Prevalence and risk factors for patent Toxocara infections in cats and cat owners’ attitude towards deworming

R. Nijsse*, H.W. Ploeger, J.A. Wagenaar, L. Mughini-Gras

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The prevalence of and risk factors for shedding Toxocara eggs in cats older than 6 months were determined by examining 670 faecal samples collected in 4 cross-sectional studies in the Netherlands. Additionally, cat owners provided information on their attitude towards routine deworming. Samples were examined using the centrifugal sedimentation flotation method. Overall Toxocara prevalence was 7.2 %. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that young age and living in rural areas were significant risk factors for shedding Toxocara eggs. Moreover, the more time a cat was allowed to roam outdoors, the higher was its risk to shed Toxocara as compared to cats with no outdoor access at all. For 199 cats (81.6 % of cats subjected to a deworming regimen) owners provided the reason for treatment. The main reason for routine deworming (80.4 %) concerned the cat’s health and only 10.6 % of the cats were treated for public health reasons. Moreover, the generally advocated four-times-a-year deworming advice was applied on only 24.5 % of cats. We concluded that free roaming is a key factor in the acquisition of patent Toxocara infections leading to the environmental contamination with Toxocara eggs. Additionally, the knowledge of cat owners is still insufficient to expect them to make sound decisions on routine deworming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4519-4525
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Cat owners
  • Deworming
  • Household cats
  • Public health
  • Risk factors
  • Toxocara cati


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