PREVALENCE OF GASTROINTESTINAL PARASITES OF HORSES AND ASSOCIATED RISK FACTORS IN PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA.
Keywords:Prevalence, Gastrointestinal Parasites, Horses, Infection, Risk factor
Horses are companion animals and highly resourceful in sports, national and traditional ceremonies, military and paramilitary involvements hence they play an important part in the economics of Nigeria. Gastrointestinal parasites are known to be deleterious to horses thus affecting the health, productivity and working capacity. In order to determine the prevalence of Gastrointestinal parasites and associated risk factors, fecal samples were collected from 107 horses comprising 58 females and 49 males from 3 local government areas including Jos North, Jos South and Riyom in Plateau State, samples were carefully examined using floatation and sedimentation techniques. The overall prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths was 46.7% out of which 11.2% were mixed infections. 7 different gastrointestinal parasites were observed in the animals studied: Ascaris equorum (12.1%), Eimeria spp (8.4%), Fasciola spp (3.7%), Gastrodiscus aegyptiacus (2.8%), Strongyloides spp (7.5%), Strongylus spp (11.2%) and Trichomena spp (14%). No significant differences (p>0.05) in the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites were observed in relation to age, sex and breed but there was significant variation (p<0.05) in relation to location. The study reveals that gastrointestinal helminths are still a major constraint to the overall working and productivity of horses in the study areas hence the need for improved management practices.