Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Ancylostoma in dogs in the Caribbean: a review and study from St. Kitts, West Indies.

Abstract

Background: Little is known about the prevalence of Ancylostoma in dogs in the Caribbean. In view of the number of owned free-roaming and feral dogs within the islands and the ideal subtropical climate for parasite development and environmental survival, Ancylostoma could pose a threat to the health of the dogs as well as a zoonotic risk to people. Methods: To determine whether generalities about Ancylostoma in dogs in the Caribbean could be made and to obtain a better understanding of the prevalence, published (Scielo, Scopus, and PubMed databases) and gray (e.g., student theses, conference presentations) literature was reviewed. Retrieved manuscripts were screened, and relevant data (year, location, dog population, method of diagnosis, positivity rate) were extracted. Data from two dog populations on St. Kitts also were included: a 2014 field study involving dogs with limited veterinary care and data from the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Clinic records for 2018-2019. Results: Fourteen manuscripts from the 1950s to 2019, representing ten of the Caribbean islands/countries and the Bahamas, were identified. Methods of diagnosing infection status ranged from simple qualitative or quantitative flotation methods to centrifugation with Sheather's sugar flotation solution or necropsy. Dog populations sampled included stray, owned free-roaming, and owned confined. Reported rates of Ancylostoma infection ranged from 10 to 91%. Studies from the last 10 years indicate positivity rates of 21 to 73%. Ancylostoma positivity rates in the St. Kitts' populations were 61% and 10% for the 2014 and 2018-2019 populations, respectively. Conclusions: There was no indication that hookworm prevalence has changed over time in the Caribbean, and there were no obvious differences between owned and unowned dogs or free-roaming and confined dogs. The data from St. Kitts were on par with positivity rates from the other islands within the last 10 years and reflective of the impact that veterinary care, including anthelmintic treatment, is expected to have on parasites in pets. There is a clear need to expand the available data for the region and improve control programs for Ancylostoma infections to protect both canine and human health.