Stray Cats Gastrointestinal Parasites and its Association With Public Health in Ahvaz City, South Western of Iran

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Background: Cats are the hosts for some zoonotic parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii and Toxocara spp. which are important in medicine and veterinary. Studies on the prevalence of intestinal parasites of cats have received little attention in south west of Iran. Objectives: The current study aimed to investigate the prevalence of parasites in stray cats in Ahvaz. Materials and Methods: Random sampling was carried out from January to May 2012. One hundred and forty fecal samples from stray cats were examined using sucrose flotation method. Results: Gastrointestinal parasites were found in 121 of the 140 (86.4%) examined samples. The parasites detected in stray cats were Toxocara spp. (45%, 63/140), Isospora spp. (21.4%, 30/140), nematode larvae (21.4%, 30/140), Taenia spp. (18.6%, 26/140), Sarcocystis spp. (17.1%, 24/140), Eimeria spp. (15%, 21/140), Blastocystis spp. (14.3%, 20/140), Giardia spp, (10.7%, 15/140), Physaloptera spp. (7.1%, 10/140), and amoeba cyst (5.7%, 8/140) respectively. The prevalence of infection by Joyexiella spp. and hook worms (4.3%, 6/140), for example, Dipylidium caninum (2.9%, 4/140) was similar; and the prevalence of infection by T. gondii and Dicrocoelium dendriticum was similar (1.4%, 2/140). Conclusions: Since the prevalence of zoonotic gastrointestinal parasites such as Toxocara spp. in stray cats is high, there is a need to plan adequate programs to control these zoonotic parasites.