Responding to Challenges in Worm Control for Donkeys in Kenya. A case of Heshimu Punda Programme, Kenya
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No abstract availableThere are many endoparasites that can inhabit the various organs in the donkey. Of these helminthiasis is the most important in working donkeys due to heavy use and maintenance on low-quality diet. Helminths compete for the little food available in the intestines or lead to blood loss making the animals very weak and prone to diseases and/or death. Weak donkeys also risk falling and injury during work or are deemed lazy by owners who whip the donkeys in response. In the past, helminth control was deemed unnecessary by most donkey owners who believed that donkeys never get treated. With more knowledge gained, mass deworming where there was heavy use of dewormers was adopted. Over time mass deworming presented itself with challenges including high costs associated with deworming donkeys who may not be affected by helminths, risks of resistance through frequent use of antihelmintics and in the long term the creation of a „naïve‟ population to common helminths found in population/herds. This is further complicated by human practices including communal grazing of donkeys on largely swampy or poorly drained lands together with conducive weather patterns greatly favour sustained heavy pasture contamination with infective helminth larvae and eggs, and thus high levels of helminthiasis in working donkeys. There is also a growing concern globally for reduction of environmental contamination and responsible use of drugs. There is therefore need to adopt more strategic helminth control system which deals with populations as groupings/herds. Such methods include, pasture management, multiple deworming treatments given at strategic times to prevent the build-up of parasite contamination in the environment. All these approaches should be continually monitored and adjusted to sustain a population.