Short Communication

Survey of Toxocara eggs on Dog Hair as a Potential Transmission Route in Human Toxocariasis in Northeastern Iran


Background: Toxocara canis is a gastrointestinal nematode of dogs and other canids with high zoonotic potential. Human infection occurs following ingestion of infective eggs that have been passed in the dogs’ feces. Contact with contaminated soils, is one of the most important risk factors for human infection by T. canis eggs. However, in recent studies transmission of infective eggs, through human contact with contaminated dogs’ hair have been proposed. The aim of the present study was to assess the prevalence of Toxocara eggs on the hair and feces of dogs which attended to Veterinary Clinic of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

Methods: A total 100 dogs which attended to the clinic were used in the present study. The hair samples were collected from the head, back and perineal region of dogs’ body. Besides collecting hairs, fecal samples were also collected and analyzed for the presence of T. canis eggs.

Results: T. canis eggs were found in 11% of the hair samples and 10% of the feces samples. Additionally, it has been observed that the risk factors impact such as breed, season of sampling, sex, hair length, indoor-outdoor access and age, were not significant on the T. canis eggs presence in the faecal and hair samples.

Conclusion: Human exposure to the hair of dogs, may be significant risk factor for infection and regular anthelmintic treatment, hygiene of animals and public education of the importance of dogs are recommended to prevent human toxocariasis.

1. Overgaauw PA. Aspects of Toxocara epidemiology: toxocarosis in dogs and cats. Crit Rev Microbiol. 1997;23(3):233-51.
2. Despommier D. Toxocariasis: clinical aspects, epidemiology, medical ecology, and molecular aspects. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003;16(2):265-72.
3. Deplazes P, van Knapen F, Schweiger A, et al. Role of pet dogs and cats in the transmission of helminthic zoonoses in Europe, with a focus on echinococcosis and toxocarosis. Vet Parasitol. 2011;182(1):41-53.
4. Keegan JD, Holland CV. Contamination of the hair of owned dogs with the eggs of Toxocara spp. Vet Parasitol. 2010;173(1-2):161-4.
5. Overgaauw PA, van Zutphen L, Hoek D, et al. Zoonotic parasites in fecal samples and fur from dogs and cats in The Netherlands. Vet Parasitol. 2009;163(1-2):115-22.
6. Aydenizöz-Özkayhan M, Yağcı B, Erat S. The investigation of Toxocara canis eggs in coats of different dog breeds as a potential transmission route in human toxocariasis. Vet Parasitol. 2008;152(1-2):94-100.
7. Roddie G, Stafford P, Holland C, et al. Contamination of dog hair with eggs of Toxocara canis. Vet Parasitol. 2008;152(1-2):85-93.
8. Wolfe A, Wright I. Human toxocariasis and direct contact with dogs. Vet Record. 2003;152(14):419-22.
9. Tavassoli M, Javadi S, Firozi R, et al. Hair contamination of sheepdog and pet dogs with Toxocara canis eggs. Iran J Parasitol. 2012;7(4):110-115.
10. 10- Öge H, Öge S, Özbakış G, et al. Comparison of Toxocara eggs in hair and faecal samples from owned dogs and cats collected in Ankara, Turkey. Vet Parasitol. 2014;206(3-4):227-31.
11. Wael F, Holt HR, Tayel AA. Risk of Toxocara canis eggs in stray and domestic dog hair in Egypt. Vet Parasitol. 2011;178(3-4):319-23.
12. Oldham J. Observations on the incidence of Toxocara and Toxascaris in dogs and cats from the London area. J Helminthol. 1965;39(2):251-56.
13. Merigueti YFFB, Santarém VA, Ramires LM, et al. Protective and risk factors associated with the presence of Toxocara spp. eggs in dog hair. Vet Parasitol. 2017;244:39-43.
14. Senlik B, Cirak V, Karabacak A. Intestinal nematode infections in Turkish military dogs with special reference to Toxocara canis. J Helminthol. 2006;80(3):299-303.
15. Rojas TO, Romero C, Heredia R, et al. Identification of Toxocara spp. eggs in dog hair and associated risk factors. Vet World. 2017;10(7):798-802.
IssueVol 15 No 2 (2020) QRcode
SectionShort Communication(s)
Toxocara canis Eggs Hair Feces Dog

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
SASANNEJAD N, KHOSHNEGAH J, BAKHSHANI A, BORJI H. Survey of Toxocara eggs on Dog Hair as a Potential Transmission Route in Human Toxocariasis in Northeastern Iran. Iran J Parasitol. 2020;15(2):248-252.