Taeniid and other parasite ova in the faeces of working sheepdogs in south-west England

Clare J. Phythian, Kathryn D. Stafford, Gerald C. Coles, Eric R Morgan

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A study was conducted on 22 sheep farms in southwest England to assess Taenia spp. egg shedding, farmer reports of meat inspection feedback, and routine management practices in relation to ovine cysticercosis control. Faecal worm egg counts were conducted using the FLOTAC technique (analytical sensitivity: 1 egg per gram). In addition, a short quantitative interview with participating farmers was conducted to collect background information on dog deworming treatments and meat inspection data. Most (82%) producers reported deworming working dogs every three months, and fewer practiced twice yearly deworming (18%). All but one producer used an oral praziquantel-based dog deworming product. No farms reported feeding raw sheep offal to their dogs. Public footpaths crossed grazing pastures on all farms and local hunts reportedly had right of access to farmland on 16 properties. Taenia spp. eggs were found in the faeces of four farm dogs (prevalence 8%) on two farms; other parasite ova included hookworms, Strongyloides and Spirocerca spp. This is the second reported occurrence of Spirocerca in dogs in the UK, and could be of clinical significance. Findings suggest that there is potential for greater veterinary engagement in ovine cysticercosis control, including stronger advice on frequency of farm dog cestocide protocols.
Original languageEnglish
Article number603
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number21
Early online date06 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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