The study was undertaken to estimate the prevalence of ectoparasites in small ruminants of Bahir Dar area. A total of 395 small ruminants (280 sheep and 115 goats) were examined for the presence of different ectoparasites. From the 395 small ruminant examined, 193 were positive for one or more type of ectoparasite with an overall prevalence of 48.9%. Ectoparasites identified in sheep were: ticks (31.4%), fleas (13.2%), lice (3.8%), keds (1.8%) and mixed infections (4.6%) with total prevalence of 54.8%; whereas, in goat ectoparasites encountered were: tick (12.2%), fleas (11.3%), lice (9.7%) and mixed infections (1.7%) with total prevalence of 34.9%. From identified ticks, Rhipicephalus had the highest proportion followed by Amblyomma and Hyaloma. Ctenocephales felis was the most frequently observed flea species in both sheep and goats. However, low prevalence of Ctenocephales canis was also encountered. Lice genera observed were Bovicola and Linognathus. The former was seen in both host species; but, the later was observed only in goats. The Ked (Mellophagus ovinus) was observed only in sheep. The overall prevalence was significantly (p<0.05, OR = 2.2) higher in sheep (54.8%) than goat (34.9%). Total ectoparasite prevalence was significantly (p<0.05) higher in young than adult small ruminants. Occurrence of ectoparasites infestation between the two sexes was not significantly different. Tick prevalence was markedly (p<0.05) higher in sheep than in goat; whereas, lice was significantly (p<0.05) higher in goats than sheep. This study demonstrates high infestation of ectoparasites in small ruminants signifying the need for control activities to be undertaken in the area to reduce their impact on the growth and productivity of small ruminants as well as on the leather industry.
Key words: Ectoparasite, sheep, goat, prevalence, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
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