Prevalence of Ectoparasites Infestation among Companion Animals in Nsukka Cultural Zone

Author(s): Nneka Gladys Agu, Ikem Chris Okoye, Chigozie Godwin Nwosu, Ifeanyichukwu Onyema, Chijioke Nwabueze Iheagwam and Toochukwu Joy Anunobi

A study on ectoparasites of companion animals in Nsukka cultural zone was undertaken to investigate their prevalence on the animals within the area. Four major markets in the study area, 20 households in each community as well as the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of University of Nigeria Nsukka were sampled. A total of 420 dogs and 72 cats were examined for ectoparasites. Purposive sampling was used to select the markets, communities and households. The animals were examined for ectoparasites and identification was made using standard procedures and stereomicroscopy. From the result, 203 dogs and 12 cats had infestation of ectoparasites with significant (p<0.05) prevalence of 48.3% and 16.7% respectively. The exotic, males and adult dogs had more ectoparasites prevalence when compared with their counterparts. Conversely, all the cats infested were locals, females and of younger ages. The ectoparasites of dogs recovered include ticks (40.7%), fleas (6.7%), mites (0.7%) and lice (0.2%). All the cats were infested with fleas (16.7%). The most prevalent tick species found was Rhipicephalus sanguineus (37.6%) while the least was Argas spp (0.2%). The fleas are Ctenocephalides canis (6.0%), C. felis (0.5%) and Diamanus mortanus (0.2%). The mite species was Sarcoptes scarbiei var canis (0.7%). In conclusion, the high ectoparasite prevalence in the pets suggests that these parasites can lead to public health issues. The study therefore recommends prompt education of the populace within the study area on the need for scaled up healthy and hygienic practices so as to prevent transmission of zoonotic diseases by the animals.


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