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      Prevalence of flea infestation in dogs and cats in Hungary combined with a survey of owner awareness.

      Medical and Veterinary Entomology

      Animals, Awareness, physiology, Cat Diseases, epidemiology, parasitology, Cats, Dog Diseases, Dogs, Ectoparasitic Infestations, veterinary, Female, Housing, Animal, Humans, Hungary, Male, Pest Control, methods, Prevalence, Siphonaptera, drug effects, immunology, pathogenicity

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          Abstract

          A survey was conducted in order to gain current information on flea species (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae) infesting dogs and cats living in urban and rural areas of Hungary, along with data on the factors that affect the presence, distribution and seasonality of infestation. In addition, owner awareness of flea infestation was evaluated. Practitioners in 13 veterinary clinics were asked to examine all dogs and cats attending the clinic and to collect fleas, when present, on 2 days in each month from December 2005 to November 2006. They also completed a questionnaire for each animal examined. A total of 319 dogs (14.1%) were found to be infested; the highest prevalence (27.1%) of infestation on dogs occurred in August and the lowest (5.4%) in May. Prevalence of fleas on cats was higher (22.9%); the highest (35.0%) and lowest (8.1%) prevalences occurred in July and April, respectively. Fleas were more prevalent in rural (387/1924 animals, 20.2%) than in urban (161/1343 animals, 12.0%) areas. Three species, Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché), Ctenocephalides canis (Curtis) and Pulex irritans L., were found. On dogs, the prevalence of C. canis alone was 53.0%, whereas that of C. felis alone was 36.0%. Only 19 specimens of P. irritans were found on 14 dogs from rural habitats only. Prevalence of C. felis only on cats was 94.3%; the remaining cats were infested with either C. canis or with mixed infestations of C. felis and C. canis. More than half (51.4%) of the owners of infested dogs and cats had not used flea control products in the past year or more, and five times as many owners in rural than urban areas had not used flea control products in the same period. Very few owners reported having attempted to kill fleas in their animals' environment; instead, they believed that fleas were acquired from other cats or dogs.

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          Journal
          19712149
          10.1111/j.1365-2915.2009.00798.x

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