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Several taeniid cestode (tapeworm) parasites of dogs cause cysts in sheep, which act as intermediate hosts. Cysts of Taenia hydatigena and T ovis infections are usually clinically silent,1 and unlike Echinococcus granulosus, do not pose public health risks. Infected sheep carcases and offal, however, are condemned and discarded due to their poor cosmetic appearance,2 leading to economic losses. High levels of cysticercosis were previously reported in south-west England,3 with one outbreak leading to condemnation of 7 per cent of carcases.4 This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of taeniid ova in the faeces of dogs on sheep farms in south-west England. Twenty-four commercial farms participating in preventive veterinary flock health planning (FHP) were invited to submit faecal samples from working and pet dogs on the holding; non-responders were visited and fresh faeces were collected from the kennel floor. Sampled dogs had not received anti-tapeworm treatment for four weeks prior to sampling. Faeces were examined using the FLOTAC method (analytical sensitivity=1 epg)5 and the occurrence of taeniid and other parasite ova was noted. Face-to-face producer interviews captured data on feeding and deworming of dogs, …
Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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