A survey of seasonal patterns in strongyle faecal worm egg counts of working equids of the Central Midlands and Lowlands, Ethiopia

A study was conducted for two consecutive years (1998-1999) to determine the seasonal patterns of strongyle infection in working donkeys of Ethiopia. For the purpose 2385 donkeys from midland and lowland areas were examined for the presence of parasitic ova. A hundred percent prevalence of strongyle infection with similar seasonal pattern of strongyle faecal worm egg output was obtained in all study areas. However, seasonal variations in the number of strongyle faecal worm egg output were observed in all areas. The highest mean faecal worm egg outputs were recorded during the main rainy season (June to October) in both years in all areas. Although an increase in the mean strongyle faecal egg output was obtained in the short rainy season (March-April) followed by a drop in the short dry season (May), there was no statistically significant difference between the short rainy season and long dry season (Nov-Feb) (P > 0.05). A statistically significant difference however, was obtained between the main rainy season and short rainy season, and between the main rainy season and dry season (P < 0.05). Based on the results obtained it is suggested that the most economical and effective control of strongyles can be achieved by strategic deworming programme during the hot dry pre-main rainy season (May), when the herbage coverage is scarce and helminthologically 'sterile', and the arrested development of the parasites is suppose to be terminating. This could insure the greatest proportion of the existing worm population to be exposed to anthelmintic and also reduces pasture contamination and further infection in the subsequent wet season.

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