Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2011
Publication Date: 6/15/2011
Citation: Lopes, A.P., Santos, H., Neto, F., Rodrigues, M., Kwok, O.C., Dubey, J.P., Carduso, L. 2011. Prevalence of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in dogs from northeastern Portugal. Journal of Parasitology. 97:418-420. Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts. Humans can also become infected by petting dogs that have rolled over in feces of cats infected with T. gondii oocysts. In the present study scientists document prevalence of T. gondii antibodies in dogs from Portugal. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Prevalence of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii was investigated in 673 domestic dogs from northeastern Portugal, by using the modified agglutination test (MAT) with 1:20 as cut-off for seropositivity; antibodies were found in 256 dogs (38.0%). Differences between seroprevalence levels in males (36.7%) and females (41.8%) and between pure breed (42.1%) and mixed-breed dogs (35.2%) were not statistically significant, Multiple logistic regression analysis identified age above 12 mo (odds ratio [OR] = 4.0), chance of eating birds or small mammals (OR = 4.0), housing exclusively outdoors (OR = 1.5), home-cooked meals (OR = 3.0) and raw meat or viscera (OR = 7.7) as risk factors for the canine T. gondii infection. Some control measures are suggested based on these findings.