This research work is limited to Makurdi (Wadata and North bank) in Benue State. All the sheep and goats from different origins, in different age group and sex brought to slaughter house at the time of visit were targeted as study population, a simple random sampling method was employed in selecting 50 goats and 50 sheep, making a total of 100 samples. Standard laboratory parasitological techniques was used in this study including Simple test tube flotation, sedimentation technique, McMaster faecal egg count. Prevalence of endo and ectoparasitic infestation was significantly higher among Makurdi indigenous sheep and goats. The parasite include Amblyomma spp (male hard tick), Dermacenter spp (male hard tick), Dematopinus (biting lice), Hematopinus (sucking lice). Many factors may be responsible for this. It is revealed that most of the animals examined during the present survey had low to moderate parasitic infestation, suggesting that the infections were usually sub-clinical. It was recommended that appropriate gastrointestinal parasites (GIT) parasite control strategy is needed which should be based on cost effective studies to optimize production and more attention should be paid to sheep and goat internal and external parasites, epidemiology and control nation-wide.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Grazing ruminants are affected by a range of internal (e.g. worms, fluke, protozoa) and external parasites (e.g. sheep scab). As a general rule these diseases are most prevalent in young, susceptible stock and usually occur at certain periods in their first grazing season. In contrast, sheep scab represents a threat to stock of all ages. Although most disease occurs in young stock, scab and fluke are primarily an issue in older animals (Moredun Research Institute, 2010).
External parasitism results in poor quality sheep and goat products especially skins and lost income to producers. Common external sheep and goat parasites include ticks, lice, ked and mites. Some parasites feed on blood causing blood-loss anemia, especially in young animals. The result is unthrifty, poor-performing sheep and goats. A regular program of treatment and prevention of external parasites should be an important part of a flock health program. The benefits of an effective external parasite control program include increased comfort for animals, improved performance, and higher quality of products (Sileshe et al., 2010).
In most sheep-raising areas, internal parasites (i.e. worms) are usually the primary disease affecting sheep and lambs (Susan, 2006). Sheep are more susceptible to internal parasites than most other types of farm livestock. Their small fecal pellets disintegrate very easily thus releasing the worm larvae onto pastures (Susan, 2006). They graze close to the soil surface and to their feces. They are slow to acquire immunity. It takes 10 to 12 months for most lambs to develop immunity to parasites. Sheep also suffer a loss of immunity at the time of lambing, which does not restore itself until approximately four weeks after lambing (Susan, 2006). Heavy stocking rates and insufficient pasture rest periods further contribute to the incidence of parasitic disease in sheep and lambs. Internal parasites tend to be much less of a problem under range-type conditions where sheep do not graze the same pasture twice in the same grazing season. They are also less of a problem in arid regions, because parasites require moisture for their development (Susan, 2006).
Parasitism in sheep and goat is a substantial problem plaguing farmers across the nation. As gastrointestinal parasite infection is the most important limiting factor of sheep productivity, parasitism has a highly detrimental effect on the sheep industry (Jones, 2001). Outbreaks are most severe in warm, humid climates; the optimum temperature for larval growth is between 50° and 80° Celsius and the optimal rainfall is at least 5 centimeters. A climate that is too hot or dry can kill most larvae on the pasture. Larvae numbers peak in late winter and early spring. Haemonchus has a life cycle lasting approximately four weeks. When ingested, the larvae travel to the abomasum of the animal, where they burrow into the mucosa and develop into true adults in 21 days (Fitch, 2006). While in the abomasums, female adults can lay over 5000 eggs per day (Scarfe, 2006). Roughly 10,000 adult Haemonchus worms can kill a sheep. The eggs are deposited in feces. After approximately 24 hours, the eggs hatch on grass in pastures and under optimal conditions, become infective in five to seven days (Fitch, 2006).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Goats and sheep can be infected by numerous gastro-internal parasites; the effect of infection by gastrointestinal parasites varies according to the parasite(s) involved, the degree of infection and other factors. The two most important internal parasites are the protozoan coccidian (Dai et al., 2006) and the nematode Haemonchus contortus (Waller, 2004). The effect of parasitic diseases on sheep and goats include mortality losses, condemnation of meat, weight loss, depreciation of animal’s products and reduced resistance to other diseases as well as expenditure on drugs. Also they cause anemia, Economic effects in the damaged of the skin due to ticks and flies bites, costs of treatment, prevention and control of parasites and vectors.
1.3 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
Parasitism, and gastrointestinal nematode parasitism in particular, is arguably the most serious constraint affecting small ruminant production worldwide. Economic losses are caused by decreased production, cost of prevention, cost of treatment, and the death of infected animals. It is difficult by any major survey or other estimation to establish precise figures on losses incurred in production from infection and disease. Even minimal accuracy of loss estimates is difficult because production diseases or disorders may result from interaction with nutritional and environmental stresses, management methods, concurrent diseases, genetic predispositions, or other factors (Jim, 2004).
1.4 AIM OF STUDY
The aim of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of internal and external parasites infecting goats and sheep in Makurdi metropolis and to determine the types of internal parasites present, their intensity and their associated risk factors.
1.4.1 Objectives of the Study
i. To isolate and identify some internal and external parasites of sheep and goats.
ii. To characterize parasitic infection according to sex
iii. To characterize parasitic infection according to age
iv. To characterize parasitic infection and infestation
v. To compare the prevalence of parasitic infection and infestation of both site.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
This work seek to determine the intestinal and external parasite of goat and sheep. This research work is limited to Makurdi (Wadata and Wurukum) in Benue State.