Prompt and reliable diagnostic tests for taeniid infection in canids are important due to the risk of zoonoses like Echinococcus spp. Current diagnostic methods relying on fecal flotation lack sensitivity and specificity, but this has rarely been quantified due to the challenges in performing adult cestode recovery (the gold standard) in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Therefore, we recovered adult Taenia and Echinococcus spp. from intestines, as well as fecal/intestinal material from 484 wild canids trapped for fur in two Canadian provinces (276 foxes – primarily Vulpes vulpes, coyotes – Canis latrans, and wolves – Canis lupus in Québec and 208 coyotes in Saskatchewan). The performances of a newly developed coproPCR for tapeworm DNA detection in dogs, and centrifugal fecal flotation using Sheather’s solution, were evaluated against adult cestode recovery. Overall, adult taeniid cestode prevalence (Taenia and/or Echinococcus) was 28 % (95 % CI: 23-33 %) in Québec (62 % (CI: 51-73%) of 74 coyotes, 65 % (CI: 44-82) of 23 wolves, and 11 % (CI: 7-16%) of 179 foxes) and 79 % (CI: 73-84%) of 208 coyotes in Saskatchewan. In Québec, E. canadensis and Taenia spp. were detected in coyotes and wolves, and foxes were only infected with Taenia spp., whereas Saskatchewan coyotes were predominantly infected with E. multilocularis (at significantly higher prevalence, but not intensity, than coyotes in Québec). Compared with centrifugal fecal flotation, the new coproPCR had at least double the sensitivity (58 % vs 23 % in QC coyotes, 57 % vs 23 % in QC wolves, 24 % vs 0% in QC foxes, and 80 % vs 25 % in SK coyotes). Notably, no taeniid eggs were detected on flotations from foxes infected with Taenia spp., and the new coproPCR had highest sensitivity in Saskatchewan coyotes, which were predominantly infected with E. multilocularis. CoproPCR has promising prospects for use in Veterinary clinics and diagnostic laboratories to detect taeniid cestode infections because of its higher sensitivity than faecal flotation methods. This is particularly important for zoonotic Echinococcus spp. where, from a public health perspective, false negatives are a much greater concern than false positives.
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