Host factors associated with Giardia duodenalis infection in dogs across multiple diagnostic tests

Mathilde Uiterwijk, Rolf Nijsse, Frans N.J. Kooyman, Jaap A. Wagenaar, Lapo Mughini-Gras, Harm W. Ploeger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The aim of this study was to assess potential associations between Giardia duodenalis infection in dogs, as determined by three diagnostic tests, and dog's group of origin, fecal consistency, age, sex, neuter status, and co-infections with other gastrointestinal parasites. Methods: Fecal samples from 1291 dogs from four groups (household, shelter, hunting and clinical dogs) were tested with qPCR, rapid enzyme immunochromatographic assay (IDEXX SNAP® Giardia), and direct immunofluorescence (DFA, Merifluor) for presence of G. duodenalis. Moreover, fecal samples were tested with centrifugation sedimentation flotation (CSF) coproscopical analysis for presence of gastrointestinal parasites. Associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs). Results: Several significant associations were found, of which a few were consistent for all three tests and Giardia positivity in general (positive with at least one of these tests). Dogs older than one year were significantly less likely to test positive for Giardia than younger dogs. Group-housed dogs, especially hunting dogs, were significantly more likely to test positive for Giardia compared to household and clinical dogs. A consistently significant association with Trichuris appeared to be driven by the high prevalence in hunting dogs. Although there was no significant association between loose stool and Giardia infection in the overall population, household dogs were significantly more likely to test Giardia-positive when having loose stool. Overall, Giardia-positive dogs with loose stool shed significantly more cysts, both determined semi-quantitatively with CSF and quantitatively by qPCR, than positive dogs with no loose stool. When other gastrointestinal parasites were present, significantly fewer cysts were detected with CSF, but this was not confirmed with qPCR. Conclusion: Giardia is the most common gastrointestinal parasite in Dutch dogs, except for hunting dogs, in which Trichuris and strongyle-type eggs (hookworms) prevailed. Giardia infection was not significantly associated with loose stool, except for household dogs. Young dogs and group-housed dogs were significantly more often Giardia-positive. These associations were consistent across diagnostic tests. Young dogs, clinical dogs and dogs with loose stool shed Giardia cysts in the highest numbers. If another gastrointestinal parasite was present lower numbers of cysts were observed by microscope (CSF), but not with a molecular method (qPCR).

Original languageEnglish
Article number556
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019


  • Canine
  • DFA
  • Endoparasites
  • Giardiosis
  • IDEXX SNAP Giardia
  • Loose stool
  • qPCR


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