Prevalence of Rhipicephalus sanguineus infestation and Babesia canis infection in dogs with respect to breed type and degree of freedom in Makurdi, Benue State-Nigeria
E Amuta, B Atu, R Houmsou, J Ayashar
babesia, investigation, nigeria, prevalence, rhipicephalus sanguineus
E Amuta, B Atu, R Houmsou, J Ayashar. Prevalence of Rhipicephalus sanguineus infestation and Babesia canis infection in dogs with respect to breed type and degree of freedom in Makurdi, Benue State-Nigeria. The Internet Journal of Parasitic Diseases. 2008 Volume 4 Number 1.
An investigation on the prevalence of
Babesiosis is an important tropical tick-borne protozoal infection of domestic and wild animals. The disease occurs in the southern USA, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Southern Europe. Out of the hundred species, three Babesia species are known to cause natural infection to dogs.
Dogs are common sight within Makurdi metropolis, where they are kept as guard dogs and pets (to a lesser degree). The climatic and topographic characteristics of the area are such that ectoparasites which harbor and transmit viral, bacterial and protozoan pathogens could thrive. Thus, in order that dogs function effectively and people enjoy the companionship derived from living with them, it is of utmost importance that their health is maintained optimally and that zoonotic transmissions are kept in check. As such, this study was carried out to determine the disease pattern of canine babesiosis in relation to various parameters (age, sex, breed of dogs and degree of restriction) for future prophylaxis and to identify responsible vector species.
Materials and Methods
The study was carried out in Makurdi, capital of Benue State-Nigeria. The area is located on latitude 7º 44’ N and longitude 8º 35’ E. the metropolis is defined by a 16 km radius, the Benue River and its tributaries covers a substantial area of the town. Makurdi is located at the heart land of guinea savanna zone of central Nigeria. The climate of the area is tropical and the vegetation characteristic is predominantly guinea savanna with an annual rainfall of 1090 mm. There are two distinct seasons, the rainy season and the dry season; the former lasts from April to October and the latter from November to March. Makurdi has a temperature range between a minimum of 27,38ºC to 28, 02ºC and a maximum of 30.10ºC to 34,09ºC (Meteolorgical Department, Nigerian Air Force Base Makurdi, Unpub. Data) The town is divided into zones: North Bank, Wurukum, High Level, Low level, Wadata, Fiidi ward and Ankpa ward mainly inhabited by civil servant, paramilitary, soldiers, traders, fishermen, farmers and craftmen.
A total of 108 dogs (58 males and 50 females) were randomly selected from the State veterinary clinic and homes within the different zones. Ticks were collected from five parts of the dogs: the head (including the ears), neck, back, paws, and belly and tail. They were preserved in 70% alcohol.
Ticks collected were properly examined by stereomicroscope following the standard procedures described4. Blood samples were obtained from the tip of the ear flaps of the dogs and used to prepare thin smears which were stained with Giemsa and examined microscopically for the presence of
All collated data were analyzed using the chi-squared analysis to determine significance of tick infestation and babesiosis at 5% significance level .
The report showed that
A total of 11 dogs (10.2%) were positive for
Table 3 shows the occurrence of canine babesiosis with respect to degree of restriction. Dogs were grouped based on their degree of restriction (information obtained from interview with owners) as follows: free-roaming, semi-confined (restricted then released) and confined. Only free-roaming and semi-confined were found to be infected with babesiosis, (9.3%) and 18.2% respectively. A significant difference in infection was observed between the free-roaming, semi-confined and the confined dogs(X2 = 1.32, P < 0.05).
The occurrence of canine babesiosis in relation to breed of dogs is given in Table 4. Three breeds of dogs were identified, these include foreign breed, local breed and hybrid/croosbred. The highest prevalence of babesiosis was found in the hybrid dogs 18.8%, followed by the foreign 9.1% and the local 8.6% respectively. No significant difference was observed in the occurrence of babesiosis between the breeds (X2 = 12.52, P > 0.05).
The results show a relatively high prevalence of canine babesiosis and tick infestation in Makurdi.
Public health awareness on the care for dogs and dangers associated with their indiscriminate roaming is thus necessary to prevent and check the possibility of babesiosis and other zoonotic infections occurring in humans living in Makurdi and other such towns. Prevention and control can only be achieved through administration of prophylaxis, weekly bathing, monitoring and grooming of dogs, regular deticking of dogs, regulation of children and adults interaction with dogs, fumigation of kernels and houses and above all, provision of laws to enforce a high standard of public and veterinary health.