A survey on the gastrointestinal parasites of exotic companion species in Tehran, Iran

Document Type : Research Article


1 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


Exotic pet owners, ranging from small mammals to reptiles, comprise a considerable portion of veterinary clients. Parasitic infections are a threat both for the animal health and the health of the owner. This study aimed to investigate the gastrointestinal parasite species commonly encountered in exotic animal veterinary practice. Exotic pets’ fecal samples were examined for fecal parasites macroscopically and microscopically by saline fecal smears, fecal floatation and specific staining. Chi-squared test to investigate the association between the presence and type of the parasites with host species and clinical symptoms (p < 0.05). Three hundred fecal samples, including 262 from small mammals, 37 from reptiles and 1 from primate were investigated for gastrointestinal endoparasites. The exotic pet species consisted of Lagomorpha (189/300; 63%), Rodentia (68/300; 22.66%), Reptilia (37/189; 12.33%), Eulipotyphla (4/300; 1.3%), a sugar glider and a marmoset. Thirty-nine samples were found to be infected with at least one gastrointestinal parasite (13%). Parasites observed in the feces of exotic pets included oocysts, strongyle-shaped eggs, oxyurid eggs (Passalurus ambiguous) and cestode eggs. A sample from a guinea pig was diagnosed to be infected with Cryptosporidium sp. There was no significant association between clinical symptoms and host species with parasite infection (p > 0.05). Considering the continuous species alteration, the unidentified sources of the pets in the market, and the potential of zoonotic infections periodical surveys on the common pet species and their parasitic infection are inevitable. Subclinical intestinal parasites in pet animals may alter the well-being of the companion animal if adjoined with poor management. Usually there is no need for anti-parasitic therapy in an animal without clinical signs, but regular diagnostic tests for parasites are advisable for effective veterinary practice. 


Main Subjects

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Volume 15, Issue 3 - Serial Number 32
This issue XML file is being prepared.
September 2023
Pages 1-6
  • Receive Date: 12 June 2023
  • Revise Date: 01 August 2023
  • Accept Date: 06 August 2023
  • First Publish Date: 06 August 2023