Prevalence, intensity and risk factors of helminths and Haemoparasites infections in pigs in homabay district, Kenya
A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence, intensity and risk factors associated with the transmission of helminths and haemoparasites of pigs in Homabay District, Kenya. A questionnaire survey was carried out on 297 pig farmers to collect information on pig production and management practices, feeding, importance of worm infestation and aspects of parasite control. The questionnaire survey revealed that pigs were mostly kept for income generation (83.2%) with the majority of the farmers keeping non-descript type of pigs (98%). Tethering was the main system of confining pigs and was mostly done during crop planting (98.6%), growing (99.3%) and harvesting (99%) seasons. The most common feed given to pigs was a mixture of kitchen left overs and pastures (40.7%) with none of the farmers supplementing their pigs with commercial feeds. Deworming was done by 20.5% of the farmers with only 3.7% deworming their animals after every 3 months. The prevalence and intensity of helminths was determined by the modified McMaster technique and post-mortem examinations. Out of 372 animals examined, three hundred and eight pigs (83%) were found to excrete nematode eggs. The nematode eggs encountered were those of Strongyles (75%), Strongyloides spp (26.6%), Trichuris spp (7.8%), Ascaris spp (5.4%) and Metastrongylus spp (0.3%). Coproculture of Strongyle-type nematode egg positive faecal samples revealed the presence of Oesophagostomum spp (74%), Hyostrongylus rubidus (22%) and Trichostrongylus spp (4%). Post-mortem examination of 30 pigs revealed that 86.7% of the animals were infected with various helminthes which included; Hyostrongylus rubidus, Physocephalus sexalatus, Trichostrongylus axei, Ascaris suum, Oesophagostomun dentatum, Trichuris suis and Metastrongylus pudendodectus. The highest prevalence with helminth infections was recorded in finishers (88%) and the lowest prevalence recorded in adults (79%). The highest mean epg with helminth infections was recorded in adults (1,734) while the lowest mean epg was recorded in piglets (526). Age had significant influence on the prevalence of Strongyles (p = 0.04) with growers and finishers recording higher levels of infection than adults. Sex had significant effect on the prevalence of Strongyles (p = 0.028) and Ascaris suum (p = 0.012), with females recording higher levels of infection than males. Housing, feed type and frequency of deworming were not significantly (p >0.05) associated with the prevalence of helminths. Division of origin of pigs had significant influence on the prevalence of infection with Ascaris suum (p = 0.000) and Strongyles (p = 0.000) with the mean epgs for Riana, Ndhiwa and Rangwe divisions being significantly higher (p <0.05) than those of Pala Division. The highest prevalence of infections with helminths was recorded in Riana Division (91%) and the lowest prevalence (50%) recorded in Asego Division. Similarly, the highest mean epg of infection with helminths was recorded in pigs from Riana Division (1,109) while pigs in Asego Division recorded the lowest mean epg (100). The prevalence of haemoparasites was determined by microscopic examination of Giemsa stained blood smears. Out of the 374 animals examined, 125 animals (33.4%) were positive for Mycoplasma (Eperythrozoon) spp with the most predominant species being Mycoplasma suis (54.4%) while Eperythrozoon parvum had a prevalence of 45.6%. The overall mean PCV was 41.5% with significantly higher mean PCVs being recorded in growers and finishers than in piglets (p = 0.039). Haemopoarasites infections did not have an effect on the mean PCV of the animals examined. In conclusion, helminths were highly prevalent in pigs in the study area with low to moderate levels of infections. Pigs in the study area were infected by a wide variety of nematodes. The prevalence and levels of infection with helminths in the district was associated with age, sex and division of origin of pigs. Haemoparasites identified in the study area included Mycoplasma suis and Eperythrozoon parvum. There is need for control of helminths in the study area and control measures should integrate better nutrition with anthelmintic treatment.