This study evaluated for the first time, ectoparasite infestations on dogs from urban and rural areas of the continental land of the state of Maranhâo, northeastern Brazil. In total, 622 dogs were examined for ectoparasite infestations. Overall, 392 (63.0%) were infested with ectoparasites, 154 (51.3%) of 300 urban dogs and 238 (73.9%) of 322 rural dogs. Five species of ectoparasites were found, three ticks [Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Latreille), Amblyomma ovale Koch, and Amblyommacajennense (F.) ], one flea [Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché) ], and one louse [ (Heterodoxus spininger (Enderlein) ]. The frequency of infestation by R. sanguineus tended to be higher in urban than in rural areas, whereas infestations by Amblyomma ticks and C. felis fleas tended to be higher among rural dogs. Louse (H. spininger) infestations were similarly low among all areas. Mixed infestations by at least two species of ectoparasites on the same dog were significantly more frequent on rural than on urban dogs. The most frequent mixed infestation was by R. sanguineus and C. felis, found on 11.4% of the dogs. Further studies are warranted to evaluate canine vector-borne agents in Maranhão, especially because most of the ectoparasites here reported are vectors of major vector-borne diseases, including zoonoses of continental importance.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3