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Prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasites of donkeys in Dugda Bora District, Ethiopia
Prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasites of donkeys inDugda Bora District, Ethiopia
A year round study (from October-2004 to September-2005) was conducted in Dugda Bora district (Ethiopia) toidentify the gastrointestinal parasites of donkeys, determine their prevalence rates and find associations betweenmeasurable parameters and parasites burden.A total of 339 faecal samples were collected randomly for qualitative and quantitative faecal analysis. Theparasites encountered were Strongyle (100%),
Parascaris equorum
 Anoplocephala Spp
. (7.4%),
Gastrodiscus aegypticus
Oxuris equi
(3%) and
(1.5%). Gross faecal examinations revealed
Gasterophilus intestinalis and Gasterophilus nasalis
(20.9%). 81.7% of donkeys sampled were severelyinfected, 8.3% heavily, 3.8% moderately and 6.2% mildly infected. Mixed infections were detected in 54.8% of the donkeys. Cultural identification of larvae (n=28) demonstrated
Strongylus vulgaris (
Strongylus edentatus
Trichostrongylus axei
 , Strongloides westeri
(50%) and
Dictyocaulus arnfieldi
(20%). Rainy season encouraged Strongyle infection andthere was no significant age associated immunity (p>0.05) to Strongyle
and Parascaris equorum
infections. Thebody condition score and packed cell volume were negatively correlated (r= -0.67 & -0.6, respectively) with thetotal epg count. The presumptive clinical examination of donkeys (n=1674) showed that Parasitosis (45%),Parasitosis and wounds (16.8%), wounds (16.4%), lameness (6%), respiratory complications (5.4%), septicemia(4.2%), sarciod (3.1%) and eye problems (2%) were the health problems in the area.Parasitism, wounds and other health problems were identified affecting the health and welfare of donkeys andGovernment or other development agencies should include donkeys in their priority lists of research anddevelop sustainable integrated diseases prevention and control programs that are practical in developingcommunities.
Key words:
Donkeys, Ethiopia, gastrointestinal parasites, prevalence
Despite the increase in mechanization throughout the world, donkeys are still well deserving of thename 'beasts of burden'. They have a prominent position in the agricultural systems of many developingcountries. This is shown by the wide spread use of donkeys in rural and urban areas in Africa (Pearsonet al 1999). It is suggested that donkeys can play a great role in the frame works of food security and
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Prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasites of donkeys in Dugda Bora District, Ethiopia
social equity of high food insecure countries.Ethiopia has about 7.9 million equines, where 5.2 millions are donkeys (CSA 1995). There is oneequine for every four people in the agricultural sector and for every five persons of the total population(Wilson 1991).The Domestic donkey of Ethiopia traces its ancestry to the wild asses found in Egypt,the Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, namely
 Equus asinus africanus
 Equus asinus somalicus
(Feseha1991). The low level of development of the road transport network and the rough terrain of the countrymake the donkey the most valuable, appropriate and affordable pack animals under the small holderfarming system of Ethiopia (GebreWold et al 2004). Donkeys appear to be an effective entry point forassisting women not only in domestic responsibilities, but also enabling women to be engaged inincome-generating activities which otherwise they may not have had access to (Marshall and Ali 2004).Abayneh et al (2002) has revealed that in areas where draft power is a constraint for crop cultivation apair of well-conditioned donkeys could be used as an alternative draft power sources for secondary andtertiary land preparations.Even though donkeys have often been described as sturdy animals, they succumb to a variety of diseases and a number of other conditions. (Svendsen 1997).The attention given by Governmental and non-Governmental organizations to donkeys has been farbelow to what it deserves. This might be partly due to the wrong perception that the donkey does notrequire a lot of care, that when donkeys do get sick they are quick to die, and the donkey's lowtraditional status (Marshall and Ali 2004). Despite the huge numbers and the increasing importance of donkeys in the Ethiopian economy, knowledge about the health problems affecting their welfare islimited for most parts of the country. Therefore, the objectives of this study were
to determine spectrum of species and prevalence of major GIT parasites involved in donkeys.
to determine seasonal distribution of donkeys GIT parasites.
to find associations between measurable parameters and GIT parasites burden.
Materials and methods
Study area
The study was conducted during the year Oct.2004 - Sept. 2005 in Dugda Bora District of Ethiopiawhich is located about 134 km South of Addis Ababa. The long rainy season in the area is betweenJune and October, while the long dry season lasts from October to February. The mean minimum andmaximum temperatures in the area ranges from14 to 27ºC. The average altitude is 1650m above sealevel, with an average rainfall of 716mm.
Study animals and protocol
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Prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasites of donkeys in Dugda Bora District, Ethiopia
A total of 339 (186 male and 156 female) donkeyswere randomly selected from 12 peasant associationsof Dugda Bora district and subjected to quantitative and qualitative coprological examinations toidentify the major GIT parasites involved, to determine their prevalence rates and to find associationsbetween measurable parameters and GIT parasites burden.The farmers in the selected peasant associations were informed on the importance of the study and topresent their donkeys on specific visit dates and places. The age of the selected donkeys wasdetermined by dentition (Crane 1997) and body condition scores were subjectively estimated based onthe guides published by Svendsen (Svendsen 1997). Donkeys were grouped in to three age categories.Donkeys under two years of age were classed as young (n=64), those in range of two to ten years wereclassed as adult (n=182) and those beyond ten years were classed as old (n=93). These age classes werebased on age of first work, productive age and the life span of Ethiopian donkeys (Yoseph et al 2001;Svendsen 1997).Faecal samples were taken directly from the rectum or the ground when the animal was seen defecatingwith strict sanitation and placed in air and water tight sample vials, and then brought to the laboratory.Gross faecal examinations were done before the samples were subjected to microscopic examinations.Modified McMaster and Baerman techniques and sedimentation and floatation methods were used toidentify and count eggs or larvae of parasitic helminthes (Urquhart et al 1996; Soulsby 1982). Faecalcultures were done for samples with total mean egg counts of greater than 10,000. Identification of larvae (L
) was based on specific morphological traits set by Poynter (1970). Levels of worm infectionwere extrapolated from infection severity index defined by Soulsby (1982) where horses are said tohave mild, moderate, heavy and severe nematode infestation if their fecal egg counts are less than 500,800-1000, 1100-1500 and more than 1500, respectively.Packed cell volume was determined following centrifugation in a high-speed micro-haematocritcentrifuge (Hawaksly-England) (Daclie and Lewis1991).
Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics were used to determine the prevalence of endoparasites and percentage of healthproblems in the area. Association of total eggs per gram with body condition score and packed cellvolume was determined by Pearson test (SAS 1998). One-way ANOVA in a General Linear Model(GLM) (SAS 1998) was used to observe the variations of total epg of parasite species with age, seasonsand sex groups. In all the analysis, confidence level was held at 95%.
Macroscopic fecal examination
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