We developed a novel and simple method, using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), for the detection and discrimination of Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati eggs. The new method employs 4 steps: (1) concentration of Toxocara eggs in a small amount of sand; (2) dissolution of the proteinaceous membrane of eggs and simultaneously separation of them from the sand using NaClO treatment; (3) extraction of DNA using NaOH treatment; and (4) detection of T. canis/T. cati DNA using a LAMP assay. All these steps are fast, easy to perform, and do not require expensive equipment or reagents. The novel method was tested both experimentally and in a field study. In the laboratory, we could reliably detect as few as 3 T. canis eggs in artificially contaminated sand, if the experiment was repeated twice. In the field trial, we were able to detect T. cati DNA from 4 natural sandpits having moderate to heavy contamination, although not in a single lightly contaminated sandpit. All of the examined sandpits were found to be contaminated with eggs of T. cati, but none appeared to contain T. canis. Our new method could extract DNA from T. canis and T. cati eggs directly from sand samples as well as detect and distinguish these 2 species in a few easy steps, with markedly reduced time and expense.

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