Parasitology Research

, Volume 116, Issue 7, pp 2009–2015 | Cite as

Seasonal variation of strongylosis in working donkeys of Ethiopia: a cross-sectional and longitudinal studies

  • Motuma Debelo Dibaba
  • A. M. Getachew
  • Zerihun Assefa
  • Alemayehu Fanta
  • Manyahilishal Etana
  • Seyoum Firew
  • Lemessa Goshu
  • F. Burden
Original Paper


Helminths are one of the major health problems of working donkeys, often with heavy worm burden and contributing to their early demise and/or reduction in their work output. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were conducted to investigate the current infection prevalence and level of strongyles infection donkeys would acquire through different seasons in the mid-lowland agro-ecological zones of Ethiopia. For this purpose, faecal samples from 206 (cross-sectional study) and 102 (longitudinal study) randomly selected donkeys were directly collected from the rectum and analysed. For the longitudinal study, the 102 donkeys dewormed at the end of main rainy season, beginning of October, were monitored for the level of strongyle infection they would acquire during subsequent dry and short rainy seasons. The cross-sectional study of 206 donkey has revealed an overall infection prevalence of 89.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 84.4, 92.9). Donkeys in the lowland zone showed a significantly higher strongyle infection prevalence (P = 0.0126) and mean eggs per gramme of faces (EPG) (P = 0.001; 2775 EPG) compared to donkeys in the midland zone (980.8 EPG). Age, sex and body condition did not have any significant effect on either the infection prevalence or level of infection (P > 0.05). The longitudinal study has shown a significantly lower strongyle infection prevalence (P = 0.003) and level of infection donkeys acquired (P = 0.001) in the subsequent dry and short rainy seasons compared to the main rainy season following October deworming. However, these values were not significantly different between the two agro-ecological zones (P > 0.05). This study clearly showed that parasitic infections are primarily acquired during the main rainy season when pasture/herbage coverage is relatively better, and the environment is conducive for parasites survival and development. On the other hand, the finding of majority of donkeys shedding low or no eggs during the dry and short rainy seasons showed that October deworming was effective, and donkeys acquire low or no parasitic infection during the subsequent dry and short rainy seasons. Therefore, the practice of anthelmintic treatment of donkeys at the end of short rain in May may not be necessary, and October deworming once a year is sufficient.


Strongyles Strongylosis Seasonality Cross-sectional/longitudinal study Donkeys Ethiopia 



This study was financially supported by Addis Ababa University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture. The provision of vehicle for data collection, laboratory facilities for faecal analysis by the DHWP-DS and technical assistance of project staffs in Ethiopia are highly appreciated, with many thanks.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical standards

The research was ethically reviewed and the use of animals was approved by the Ethics committee of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture, Addis Ababa University. Consent of the owners was obtained to use their animals.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Burden FA, Getachew MA (2016) Donkeys—a unique and challenging Endoparasites host. J Equine Vet Sci 39:s102–s103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burden FA, Du Toit N, Hernandex-Gil M, Prado-Ortiz M, Trawford AF (2010) Selected health and management issues facing working donkeys presented for veterinary treatment in the rural Mexico: some possible risk factors and potential intervention strategies. Trop Anim Health Prod 42:597–605Google Scholar
  3. Crane M (1997) Medical care of donkeys. In: Svendsen ED (ed) The professional hand book of the donkey, 4th edn. Whittet Books Limited, London, pp 19–36Google Scholar
  4. Duncan JL (1973) The life cycle, pathogenesis and epidemiology of S. vulgaris in the horses. Equine Vet J 5:20–25CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. English AW (1979) The epidemiology of equine strongylosis in southern Queensland. 1. The bionomics of the fee-living stages in faeces and on pasture. Aust Vet J 55:299–305CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Eysker M (1987) Over-wintering of non-migrating strongyles in donkeys in the Highveld of Zimbabwe. Res Vet Sci 42:262–263PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Eysker M, Pandey VS (1989) Small strongyle infection in donkeys from the Highveld in Zimbabwe. Vet Parasitol 30:345–349CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. FAOSTAT (2014) Food and Agricultural Statistical database: http://www.fao/corp/statistics/access: Accessed Nov 2016
  9. Fikru RD, Teshale SR, Bizunesh M (2005) Prevalence of equine gastrointestinal parasites in western highlands of Oromia. Bull Anim Health prod Afr 53:161–166Google Scholar
  10. Getachew MA (1999) Epidemiological study on the health and welfare of Ethiopian donkeys, with particular reference to parasitic diseases. MVM thesis, University of Glasgow, ScotlandGoogle Scholar
  11. Getachew MA (2006) Endoparasites of working donkeys in Ethiopia: epidemiological study and mathematical modelling. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow, ScotlandGoogle Scholar
  12. Getachew MG, Feseha G, Trawford A, Reid SWJ (2008a) A survey of seasonal patterns in strongyle faecal worm egg counts of working equids of the central midlands and lowlands, Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 40:637–664CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Getachew MA, Innocent TG, Trawford FA, Feseha G, Reid SWJ, Love S (2008b) Equine Parascariosis under the tropical weather conditions of Ethiopia: a coprological and post-mortem study. Vet Rec 162:177–180CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Getachew M, Feseha G, Trawford A, Reid SWJ (2010) Gastrointestinal parasites of working donkeys of Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 42:27–33CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Getachew MA, Innocent G, Proudman CJ, Trawford A, Feseha G, Reid SWJ, Faith B, Love S (2012) Equine cestodosis: a sero-epidemiological study of Anoplocephala perfoliata infection in Ethiopia. Vet Res Commun 36:93–98CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Love S, Duncan JL (1992) The development of naturally acquired cyathostome infection in ponies. Ve Parasitol 44:127–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lyons ET, Tolliver SC, Collins SS (2009) Probable reason why small strongyle EPG counts are returning early after ivermectin treatment of horses on a farm in central Kentuckey. Parasitol Res 104:569–574CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Lyons ET, Tollive SC, Collins SS, Ionita M, Kuzmina TA, Rossano M (2011) Field tests demonstrating reduced activity of Ivermectin and moxidectin against small strongyles in horses on 14 farms in central Kentuckey in 2007-2009. Parasitol Res 108:355–360CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. MAAF (1979) Manual of veterinary investigation laboratory techniques. Technical Bulletin No. 18, Ministry of Agricultural Fisheries and Food, London, UK, pp: 129Google Scholar
  20. Matthee S, Krecek RC, Guthrie AJ (2002) Effect of management intervention on helminths parasites recovered from donkeys in South Africa. J Parasitol 88:171–179CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Matthews JB, Burden FA (2013) Common helminth infections of donkeys and their control in temperate regions. Equine Vet Educ 25:461–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. MOA (2014) Ministry of Agriculture, report on livestock population and metrological data, East Oromiya Region, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  23. Nielson MK, Kaplan RM, Thamsborg SM, Monard J, Olsen SN (2007) Climatic influences on development and survival of free-living stages of equine strongyles: implication for worm control strategies and managing anthelmintic resistance. Vet J 174:23–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. NMA (2014) National Metrological service Agency, report on regional metrological data, 2014–2015, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  25. Proudman CJ, Matthews J (2002) Control of internal parasites in horses. In Practice 22:90–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. R Development Core Team (2015) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna Available on lineGoogle Scholar
  27. Reinemeyer CR, Nielsen MK (2013) Hand book of equine parasite control, st edn. John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., UKGoogle Scholar
  28. Soulsby EJL (1982) Helminths, arthropods and protozoa of domesticated animals, 7th edn. Bailliere Tindall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Svendsen ED (1997a) The professional handbook of the donkey, 3rd edn. Whittet Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  30. Svendsen ED (1997b) Donkeys abroad. In: Svendsen ED (ed) The professional handbook of the donkey, 3rd edn. Whittet Books Limited, London, pp 166–182Google Scholar
  31. Thrusfield M (2005) Veterinary epidemiology, 3nd edn. Blackwell Science Ltd., OxfordGoogle Scholar
  32. Wilson K, Grenfell BT (1997) Generalized linear modelling for parasitologists. Parasitol Today 13:33–38CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Yoseph DG, Smith A, Mengistu FT, Firew T, Betere Y (2005) Seasonal variation in the parasite burden and body condition of working donkeys in east Shewa and wester Shewa regions of Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 37:35–45CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Motuma Debelo Dibaba
    • 1
  • A. M. Getachew
    • 2
  • Zerihun Assefa
    • 3
  • Alemayehu Fanta
    • 3
  • Manyahilishal Etana
    • 3
  • Seyoum Firew
    • 3
  • Lemessa Goshu
    • 3
  • F. Burden
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Veterinary Medicine and AgricultureAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  2. 2.Donkey SanctuaryEnglandUK
  3. 3.Donkey Health and Welfare Project, College of Veterinary Medicine and AgricultureAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia

Personalised recommendations