A cross-sectional study was carried out in sheep and goats kept under extensive management system in and around Haramaya, Southeastern Ethiopia, during the period from July 2010 to June 2011 with the aim of determining the prevalence, and the status of gastrointestinal (GIT) helminthosis and the risk factors associated with it. For this purpose 768 fecal samples were collected from 384 sheep and 384 goats. Parasitological methods including floatation, sedimentation and coproculture were employed in the study. The fecal samples examined revealed an overall prevalence of 472 (61.4%) in the small ruminants where as 259 (67.75%) in sheep and 213 (55.47%) in goats harbor one or more genera of helminths with nematodes (59.89%) being the most prevalent helminths. Upon coproscopic examination, strongyle type of helminths was the most prevalent parasite (36.20%) in the area in both hosts. The study revealed significantly higher (p<0.05) prevalence of helminths in sheep than in goats and in young animals than in adults, and wet season than drier ones. In this present study, there was no association between egg per gram of feces and the prevalence of helminths. Overall, 7 and 6 genera of helminths were identified in sheep and goats, respectively. Coproculture of the samples positive for strongyle type helminths revealed Haemonchus sp., Trichostrongylus sp., Oesophagostomum sp.,Strongyloides sp., and Bunostomum sp. in a decreasing order in both sheep and goats. The present study revealed polyparasitism in both host species, hence proper management of young stocks and treatment of animals by considering risk factors such as age and season, could help in the control of the disease. The result of this study indicates that, even though subclinical in nature, gastrointestinal helminths are one of the major problems that could hamper health and productivity of sheep and goats in the study area. Thus, further studies on species-based prevalence and larval ecology are recommended in order to design appropriate control measures.
Key words: Prevalence, helminths sheep, goats, Ethiopia.
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