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Stray cats are afflicted with various parasitic infestations and the infective stages of these parasites may spread infection to other animals including human beings. The study was conducted for a period of one year from March 2009 to February 2010 to determine the prevalence of parasitic infection in and around Jammu–humid subtropical zone of North Western India. A total of 100 stray cats were examined using standard parasitological methods. Post mortem examinations of stray cats were also conducted to determine the presence of any mature parasite in the gastrointestinal system and other viscera. All the cats examined were found to be positive for one or other type of parasitic infection. Eggs identified were those of hookworms found to be predominant (80%) followed by Taeniid eggs (40%), Toxocara eggs (32%), Strongyloides eggs (28%), Dipylidium canium eggs (20%) and Spirometra eggs (8%). EPG of the positive samples were also recorded. Mean ± SD EPG of hookworm eggs, Toxocara eggs and Strongyloides eggs were 50 ± 1.81, 102.5± 4.81 and 87.57 ± 7.52 respectively. Besides these, prevalence of Toxoplasma/Hammondia oocyst was 88%, Isospora oocyst 80% and Cryptosporidium oocyst 4% (ZN- staining). Five cat carcasses lying open on the road-side were also collected and brought to the laboratory for post-mortem examination. While opening the carcasses, three different parasites were also found and they were identified as Ancylostoma tubaeforme (80%), Taenia taeniaeformis (60%) and Dipylidium caninum (40%). The high parasitic burden evident from this study could pose a potential threat to public health.
Keywords: India, Jammu, Parasites, Prevalence, Stray cats.