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Parasites in Parks: The Zoonotic Potential Related to Socioeconomic Factors and Types of Pets

By Terrance M. Stock, Khristen Vasseur, Christina Anton

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Edmonton, Canada is a northern city with more than 100,000 registered pets with access to parks, playgrounds and off-leash areas. Our objectives were to determine the prevalence of zoonotic animal parasite infections in parks and relate this to numbers and types of pets and to socioeconomic factors. Also, we wished to compare the prevalence of the roundworm, Toxocara canis, to other cities in the world. More than 200 fecal samples from 50 different parks were analyzed using a fecal floatation concentration method. All parks had pet feces and 24% of samples (from 64% of parks) had eggs or cysts of parasites, including Toxocara, Toxascaris, Taenia, Dipyllidium, Isospora, and mites. Commonest parasites were ascaridoid nematodes (19% of sampls; 58% of parks) . Type of park and number of registered animals were not related with parasites but average household income and breed of dog was. In spite of its northern location, Edmonton was not unique in prevalence of T. canis and no global trends relating parasites to latitude were seen. City parks pose a threat of zoonotic infection and pet owners and veterinarians should be better informed. More effort in testing and deworming adult pets, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas of cities, should occur.


Katie Carroll

Date 2014
Publication Title Cities and the Environment (CATE)
Volume 7
Issue 2
Publisher Loyola Marymount University
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Cities and towns
  4. Health
  5. Parasites
  6. Parasitic diseases
  7. parks
  8. Pets and companion animals
  9. Physical environment
  10. socioeconomics
  11. Zoonoses