Prevalence and seasonal changes in the population of gastrointestinal nematodes of small ruminants in the semi-arid zone of north-eastern Nigeria.Vet Parasitol. 2007 Mar 15; 144(1-2):118-24.VP
A survey was carried out to determine the prevalence and seasonal abundance of the egg and adult stages of nematode parasites of sheep and goats in the semi-arid zone of north-eastern Nigeria between January and December 2002. Faecal samples collected from 102 sheep and 147 goats and examined by the modified McMaster technique using saturated solution of sodium chloride as the floating medium revealed that 44 (43.1%) and 82 (55.8%) of the samples, respectively, contained at least one nematode egg type. Three nematode egg types were recovered with strongyle egg type (22.5% in sheep and 35.4% in goats) being the most prevalent followed, respectively, by Trichuris (5.9% in sheep and 4.1% in goats) and Strongyloides (4.9% in sheep and 4.1% in goats) egg types. Mean faecal egg counts were generally moderate in both sheep (1052+/-922 strongyle, 1000+/-590 Strongyloides and 380+/-110 Trichuris eggs, respectively, per g of faeces) and goats (2092+/-3475 strongyle, 958+/-854 Strongyloides and 683+/-512 Trichuris eggs, respectively, per g of faeces) and showed the same trend irrespective of the age or sex of the animals. The prevalence and counts of strongyle nematode eggs showed a definite seasonal sequence that corresponded with the rainfall pattern in the study area during the period. In both sheep and goats, counts of strongyle egg type increased with the rains and reached peak levels at about the peak of the rainy season in September. The other egg types encountered during the study did not show much variation with the season of the year. Out of the 45 sheep and 75 goats examined at necropsy, 27 (60%) and 39 (52%), respectively, contained adult nematode species. Seven genera of adult nematodes including Strongyloides, Trichostrongylus, Haemonchus, Trichuris, Cooperia, Oesophagostomum and Bunostomum species were encountered during the study. Bunostomum species were recorded only in sheep. Adult worm burdens were generally low and showed seasonal variation that corresponded with the rainfall pattern in the study area during the period. Haemonchus and Trichostrongylus species attained peak counts together in both goats (June) and sheep (August). Strongyloides species were encountered throughout the year in both sheep and goats irrespective of the season. Other genera of nematodes encountered occurred in very low numbers and did not allow any meaningful comparison of seasonal sequence. The results suggest that Haemonchus, Trichostrongylus and Strongyloides species may be the major contributors to small ruminant helminthiasis in the study area.