The point prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasites in calves, sheep and goats in Magadi division, south-western Kenya
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Helminths cause great economic loss in livestock in Africa, and can be categorized as either direct or indirect losses. Arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) in Kenya comprise 71 % of total land area and harbour the largest population of cattle, sheep and goats. However, little information on the distribution and impact of gastro-intestinal (GIT) parasitism in these animals is available. This survey was conducted to establish the prevalence of GIT parasites infecting calves, sheep and goats and their relative importance in Magadi division, which is semi-arid. Faecal samples were obtained directly from the rectum of 109 calves, 133 goats and 20 sheep and submitted to the laboratory for faecal worm egg counts, and coccidial oocysts examination using a modified McMaster method. The significance of differences in mean egg count per gram (epg) between animal species and herds (farms) were assessed using analysis of variance. The overall prevalence of nematodes in the calves, sheep and goats was 69.2 %, 80 % and 82 %, respectively. About 10 % of sheep and goats had epgs higher than 1 000, the remainder having light to moderate infections. The overall prevalence of coccidial oocysts in calves, sheep and goats was 30 %, 44 % and 45 %, respectively. Poor productivity in ASAL areas, where nutrition is often poor, is likely to be pronounced in the presence of parasite infections. These findings indicate that viable internal parasite control should be implemented in the study area in order to increase the productivity of the livestock there.