Occurrence of Dipylidium caninum in fleas from client-owned cats and dogs in Europe using a new PCR detection assay

Frédéric Beugnet, Michel Labuschagne, Josephus Fourie, Guillot Jacques, Robert Farkas, Vasile Cozma, Lénaïg Halos, Klaus Hellmann, Martin Knaus, Steffen Rehbein

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Ctenocephalides fleas are not only the most prevalent ectoparasites of dogs and cats but also the intermediate host of the cestode Dipylidium caninum. Due to the poor sensitivity of coproscopy to diagnose cat and dog infestation by Dipylidium, few epidemiological data are available on its prevalence among pet populations. A new PCR method was developed to specifically identify D. caninum rDNA inside single fleas. The PCR test was then applied to 5529 fleas of Ctenocephalides genus, 2701 Ctenocephalides felis fleas (1969 collected on 435 cats and 732 on 178 dogs) and 2828 Ctenocephalides canis fleas collected from 396 dogs. Precisely, 4.37% of cats were infested by a flea population infected with D. caninum. Out of the 1969 C. felis from cats, 2.23% were found to be infected with Dipylidium. From the 396 dogs infested with C. canis, 9.1%% were infested with the Dipylidium infected fleas, which is significantly higher than the observation made in cats (p=0.03). Moreover, 3.1% of the C. canis fleas were found to be infected with Dipylidium, which is not significantly different than in C. felis. Looking at the number of infected fleas in the positive samples (at least one PCR positive flea in a sample), the infestation rate in samples was varied from 3 to 100% with an average of 19.7% which is in favour of easy and regular Dipylidium reinfestations of both cats and dogs in households. For the first time, the spread of D. caninum between fleas and dogs and cats is confirmed throughout Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Cats
  • Ctenocephalides canis
  • Ctenocephalides felis
  • Dipylidium caninum
  • Dogs
  • PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)

Cite this

Beugnet, F., Labuschagne, M., Fourie, J., Jacques, G., Farkas, R., Cozma, V., Halos, L., Hellmann, K., Knaus, M., & Rehbein, S. (2014). Occurrence of Dipylidium caninum in fleas from client-owned cats and dogs in Europe using a new PCR detection assay. Veterinary Parasitology, 205(1-2), 300-306. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2014.06.008