PREVALENCE OF GASTRO INTESTINAL PARASITES OF CATTLE IN MATHIRA CONSTITUENCY, KENYA
NYUTU, CAROLYNE WAMBUI
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Cattle’s farming is a crucial activity for Mathira constituency; since it acts as a source of livelihood to many people. However, gastrointestinal parasitic infection is a limiting factor in cattle management. Understanding the epidemiological characteristics of the infections is necessary to recommend control and preventive measures. There is however inadequate knowledge regarding the prevalence of gastrointestinal tract parasite infection of cattle in the study area. The current study was to assess the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites of cattle in Mathira constituency. The specific objectives included determination of the association of farmers' knowledge and prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites, the association of farming practice and prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites, the combined association between prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites and farmer’s knowledge and farming practice. A total of 387 faecal samples were collected and subjected to parasitological analysis: modified McMaster technique was used to determine the number of Eggs per Gram (EPG); Willis technique to identify any stages for nematodes and cestodes; sedimentation method for trematodes identification and; direct smear to identify any stages for protozoans. Point prevalence was used to determine the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites among cattle. The association between the prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasite and farming practice or farmers' knowledge was tested statistically using the Chi-square test of independence. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between dependent and independent variables while data obtained from the farm and laboratory were analysed using SPSS version 21 software. The risk factors (farming practice and farmers' knowledge) associated with the prevalence of intestinal parasite infection were drawn from the analysis of the questionnaires that were administered during faecal collection. The overall prevalence of parasitic infection was 69.4%. The percentage prevalence by gender shows that females (67%) had relatively high percentage prevalence compare to males (64%). Percentage prevalence on breed Ayrshire (70%) had a relatively high percentage prevalence compared to Guernsey (60%). The percentage prevalence by ward was highest in Kirimukuyu (86%) and lowest in Iriaini (44%). Cattle of age 1-2 (69%), had relatively high percentage prevalence compared to age 3-4 years (55%). It was equally observed that the intensity of infection of cattle was generally very low. Most of the cattle (64.3%) had between 0-200 eggs per gram (epg). The gastrointestinal parasites identified in the study were Schistosoma 12.14%, Strongyloides 4.39%, Fasciola 5.43%, Entomoeba 7.49%, Giardia 2.58%, Nematodirus 5.68%, Trichuris 2.33%, Toxocara 1.55%, Eimeria 9.82%, and Taenia 2.33%. Risk factors (farmers' knowledge and farming practice) were significantly associated with the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites. To manage gastrointestinal parasites and improve cattle farming veterinary services such as regular mass deworming, frequent diagnosis for infection and training farmers on control and prevention of infection are recommended.