both parasites were common and the presence of Giardia or Cryptosporidium infection was significantly connected with the presence of diarrhea in dogs. Consequently, it seems that protozoan infections may affect the physical condition and performance of sled dogs and contribute to zoonotic diseases in dog owners.
Keywords: Cryptosporidium, Giardia, sled dogs