Dog importation and changes in canine intestinal nematode prevalence in Colorado, USA, 2013–2017
Parasites & Vectors
Animal rescue and animal welfare organizations are relocating thousands of dogs per year following natural disasters and in attempts to provide greater adoption opportunities. Many dogs are sourced from the southeastern USA, which historically has a high prevalence rate for many parasites and parasitic diseases. The Colorado Department of Agriculture Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) requires animal shelters and animal welfare organizations to report annually a variety of statistics
... f statistics including the numbers of dogs imported into Colorado from out of state. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) provides data nationally, down to the state and county level, on a variety of common parasitic and vector borne diseases. These data make it possible to track changes in parasite prevalence over several years. Test results for canine roundworm, hookworm and whipworm were collected from the CAPC maps for 2013-2017. Dog importation data for 2014-2017 was collected from PACFA reports. For evaluation of the statistical significance of prevalence changes when comparing 2013 to 2017, 2 × 2 contingency tables were constructed with both positive and negative test results for each year and the data assessed using Chi-square tests to determine if the 2017 prevalence was significantly different than the 2013 prevalence for roundworm, hookworm and whipworm. Significant increases in intestinal nematode prevalence occurred in Colorado from 2013 to 2017. The prevalence of canine roundworm rose 35.60%, the prevalence of canine hookworm rose 137.33% and the prevalence of canine whipworm rose 63.68%. From 2014 to 2017, over 114,000 dogs were transported into Colorado from out-of-state, by more than 130 animal shelters and rescue organizations. Three of the larger organizations reported that the majority of their dogs were obtained from New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Texas and Oklahoma have historically much higher parasite prevalence than Colorado. Veterinarians in areas with historically low parasite prevalence where dogs from high parasite prevalence areas are arriving for adoption may need to reevaluate their recommendations regarding fecal examination and deworming frequencies as historic levels of intestinal parasite infection may no longer be accurate assessments of future infection risks.