Parasitic infections pose a serious health threat and remain one of the major impediments to small ruminant production in many part of the world including Ethiopia. Given the huge economic burden of the disease, a comprehensive study covering a wider study area is of paramount importance to generate accurate information about the disease. The current study was therefore, designed with the objectives to determine the prevalence, species involved and assesses the associated risk factors of gastrointestinal parasites (GIT) of Small ruminants in Bale zone. A cross-sectional study was conducted from January to May 2016 in the purposively selected three districts of Bale zone, Southern Eastern Ethiopia. Faecal samples were randomly collected from 384 shoats (41 sheep and 343 goats) and examined coprologically. Logistic regression was used to determine the association of risk factors with positivity for GIT parasite. The study revealed an overall prevalence of 77.8% of which 63.4 and 79.6% were sheep and goats, respectively. Nine genera of parasites with the overall prevalence of Strongyloides (25.2%), Trichostrongylus (13.8%), Coccidia (15.1%), Paramphistomum (14%), Fasciola (11.5%), Ostertagia (1.5%), Haemonchus (1%), Trichuris (0.26%) and Oesophagstamum (0.26%) with mixed infection (17%) were identified in the area. By categorizing parasites, Nematode, Trematodes and Eimeria were found to infect the small ruminants in the area with the overall prevalence of 40.8, 23 and 14% respectively. Logistic regression analysis showed that the risk of GIT parasite was significantly higher in goats than sheep (OR: 2.821, CI=1.27- 6.23, P=0.010) and in adult than young shoats (OR=2.19, CI= 1.296-3.714, P=0.003). The body condition was also significantly associated with risk of positivity for GIT parasite (P=0.004). However, there was no significant difference in prevalence between sex and district of the study animals. Overall prevalence in districts level was found to be 81.9, 74.6 and 76.9% in Madda Walabu, Haranna Buluk and Dallo Manna districts, respectively. From the studied animals, 37.8, 29.8 and 32.2% were lightly, moderately and heavily infested, respectively. This study thus revealed that polyparasitism is a major health problem and hindrance in small ruminants’ production in current study area. Therefore, periodic and strategic deworming intervention with effective broad spectrum anti-helminths, awareness creation, proper grazing system and stocking size encompassing all localities of the study area is needed to mitigate this daunting problem.
Key words: Small ruminants, goat, sheep, gastrointestinal parasites, Bale, Ethiopia
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