Prevalence, Public Health Importance and Risk Factors Associated with Gastrointestinal Helminths of Domesticated Canines (Canis familiaris) from Yobe State, Nigeria

Jallailudeen Rabana Lawal1*, Muhammad Mustapha1, Abdullahi Abubakar Biu2 and Lawan Adamu1

1Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maiduguri, P.M.B 1069, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.
2Department of Veterinary Parasitology and Entomology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maiduguri, P.M.B 1069, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria

*Corresponding author:,


Dogs are serious hazard to public health despite many advantages of domesticating them. They harbor numerous infectious zoonotic intestinal parasites that can spread to humans and other animals. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of canine gastrointestinal helminth infections and owners’ understanding of zoonotic helminthiasis in Yobe State, Nigeria. Sedimentation/flotation technique was used to investigate helminths and structured questionnaire survey to evaluate level of awareness of canine zoonotic helminths. To achieve this, 750 domestic dog faeces samples were examined, and 150 dog owners were interviewed. Sex, age, breed, medical history, body condition score, purpose of dogs keeping and season of sample collection was noted and recorded. Out of 750 faecal samples examined, 84.5% (634/750) were infected, with nematodes (65.2%), cestodes (16.0%) and mixed (3.3%) gastrointestinal helminth infections. The most prevalent gastrointestinal helminth eggs were those belonging to the zoonotic worms Ancylostoma caninum (23.7%), Toxocara canis (21.5%), and Trichuris vulpis (16.5%). Other species found were Taenia species (7.1%), Dipylidium caninum (6.4%), Spirocerca lupi (3.5%), and Diphyllobothrium latum (2.5%). The prevalence of mixed infections with two helminth species comprising of Ancylostoma caninum + Toxocara canis (1.7%) and Ancylostoma caninum + Trichuris vulpis (1.1%) were found in affected dogs. Questionnaire interviews revealed that secondary school (50.0%) education is most common among dog owners and majority of them are unaware (76.0%) of zoonotic helminths in dogs. This study found that zoonotic helminths in dogs are common in the study area, implying a high risk of dog disease transmission. Age, season, inadequate health care, and lack of awareness were identified as risk factors for canine helminths infections. Therefore, immediate preventive and control measures targeted at eliminating dog helminths are required in the study area.