Gastrointestinal parasites of working donkeys of Ethiopia

  • M. GetachewEmail author
  • A. Trawford
  • G. Feseha
  • S. W. J. Reid


The general prevalence and population composition of gastrointestinal and pulmonary helminths of working donkeys were studied. For the purpose 2935 working donkeys were coprologically examined for nematode and cestode, and 215 donkeys for trematode infections. Seven donkeys that died due to various health problems or were euthanased on a welfare ground were necropsied and the parasites were recovered and identified to the species level. The study was conducted during the periods 1996-1999.

Coprological examination revealed 99% strongyle, 80% Fasciola, 51% Parascaris, 30% Gastrodiscus, 11% Strongyloides westeri, 8% cestodes and 2% Oxyuris equi infection prevalence. Over 55% of donkeys had more than 1000 eggs per gram of faeces (epg). Forty two different species of parasites consisting of 33 nematodes, 3 trematodes, 3 cestodes and 3 arthropod larvae were identified from postmortem examined donkeys. Among the nematodes 17 species of Cyathostominae and 7 species of Strongylinae were identified. Other parasites identified include, Habronema muscae, Draschia megastoma, Trichostrongylus axei, Strongyloides westeri, Anoplocephala perfoliata, Anoplocephala magna, Anoplocephaloides (Paranoplocephala) mamillana, Parascaris equorum, Fasciola hepatica, Fasciola gigantica, Gastrodiscus aegyptiacus, Dictyocaulus arnfieldi, Oxyuris equi, Probstmayria vivipara, Gasterophilus intestinalis, Gasterophilus nasalis, Rhinoestrus uzbekistanicus and Setaria equina. This study revealed that working donkeys in Ethiopia are infected with a range of helminths and arthropod larvae, which are representatives of the important pathogenic parasites found in equids worldwide.


Equids-donkeys Gastrointestinal parasites Ethiopia 



This study was financially supported by the Donkey Sanctuary. The authors are grateful to the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine of Addis Ababa University and Glasgow University for their support and facilities. The technical assistance of the Donkey Health and Welfare Project staff in Ethiopia is highly appreciated with thanks.


  1. Ayele, G., Feseha, G., Bojia, E. and Joe, A., 2006. Prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites of donkeys in Dugda Bora District, Ethiopia, Livestock Research for Rural Development. 18, 11, (
  2. Bevilaqua, C.M.L, Rodrigues, M. de L., and Concordet, D., 1993. Identification of infective larvae of some common nematode strongylids of horses, Revue de Médecine Vétérinaire, 144, 989-995.Google Scholar
  3. Boxell, A.C., Gibson, K.T., Hobbs, R.P. and Thomas, R.C.A. 2004. Occurrence of gastrointestinal parasites in horses in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia, Australian Veterinary Journal, 82, 91-95.Google Scholar
  4. Chapman, M.R., French, D.D. and Klei, T.R., 2002. Gastrointestinal helminths of ponies in Louisiana: a comparison of species currently prevalent with those present 20 years ago, Journal of Parasitology, 88, 1130-4CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Clayton, H. M. and Duncan, J. L., 1979. The development of immunity to Parascaris equorum infection in the foal, Research in Veterinary Science, 26, 383-384.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Crane, M., 1997. Medical care of donkeys. In: E.D. Svendsen (eds). The Professional Handbook of the Donkey (4th ed). Whittet Books Limited. London. pp. 19-36.Google Scholar
  7. Eysker, M. and Pandey, V.S., 1989. Small strongyle infection in the donkeys from the highveld in Zimbabwe, Veterinary Parasitology, 30, 345-349.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Feseha, G., 1998. Helminth parasites of working equids: the African perspective. In: U. Wernery, J.F. Wade, J.A. Mumford, and O.R. Kaaden (eds). Proceedings of the eight International Conference on equine infectious diseases, Dubai, 1998, 318-323.Google Scholar
  9. Getachew, M., 1999. Epidemiological study on the health and welfare of Ethiopian donkeys, with particular reference to parasitic diseases, (unpublished MVM thesis. University of Glasgow. Scotland, UK).Google Scholar
  10. Getachew M., 2006. Endoparasites of working donkeys in Ethiopia: sero-epidemiological and mathematical modelling, (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Glasgow. Scotland, UK).Google Scholar
  11. Getachew, M., Innocent, G., Trawford, A., Feseha, G., Reid, S.W.J. and Love, S., 2006. A sero-epidemiological study of equine tapeworm, Anoplocephala perfoliata, in donkeys, Ethiopia. In: M. Bakkoury and A. Dakkak (eds), Proceedings of the 9th Congress of the World Equine Veterinary Association (WEVA), Marrakech, Morocco, 2006, 263-264.Google Scholar
  12. Getachew, M., Feseha, G., Trawford, A. and Reid, S.W.J. 2008a. A survey of seasonal patterns in strongyle faecal worm egg counts of working equids of the central midlands and lowlands, Ethiopia, Tropical Animal Health and Production (in press).Google Scholar
  13. Getachew, M. A., Innocent, T. G., Trawford, F. A., Feseha, G., Reid, S.W.J. and Love, S., 2008b. Equine parascariosis under the tropical weather conditions of Ethiopia: a coprological and postmortem study, Veterinary Record, 162, 177-180.Google Scholar
  14. Haridy, F.M., Morsy, G.H., Abdou, N.E. and Morsy, T.A., 2007. Zoonotic fascioliasis in donkeys: ELISA (Fges) and postmortem examination in the Zoo, Giza, Egypt, Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology, 37, 1101-1110.Google Scholar
  15. Herd, R.P., 1990. The changing world of worms: the rise of the cyathostomes and the decline of S. vulgaris. Compendium and Continuing Education for Practicing Veterinarian, 12, 732-736.Google Scholar
  16. Kuzmina, T.A., Kharchenko, V.A., Trawford, A. and Getachew, M. 2007. The strongylid nematodes of working donkeys from Ethiopia. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP), Gent, Belgium, 2007, 380.Google Scholar
  17. Lichtenfels, J.R., 1975. Helminths of domestic equids. Illustrated keys to genera and species with emphasis on North American forms. Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington, 42, 1-92.Google Scholar
  18. Lichtenfels, J.R., Kharchenko, V.A. and Dvojnos, G.M., 2008. Illustrated identification keys to strongylid parasites (strongylidae: Nematoda) of horses, zebras and asses (Equidae), Veterinary Parasitology, 156, 4-161.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Love, S. 2003. Treatment and prevention of intestinal parasite-associated disease, Veterinary clinics of North America, Equine Practice, 19, 791-806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. MAFF, 1984. Manual of Veterinary Investigation Laboratory techniques. Reference book 390, Vol. 2, London. pp. 162-184.Google Scholar
  21. Malan, F.S., Reinecke, R.K. and Scialdo, R.C., 1981a. Recovery of helminths postmortem from equine. I. Parasites in arteries, sub-peritoneum, liver and lungs, Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 48, 141-143.Google Scholar
  22. Malan, F.S., Reinecke, R.K. and Scialdo, R.C., 1981b. Recovery of helminths postmortem from equines. II. Helminths and larvae of Gasterophilus in the gastrointestinal tract and oestrids from the sinuses, Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, 48, 145-147.Google Scholar
  23. Matthee, S. Krecek, R.C. and Milne, S.A., 2000. Prevalence and biodiversity of helminth parasites in donkeys from South African. Journal of Parasitology, 86, 756-762.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Matthews, J. B., Hodgkinson, J. E., Dowdall, S. M. and Proudman, C.J., 2004. Recent developments in research into the Cyathostominae and Anoplocephala perfoliata, Veterinary Research, 35, 371-381.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Pandey, V.S. and Eysker, M., 1989. Strongylus vulgaris in donkeys (Equus asinus) from the highveld of Zimbabwe, Veterinary Parasitology, 32, 173-179.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Pandey, V.S., Khallaayoune, K., Ouhelli, H. and Kakkak, A., 1994. Parasites of donkeys in Africa. In: M. Bakkoury and R.A. Prentis (eds). Proceedings of The Second International Colloquium on working equines, Rabat, Morocco, 1994, 35-44.Google Scholar
  27. Proudman C.J. and Tree, A.J., 1999. Tapeworms as a cause of intestinal disease in horses, Parasitology Today, 15, 156-159.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Soulsby, E. J. L., 1982. Helminths, arthropods and protozoa of domesticated animals (7th ed). ELBS, London. 809p.Google Scholar
  29. Svendsen, E.D. 1997. Parasites abroad. In: E.D. Svendsen (ed). The Professional Handbook of The Donkey (3rd ed). Whittet Books Limited. London, UK, 227-238.Google Scholar
  30. Tolliver, S.C., Lyons, E.T. and Drudge, J.H., 1985. Species of small strongyles and other internal parasites recovered from donkeys at necropsy in Kentucky. Proceedings of The Helminthological Society of Washington, 52, 260-265.Google Scholar
  31. Trawford A. and Getachew, M., 2008. Parasites. In: J. Duncan and D. Hadrill (eds). The Professional Handbook of the Donkey (4th ed). Whittet Books Limited. South House, Yatesbury, Wiltshire, UK, 82-101.Google Scholar
  32. Wells, D., Krecek, R.C., Wells, M., Guthrie, A.J. and Lourens, J.C., 1998. Helminth levels of working donkeys kept under different management systems in the Moretele 1 district of the North West Province, South Africa, Veterinary Parasitology, 77, 163-177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yilma J.M. and Malone, J.B., 1998. A geographic information system forecast model for strategic control of fasciolosis in Ethiopia, Veterinary Parasitology, 78, 103-27.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Zumpt, F., 1965. Myiasis of man and animals in the Old World. Butter Worths, London. 267p.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Getachew
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • A. Trawford
    • 2
  • G. Feseha
    • 1
  • S. W. J. Reid
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineAddis Ababa University, Donkey Health and Welfare project-Donkey SanctuaryDebre ZeitEthiopia
  2. 2.Donkey SanctuaryDevonUK
  3. 3.Division of Animal Production and Public HealthComparative Epidemiology and Informatics, Institute of Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Veterinary SchoolGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations