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Parasitology Research

, Volume 111, Issue 2, pp 909–919 | Cite as

Ectoparasite infestation patterns of domestic dogs in suburban and rural areas in Borneo

  • Konstans WellsEmail author
  • Jean-Claude Beaucournu
  • Lance A. Durden
  • Trevor N. Petney
  • Maklarin B. Lakim
  • Robert B. O’Hara
Original Paper

Abstract

Domestic dogs, Canis lupus, have been one of the longest companions of humans and have introduced their own menagerie of parasites and pathogens into this relationship. Here, we investigate the parasitic load of 212 domestic dogs with fleas (Siphonaptera) chewing lice (Phthiraptera), and ticks (Acarina) along a gradient from rural areas with near-natural forest cover to suburban areas in Northern Borneo (Sabah, Malaysia). We used a spatially-explicit hierarchical Bayesian model that allowed us to impute missing data and to consider spatial structure in modelling dog infestation probability and parasite density. We collected a total of 1,968 fleas of two species, Ctenocephalides orientis and Ctenocephalides felis felis, from 195 dogs (prevalence, 92 %). Flea density was higher on dogs residing in houses made of bamboo or corrugated metal (increase of 40 % from the average) compared to timber or stone/compound houses. Host-dependent and landscape-level environmental variables and spatial structure only had a weak explanatory power. We found adults of the invasive chewing louse Heterodoxus spiniger on 42 dogs (20 %). The effect of housing conditions was opposite to those for fleas; lice were only found on dogs residing in stone or timber houses. We found ticks of the species Rhipicephalus sanguineus as well as Haemaphysalis bispinosa gp., Haemaphysalis cornigera, Haemaphysalis koenigsbergi, and Haemaphysalis semermis on 36 dogs (17 %). The most common tick species was R. sanguineus, recorded from 23 dogs. Tick infestations were highest on dogs using both plantation and forest areas (282 % increase in overall tick density of dogs using all habitat types). The infestation probability of dogs with lice and ticks decreased with elevation, most infestations occurred below 800 m above sea level. However, the density of lice and ticks revealed no spatial structure; infestation probability of dogs with these two groups revealed considerable autocorrelation. Our study shows that environmental conditions on the house level appeared to be more influential on flea and lice density whereas tick density was also influenced by habitat use. Infestation of dogs with Haemaphysalis ticks identified an important link between dogs and forest wildlife for potential pathogen transmission.

Keywords

Credible Interval Tick Species Tick Infestation Salb Spatial Random Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Sabah Parks for permission and for providing various kind of support during field work. We are especially thankful to all dog owners and families in Sabah who allowed as to examine their dogs and provided helpful hands. Fred Tuh Yit Yuh, Ibas Dungol, and Jorimia Molubi kindly helped in the field. Eva-Maria Gerstner contributed to GIS data preparation. Field work was funded by the “Landesoffensive zur Entwicklung wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz” (LOEWE) of the state of Hesse in Germany through the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (Bik-F).

Supplementary material

436_2012_2917_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
ESM 1 DOC 34 kb

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konstans Wells
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Jean-Claude Beaucournu
    • 4
  • Lance A. Durden
    • 5
  • Trevor N. Petney
    • 6
  • Maklarin B. Lakim
    • 2
  • Robert B. O’Hara
    • 1
  1. 1.Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (Bik-F)Frankfurt (Main)Germany
  2. 2.Kota KinabaluMalaysia
  3. 3.Institute of Experimental EcologyUniversity of UlmUlmGermany
  4. 4.Laboratoire de Parasitologie et de Zoologie AppliqueeFaculté de MédecineRennesFrance
  5. 5.Department of BiologyGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA
  6. 6.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Zoological InstituteKarlsruheGermany

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