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Prevalence and Seasonal Variation of Ovine Platyhelminth Parasitism in Ganderbal Area of Kashmir Valley

M. Shahnawaz R. A. Shahardar Z. A. Wani S. A. Bhat S. N. Shah
Vol 2(1), 184-191
DOI- http://dx.doi.org/10.5455/ijlr.20120130074652

Six hundred faecal samples and fifty five slaughtered/dead sheep were examined to determine the prevalence of platyhelminthes of sheep in Ganderbal district of Kashmir valley. Overall prevalence of platyhelminths was 32.36% with trematodes and cestodes in 20.91 and 15.26% animals respectively. Moniezia spp. was the most prevalent platyhelminth (12.82%) followed by Dicrocoelium spp. (11.45%), paramphistomes (6.56%), Fasciola spp. (5.34%), Stilesia spp. (3.20%) and Avitellina spp. (0.45%). Seasonal variation revealed non significantly higher infection during winter (39.26%) followed by spring (34.54%), summer (29.69%) and autumn (25.92%). Higher infection rate was recorded in adults (34.15%) and female sheep (33.99%) than lambs/hoggets (29.48%) and males (29.71%).


Keywords : Platyhelminth Sheep Prevalence Kashmir Valley

Introduction                                      

Gastrointestinal parasitism has been recognized as a major health issue in small ruminant production systems and its consequences can be extensive ranging from reduced animal performance to mortality. A high incidence of parasitic infestation in a grazing system lowers productivity, leading to severe economic losses. Helminth parasitism in general and platyhelminths in particular have been observed to be one of the major health problems severely limiting the animal productivity. The parasites compete with the host for the vital nutrients, incite organ damage and cause predisposition to other pathogenic agents, thereby leading to increased metabolic rate of the host and reduced use of metabolic energy for production. The economic effects of the parasitism may be attributed to losses due to reduced productivity and reproductive potentials, increased cost of medication and management besides mortality (Agrawal, 1998). The diverse agro climatic conditions, animal husbandry practices and pasture management largely determine the incidence and severity of various parasitic diseases in a region. Therefore, the parasitic fauna of each and every region, mapped out accurately and the seasonal variations in their prevalence forms fundamental information upon which control measures can be based.

Materials and Methods

The study was conducted on local sheep in Ganderbal district of Kashmir valley over a period of one year from September 2008 to August 2009. This area is located in north-east of Kashmir valley situated between 34.7o to 34.22o N latitude and 74.4 to 74.56oE longitude with an average altitude of 5100 ft. above sea level. Climatologically, winters are extremely cold (2 to 10oC) with heavy snowfalls while as summers are pleasant (33oC).

All sheep in the study area are kept indoors during December to March and fed hay and concentrates. From April-mid May the sheep are grazed in the local areas for some part of the day and from May onwards there is seasonal moving of the animals to highland pastures for 5-6 months. The sheep are returned to their native places during late October and again fed in local areas for some part of the day during November.

In the current study a total of six hundred faecal samples were collected from sheep of all age groups of either sex during all the four seasons viz; spring (March-May), summer (June-August), autumn (September-November) and winter (December-February), a minimum of 150 samples in each season to study the seasonal prevalence of platyhelminth infections. In addition fifty five samples of gastrointestinal tracts, liver and lungs of local sheep purchased from butcher shops/collected from dead animals were also investigated.

The faecal samples were examined qualitatively using standard sedimentation and floatation techniques for evaluating the incidence of infections. The parasites isolated on necropsy examination were counted and grouped into different categories on the basis of gross morphological features and the site of recovery. The collected parasites were kept in normal saline till fixation and staining of the preserved parasites was done with borax carmine stain. The identification was done on the basis of morphological characters of permanent mounts of the parasites (Soulsby, 1982). The data generated during the study was statistically analyzed using z- comparison test.

Results and Discussion

Out of 655 samples, a total of 32.36% were found positive for platyhelminth parasitic infections (Table-1). Trematodes and cestodes were found in 20.91 and 15.26% animals respectively. Among trematode infections, Dicrocoelium spp. had highest prevalence (11.45%) followed by Paramphistomes (6.56%) and Fasciola spp. (5.34%). Moniezia spp. was most prevalent cestode with a prevalence rate of 12.82% followed by Stilesia spp. (3.20%) and Avitellina spp. (0.45%).

The seasonal occurrence of platyhelminth infections as shown in table-2 revealed a non significantly higher infection rate of 39.26% in winter followed by spring (34.54%), summer (29.69%) and autumn (25.92%) (P> 0.05). Trematode infection was highest in winter (24.53%) followed by 21.81, 19.13 and 18.18% during spring, autumn and summer respectively (P>0.05). Fasciola spp. had a higher prevalence rate of 8.58% in winter followed by spring (5.45%), autumn (4.32%) and summer (3.03%), variation being non significant. Dicrocoelium spp. followed a similar pattern revealing higher prevalence in winter (17.17%) followed by 14.54, 8.02 and 6.0% during spring, autumn and summer respectively (P>0.05). Higher trematode parasitic infection rate in winter is also reported by Pandit et al. 2003 and Atlas et al. 2003. Paramphistomes revealed a different seasonal activity with a higher prevalence being observed in summer (9.69%) followed by autumn (8.02%), spring (5.45%) and winter (3.06%) (P>0.05) which appears logistic since during the drier months snail population becomes concentrated around areas of natural water which also have the most palatable grazing, thus there is concentration of snails, metacercariae and animals over a small area leading to heavy infection. Cestode infection was higher in winter (18.40%) than spring (16.96%), summer (15.75%) and autumn (9.87%), the variation among seasons being non significant (P>0.05). Moniezia spp. showed a similar trend revealing highest prevalence of 15.95% in winter followed by 14.54, 12.72 and 8.02% in spring, summer and autumn season respectively with no significant seasonal variation (P>0.05). Avitellina spp. had an infection rate of 1.23% in autumn and 0.61% in winter while as no infection was detected in spring and summer seasons (P>0.05). Stilesia spp. showed higher infection rate of 4.84% in summer followed by 4.24, 3.06 and 0.6% in spring, winter and autumn respectively (P>0.05). Quattara and Dorchies (2001) observed high cestode worm burdens during rainy season. Moazeni and Ahmedabadi (2005) reported highest tapeworm infection during summer season while Rauf et al. 2005 found higher cestode infection during autumn. It is thus clear that various associated environmental conditions which differ in various agroclimatic zones significantly affect the seasonal occurrence of gastrointestinal tapeworms which is reflected in the current findings and that of other workers in various parts of the world.

Table: 1- Overall prevalence of platyhelminth parasites of sheep in Ganderbal area of Kashmir valley

Host No. of samples examined Trematodes Cestodes Total platyhel-minths
Fasciola spp. Dicrocoelium spp. Paramp-histome spp. Total Moniezia spp. Avitellina spp. Stilesia spp. Total
Adult Sheep Faecal 365 20       (5.47) 44

(12.05)

31

(8.49)

87

(23.83)

31

(8.49)

0

(0.00)

0

(0.00)

31

(8.49)

108

(29.58)

Necropsy 39 6                   (15.38) 18

(46.15)

2

(5.12)

21

(53.84)

9

(23.07)

2

(5.12)

17

(43.58)

21

(53.84)

30

(76.92)

Total 404 26 (6.43a) 62

(15.34 a)

33

(8.16a)

108 (26.73a) 40

(9.90a)

2

(0.50 a)

17

(4.20 a)

52

(12.87 a)

138

(34.15 a)

Lamb and

hogget

Faecal 235 8             (3.40) 12

(5.10)

8

(3.40)

25

(10.63)

40

(17.02)

0

(0.00)

0

(0.00)

40

(17.02)

63

(26.80)

Necropsy 16 1           (6.25) 1

(6.25)

2

(12.50)

4

(25.00)

4

(25.00)

1

(6.25)

4

(25.00)

8

(50.00)

11

(68.75)

Total 251 9

(3.58 a)

13

(5.17 a)

10

(3.98a)

29

(11.55b)

44

(17.52a)

1

(0.39 a)

4

(1.59 a)

48

(19.12 a)

74

(29.48 a)

Grand Total 655 35

(5.34)

75

(11.45)

43

(6.56)

137

(20.91)

84

(12.82)

3

(0.45)

21

(3.20)

100

(15.26)

212

(32.36)

Figures within parenthesis indicate percentage

Values with same superscript in a column under a subgroup do not vary significantly (P>0.05)

 

 

 

 

 

Table: 2 – Season-wise prevalence of platyhelminth parasites in sheep

Season Host No. of samples examined Trematodes Cestodes Total platyh-elminths
A B C Total D E F Total
Autumn Adult Sheep 70 5 10 8 21 6 1 1 8 23
Young sheep 92 2 3 5 10 7 1 0 8 19
Total 162 7

(4.32a)

13

(8.02 a)

13

(8.02 a)

31

(19.13 a)

13

(8.02 a)

2

(1.23 a)

1

(0.61a)

16

(9.87 a)

42

(25.92 a)

Winter Adult Sheep 110 11 25 5 34 13 1 2 14 44
Young sheep 53 3 3 0 6 13 0 3 16 20
Total 163 14

(8.58a)

28

(17.17 a)

5

(3.06 a)

40

(24.53 a)

26

(15.95 a)

1

(0.61 a)

5

(3.06a)

30

(18.40 a)

64

(39.26 a)

Spring Adult Sheep 101 6 19 8 30 11 0 6 15 39
Young sheep 64 3 5 1 6 13 0 1 13 18
Total 165 9

(5.45a)

24

(14.54a)

9

(5.45 a)

36

(21.81 a)

24

(14.54 a)

0

(0.00 a)

7

(4.24a)

28

(16.96 a)

57

(34.54 a)

Summer Adult Sheep 123 4 8 12 23 10 0 8 15 32
Young sheep 42 1 2 4 7 11 0 0 11 17
Total 165 5

(3.03a)

10

(6.00 a)

16

(9.69 a)

30

(18.18 a)

21

(12.72 a)

0

(0.00 a)

8

(4.84a)

26

(15.75 a)

49

(29.69 a)

Figures within parenthesis indicate percentage

Values with same superscript in a column under a subgroup do not vary significantly (P>0.05)

A= Fasciola spp.                  B= Dicrocoelium spp.   C= Paramphistome spp.                   D= Moniezia spp.       E= Avitellina spp.       F= Stilesia spp.

Overall prevalence of platyhelminth parasites was found to be non significantly higher (P>0.05) in adult sheep (34.15%) as compared to 29.48% in younger ones (Table-2).

Table: 3 Sex-wise prevalence of platyhelminth parasites in sheep

Sex (Host) No. of samples examined Trematodes Cestodes Total platyhelminth
A B C Total D E F Total
Male Faecal 230 7 15 10 35 22 0 0 22 60
Necropsy 19 5 8 1 10 3 1 4 7 14
Total 249 12 (4.81a) 23       (9.23 a) 11 (4.41 a) 45 (18.07a) 25 (10.04 a) 1        (0.40 a) 4       (1.60 a) 29 (11.64a) 74           (29.71 a)
Female Faecal 370 21 41 29 77 49 0 0 49 111
Necropsy 36 2 11 3 15 10 2 17 22 27
Total 406 23 (5.66 a) 52 (12.80 a) 32 (7.88 a) 92 (22.66a) 59 (14.53 a) 2         (0.49 a) 17 (4.18 a) 71 (17.48a) 138           (33.99 a)
Grand Total 655 35 (5.34) 75 (11.45) 43 (6.56) 137 (20.91) 84 (12.82) 3 (0.45) 21 (3.20) 100 (15.26) 212         (32.36)

Figures within parenthesis indicate percentage

Values with same superscript in a column under a subgroup do not vary significantly (P>0.05)

A= Fasciola spp.             B= Dicrocoelium spp.      C= Paramphistome spp. D= Moniezia spp.   E= Avitellina spp.     F= Stilesia spp.

Trematode infection was significantly higher (P<0.05) in adult sheep (26.73%) as compared to lambs/hoggets (11.55%). Also Fasciola spp., Dicrocoelium spp. and Paramphistomes had higher infection rate of 6.43, 15.34 and 8.16% in adult sheep than 3.58, 5.17 and 3.98% lambs/hoggets, respectively (P>0.05). The higher prevalence of overall platyhelminth and trematode infection rate in adult sheep might be due to longer period of exposure of these animals to infected pastures. Also the sheep reared by the farmers are either under-dosed or least cared which results into cumulative load of infection. Cestode infection was higher in lambs/hoggets (19.12%) compared to 12.87% in adult age group (P>0.05). Also Moniezia spp. infection rate was higher in young animals (17.52%) than adult sheep (9.90%) (P> 0.05). On Contrary, Avitellina spp. and Stilesia spp. had higher infection rate of 0.5 and 4.20% in adult sheep compared to 0.39 and 1.59% in younger sheep, respectively (P>0.05). Above findings reveal higher trematode infection rate in adult sheep while as prevalence rate of cestodes was higher in younger age group. Higher parasitic infection in adult sheep has been recorded by Yadav et al. 2006 while as higher prevalence of monieziasis in lambs is reported by Rauf et al. 2005.

A non significant higher infection rate was observed in female sheep (33.99%) compared to 29.7% in males (P>0.05) (Table-3).

All the platyhelminth species recovered showed a higher prevalence in female sheep. The higher infection rate in female sheep might be due to stress factors like lambing stress, lactation stress and also due to relaxation of immunity during later periods of gestation which enhances the susceptibility to various parasitic infections.

References

Agrawal, M.C. 1998: Parasitology in India since independence. Indian Journal of Animal Science, 68, 793-799.

Atlas, M.G.; Sevgili, M.; Gokcen, A.; Iriadam, M. 2003: Prevalence of liver flukes in sheep in the Sanliurfa Province.Turkiye-Parazitoloji-Dergisi, 27, 195-198.

Moazeni, M; Ahmadabadi, M.N. 2005: Abattoiral survey on seasonal infection of sheep with tapeworms in Shiraz area. Iranian Journal of Veterinary Research, 6, 46-48.

Pandit, B.A.; Shahardar, R.A.; Bhat, A.S.; Darzi, M.M. 2003: Prevalence of gastrointestinal parasitic infections in sheep of Kashmir valley under different managemental practices. Applied Biological Research, 5, 1-5.

Quattara, L.; Dorchies, P. 2001: Gastrointestinal helminths of sheep and goats in subhumid and sahelian areas of Burkina Faso. Revue de Medecine Veterinaire, 152, 165-170.

Rauf, U.; Lateef, M.; Sultana, A. 2005: Prevalence of different species of tapeworm in sheep. Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences, 15, 53-55.

Soulsby, E.J.L. 1982: Helminths, Arthropods and Protozoa of Domesticated Animals. 7th edn. ELBS and Bailliere Tindall, London, pp.45-55.

Yadav, A.; Khajuria, J.K.; Raina, A.K. 2006: Seasonal prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in sheep and goats of Jammu. Journal of Veterinary Parasitology, 20, 65-68.

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