The Tibetan plateau of western China has been shown to have a very high prevalence of human cystic echinococcosis (CE) caused by Echinococcus granulosus and human alveolar echinococcosis (AE) caused by Echinococcus multilocularis. The domestic dog is suspected to be the primary definitive host for the transmission of both E. granulosus and E. multilocularis to humans in this locality. A purgation study of 371 dogs in Shiqu County, Sichuan Province during 2002-2003 resulted in an E. multilocularis prevalence of 12% and an E. granulosus prevalence of 8%. These crude prevalences were then adjusted, based on the known sensitivity of arecoline purgation for the detection of E. granulosus and a suggested sensitivity for the detection of E. multilocularis. In addition, it was assumed that some immature parasites of either species could be misidentified morphologically and wrongly assigned. This resulted in credible true prevalence intervals of between 13-33% for E. multilocularis and 8-19% for E. granulosus. Prevalences of other intestinal helminthes found on purgation were: Taenia spp. 31%, Dipylidium caninum 1%, and ascarids 8%. Risk factors associated with the acquisition of canine echinococcosis were evaluated based on responses to a questionnaire administered to dog owners. Male dogs were more likely to be infected with Echinococcus spp. than female dogs (P < 0.05) and dogs allowed to roam were more likely to be infected with E. multilocularis (P < 0.05). © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.