Parasitic infections in dogs involved in animal-assisted interventions

Italian Journal of Animal Science. 2018;17(1):269-272 DOI 10.1080/1828051X.2017.1344937


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Italian Journal of Animal Science

ISSN: 1594-4077 (Print); 1828-051X (Online)

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group

Society/Institution: Associazione Scientifica di Produzione Animale (ASPA)

LCC Subject Category: Agriculture: Animal culture

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Federica Gerardi (University of Napoli Federico II)
Antonio Santaniello (University of Napoli Federico II)
Luisa Del Prete (University of Napoli Federico II)
Maria Paola Maurelli (University of Napoli Federico II)
Lucia Francesca Menna (University of Napoli Federico II)
Laura Rinaldi (University of Napoli Federico II)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 10 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Animal Assisted Interventions (AAIs) programmes have been considered useful in different settings, such as hospital, therapeutic, educational and assisted living environments. In these contexts, all animals, and particularly dogs, should be subjected to appropriate health controls to prevent a potential risk of transmission of zoonotic agents. Domestic dogs are reservoirs of many zoonotic pathogens including several gastrointestinal parasites (protozoa and helminths). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the presence of the protozoan Giardia duodenalis and zoonotic gastrointestinal nematodes (geohelminths) in dogs hosted in a dog educational centre in the city of Naples (southern Italy) where the animals were trained to AAI. Between April and June 2016, 74 dog faecal samples were analysed using the FLOTAC dual technique to detect G. duodenalis cysts and other parasitic elements. Out of the 74 faecal samples examined, 18 (24.3%; 95% CI = 15.4–35.9) were positive for parasitic elements. Specifically, 8 were positive for G. duodenalis (44.4%; 95% CI = 22.4–68.7). In addition, some co-infections were also found: one sample (5.6%; 95% CI = 0.3–29.4) resulted positive to both Toxocara canis and Trichuris vulpis and two samples (11.1%; 95% CI = 1.9–36.1) were positive to both G. duodenalis and Ancylostomidae. Given that children, young adults and immunocompromised individuals are among the main users of the AAIs, specific guidelines targeting G. duodenalis and other gastrointestinal zoonotic parasites should be formulated in order to develop effective control and prevention strategies and reduce the zoonotic risk favoured by the human-dog interaction.