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Gastrointestinal parasites of working donkeys of Ethiopia


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.

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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.

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Correspondence to M. Getachew.

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Getachew, M., Trawford, A., Feseha, G. et al. Gastrointestinal parasites of working donkeys of Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 42, 27 (2010).

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  • Equids-donkeys
  • Gastrointestinal parasites
  • Ethiopia