Animal Science Project Topics

Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of Goats in the University of Benin Farm Project

Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of Goats in the University of Benin Farm Project

Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of Goats in the University of Benin Farm Project

Chapter One


The objective of this study is;

  • To isolate and identify the gastrointestinal parasites of goats in UNIVERSITY OF Benin Farm Project
  • To determine the prevalence of parasitic infection and its associating factors in the different sexes and age of goats.



Historically, gastrointestinal helminth infections have been associated with great economic losses to farmers throughout the world, these loses manifest through morbidity in acute cases and in chronic infection reduced weight gains, reduced food conversion, abortion, infertility, reduced meat and milk production (Ogunrinade, 1984; Karki,1987; Bariajaya, et al., 1995). These parasites are very ubiquitous and have also remained the major constraint, hindering the efficiency of rearing cattle and goats successfully (Khin, 2007; Siddiki et. al., 2009). The negative impact of helminth infections on livestock productivity in tropical countries has long been established. Reports by Ndarathi et al. (1989) and Olusi (1997), Edosomwan and Ewarami (2012) contained recent appraisals of this problem.

The helminth infections of ruminants are mostly caused by nematodes (such as Ostertagia sp., Capillaria sp.,Trichuris sp., Strongyliodes sp.), cestodes (such as Moniezia sp Taenia sp.) and Trematodes (such as Dicrocoelium sp., Fasciola gigantica, Amphistomes ), Zahid, 2005. According to Regassa et. al., (2006), ruminants infected by gastrointestinal helminth parasites cause loss to farmers through; low milk production, low fertility, reduced work capacity, involuntary culling, treatment cost, mortality and reduction in the market value of infected animals.

Haemonchosis caused by Haemonchus contortus is a predominant, highly pathogenic and economically important disease of sheep and goats (Mortensen et al. , 2003). These parasites are common blood feeders that cause anaemia and reduced productivity and can lead to death in heavily infected animals (Githigia et al.,2001). It has been estimated that each worm sucks about 0.05 ml of blood per day by ingestion or seepage from lesions (Urquhart et al.2000).

Gastro-intestinal nematodes

The most important strongylid nematodes of sheep and goats in African countries are:

Haemonchus contortus, Teladorsagia circumcincta and Trichostrongylus spp.  (T. axei, T. colubriformis and T. vitrinus). Other species of lesser importance include Pseudomarshalagia (Longistrongylus) elongata, Nematodirus spp. (N. spathiger and N. filicollis), Cooperia curticei, Bunostomum trigonocephalum, Gaigeria pachycelis, Oesophagostomum spp.  (O. venulosum and O. columbianum) and Chabertia ovina (Hansen & Perry, 1994). Other GI nematodes belonging to different taxonomic orders also commonly parasitize the small and large bowel of sheep and goats but are not considered to be important pathogens, and cause disease only in rare circumstances. These nematodes include Strongyloides papillosus and Trichuris ovis.

The life cycles are direct, requiring no intermediate hosts, which applies to all of the economically important strongylid parasites of small ruminants (Hansen & Perry, 1994; Urquhart et al., 1996). In these cycles, adult female parasites in the GI tract produce eggs that are passed out with the faeces of the animal. Development occurs within the faecal mass, the eggs embryonate and hatch into first-stage larvae (L1), which in turn moult into second-stage larvae (L2), shedding their protective cuticle in the process. During this time the larvae feed on bacteria. The L2 moult into third-stage larvae (L3), but retain the cuticle from the previous moult. The L3 constitute the infective stage, and these migrate onto surrounding vegetation where they become available for ingestion by grazing sheep and goats.





Sampling containers, Disposable gloves, Beakers, Weighing balance, Tea strainer, Measuring cylinder, Stirring device, Pasteur pipette, Floatation fluid, Counting chamber, Microscope, methylene blue, fork or torque.

Faecal Samples Collection

Faecal samples were collected from goats at the university of Benin farm project, Benin City, Edo state, Nigeria. A total of 35 faecal samples of  goats were collected.

These were analysed in the laboratory for gastrointestinal helminth parasites. The 35 faecal samples were obtained directly from the rectum of the goats using disposable gloves. These faecal samples were put in the sampling containers, which were properly labelled using masking tape and marker.

In the laboratory the samples were examined for gastrointestinal helminth parasites using floatation and sedimentation techniques, these techniques were used to detect the eggs of the parasites.






The results from the faecal examinations of goats revealed the presence of five (5) gastrointestinal helminth parasites as shown in Table 1, they includes: Strongyloides sp 17 (48.57%), Haemonchus contortus 1(2.86%),Trichuris ovis 1(2.86%), Moniezia expansa 6(17.14%), Fasciola hepatica 1 (2.86%).

The high prevalence of these parasites in the goats was due to the kind of management practices (semi-intensive) in the university of benin farm project which allow free-range grazing management which increased their chances of picking up the cyst, ova, larvae or the intermediate host of these gastrointestinal helminth parasites.

It has been reported, (Pal and Qayyum, 1993), that prevalence of gastrointestinal helminth is related to the agroclimatic conditions like quantity and quality of pasture, temperature, rainfall, humidity and grazing behaviour of the host and also, that susceptibility to infestation is influenced by factor of age (Richard et al., 1990); breed (Prolamkarn et al.,1997); species (Vlassoff et al., 1997); health status, physiological factors of pregnancy and previous exposure to parasites (Bekele et al., 1987). The findings that nomadic flocks had more infection than the sedentary may support the high prevalence of helminth parasites for goats in this study, sedentary flocks especially, under the traditional management system, are under strict confinement and zero-grazed leading to less risk of helminth infection than in nomadic flocks (Ikeme, 1982; Chiejina, 1986). Actually, confinement or crowding of animals leads to substantial build-up of gastrointestinal parasites of organisms (Soulsby, 1982) thereby involving a higher risk of infection.

Infection in the sedentary flocks may be due to routine disposal of faecal matter and litter, especially during the wet season. The method of presentation of forage, which is usually tied and hung up, reduces considerably the risk of oocyst contamination and infection to the animals.

The data from this present study showed that strongyloides species  is the most prevalent Gastrointestinal helminth parasite infecting goats followed by Monieiza sp., T.ovis, H.contortus, F.hepatica. The possible reason for these differences observed in the prevalence of the gastrointestinal helminth parasites recorded in this study and that recorded by previous researchers may be because of the variation in locations and management practises (Regassa et al., 2006; Waruiru et al., 1993; Chenyambuga et al., 2009). Shirale et al. (2008),

Fakae (1990) and Balem et al. (2001) observed a high incidence of these parasites during rainy season and this may possibly be due to high moisture content and temperature which favours the growth and development of eggs/larvae of these parasites, furthermore, during this season the pastures grow abundantly resulting in increased contact between the host and parasites.

In conclusion, gastrointestinal parasites are widespread in small ruminants (goats) as observed in this study in the University of Benin farm project, Benin-city, Edo state, Nigeria, with the management and husbandry practices exerting a major influence on its prevalence and distribution. Appropriate control measures are needed which should be based on cost-effective studies to optimize production. There is also a need to study in detail the relative economic importance of these gastrointestinal helminth parasites infecting small ruminants (goats) of the area as its high prevalence and burden suggests significant losses in their production.


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