S.F. Brennan; A. Lawlor; G. Mulcahy; C.T. Mooney
In many countries, greyhounds are bred as performance animals and in order to fulfill their racing potential must be in peak condition. Trainers aim to prepare dogs with optimal nutrition, strict training and dietary supplementation as necessary. Parasitic infection potentially adversely influences performance, although limited information is available on prevalence or type of parasites found.
This study aimed to document the presence and type of parasitic infection in greyhounds as they presented for a race.
Faecal samples were collected from greyhounds at two racetracks in Dublin during a two month winter period. Samples were collected from the ground shortly after defecation and placed in individual plastic receptacles. All samples were collected in the pre-race period prior to kennelling. Samples were analysed qualitatively within 24-48 hours of collection via modified Baermann examination and zinc sulphate flotation.
Samples were collected from 99 greyhounds. Parasites were found in 42 % (n=42). Twenty nine percent of dogs (n=29) were infected with Toxocara canis, 13% (n=13) with Eucoleus (Capillaria) aerophilia, 6% (n=6) with Trichuris vulpis, 4% (n=4) with Uncinaria stenocephala and 1% (n=1) each with Isospora sp, Toxascaris leonina, Taenia sp and Angiostrongylus vasorum. In 12% more than one parasite was present, typically T. canis and E. aerophilia.
Findings suggest that parasitism is common in racing greyhounds; quantitative worm burdens and influence on athletic function are as yet undetermined, but are worthy of further study.