Coccidiosis in Sheep

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Published on International Journal of Agriculture & Agribusiness
Publication Date: March 20, 2019

Kindalem Bayew & Lakech Ewnetu
Animal Health Department Head in Janamora Wereda Livestock Development Office
Animal Health Disease Surveillance Expert in Janamora Wereda Livestock Development Office
Janamora, Ethiopia

Journal Full Text PDF: Coccidiosis in Sheep (Study in Janamora Wereda).

A cross-sectional study was conducted from January 2018 to April 2018 on Janamora Wereda with the objective of estimate the prevalence and associated risk factors of coccidiosis in sheep. Fecal samples were collected directly from the rectum of animals using gloved and moistened hand. Detailed information on the origin, age, sex, breed, production system, hygienic status, body condition and fecal consistency were obtained. Centrifugal and simple fecal flotation technique using salt solution was used to detect coccidia oocyst. Fecal samples were collected from a total of 384 sheep for the detection of coccidian oocysts. From the total sheep included only 88 were demonstrated for the presence of coccidian infection. Coccidian oocyst was detected in sheep from lamp, young and adult animals but greater prevalence was observed in lamps. Statistically significant association was observed (p<0.05) between coccidia infection and fecal consistency, age, production system, hygienic status and body condition of animals but there was no statistically significant association between origin, sex, and feeding type of animals. Based on this study coccidia infection has a great significance for the sheep producers which needs effective control and prevention program. Coccidiosis is likely to become more important diseases of small ruminants in Janamora Wereda in the future as the increasing scarcity of land for grazing is forcing people to adopt more intensive management systems.

Keywords: Janamora, Fecal Floatation, Coccidiosis, Oocyst & Sheep.

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease caused by coccidian parasite, called protozoa that live inside the cells of an infected animal’s intestinal tract [1].These protozoa are invasive pathogens that colonize the mucosal surface of the intestine, causing major economic losses in farm animals. Coccidia have a direct, yet complex life cycle (from ingestion of the oocysts, to passage from the host in the faces), that can be completed in roughly 18 to 21 days in cattle and sheep. Infection is spread through the fecal-oral route, with the ingestion of infectious-stage mature oocysts. Direct transmission through the contamination of barns and/or pasture appears to be the principal mode of infection. The organism reproduces in the host’s intestine, and thousands of oocysts are shed into the environment through the feces [2].
Coccidiosis of small ruminants is a protozoal infection caused by coccidia parasites of the Genus Eimeria which develop in the small and large intestine and affect young animals in particular. Several species of Eimeria are involved in different ruminants (bovine, caprine, ovine) but there is no cross infection due to the strict host specificity [3].
Coccidiosisis an intestinal disease caused by coccidian protozoa of the genus Eimeria, which is a unicellular microorganism naturally found in the soil [4]. Coccidiosis is mainly asymptomatic, but may manifest as heavy diarrhea sometimes containing blood, fibrin, and intestinal material. More subtle signs are: weakness, anorexia, fever, dehydration, and tensmus.
Coccidiosis occur universally, most commonly in animals housed or confined in small areas contaminated with oocysts [5]. These protozoa are invasive pathogens that colonize the mucosal surface of the intestine, causing major economic losses in farm animals [2].
Therefore the objectives of the study are:
 To estimate the prevalence and degree of severity of coccidiosis in sheep.
 To identify risk factors associated with coccidiosis infection.

2.1. Study area
Janamora Wereda is located in North Gondar Zone of Amhara region, at the latitude and longitude of 12o59’N 38o07’E at a distance of about 180km from Gondar town. Janamora Wereda is well-known with Semien mountain National Park, Ras Dashen i.e the highest point in Ethiopia and it is a home to a number of endangered species including the Ethiopian Wolf, waliya ibex, and a wild goat which no found in elsewhere in the world. The area has an altitude range of 2900 meters above sea level. The region is marked by numerous mountains, hilly, and sloppy areas, plateaus, rivers, and many streams. Livestock population of the area comprises 100,386 cattle, 32,975 sheep, 131,041 goats, 2,540 horses, 634 mules, 7758 donkeys, 119,347 poultry. The farming system of the study area is characterized by a mixed crop-livestock production system. Transhumance, from the highlands to western lowlands, is practiced as an important strategy to secure grazing resources for the highland livestock during the dry season of the year. In the case of the lowlands, crop farming is not as intensive as high and mid-highland areas and livestock has larger contributions to the farmer’s livelihoods [6]. The study animals are sheep which is found in Janamora Wereda kebeles such as Zakilta, Kilil, Bahir Amba and Maje Kebeles.

2.2. Study animal
The study was conducted on indigenous sheep breeds by dividing in to three age categories from birth up to 7 weeks (lamp) from 6- 12 month (young) and above 12 months (adult). This range of age is selected because the disease is more common in lamps than Young’s and adults [5]. Animal Epidemiological information with respect to their age, sex, breed, fecal consistency, production system, body condition and, hygienic status both on the animal and environmental hygiene was collected. Simple random sampling was used to select the study animals. Fresh fecal samples were collected from all age groups of the sheep from the selected kebeles by creating awareness the importance of this research for the farmers.

2.3. Sample size determination
Since there was no similar work done in the area previously, expected prevalence taken as 50% and the confidence interval taken chosen as 95% and precision 50%. By substituting these values in the formula, the sample size becomes 384. Thus, the sample size is calculated according to Thrusfield [7].

2.4. Data collection
A total of 384 fecal samples was collected during the dry period of the study, directly from the rectum of selected animal using a gloved hand and placed into air tight sample vials. During sampling, data with regard to age, sex, origin, fecal consistency, production system, body condition, hygienic status was recorded for each sampled animal. Samples were soon taken to the Janamora Wereda veterinary clinic as fresh as possible. Fecal sample could be qualitatively examined on the day of collection. Floatation technique is used to float the oocyst using salt solution as a flotation medium and examination of oocyst is under taken with the help of a compound microscope.

2.5. Study design
A cross-sectional study was conducted from January 2018 to April 2018 on Janamora Wereda. Active data was generated from randomly selected sheep with regard to origin, age, body condition, sex, fecal consistency, feeding type, production system, and hygienic states (house and animal) was considered as risk factors to test for the occurrence of coccidiosis.

2.6. Data management and analysis
The data should be checked, coded and entered in to Microsoft excel work sheet and will be analyzed using SPSS software version 16. Descriptive statistics like percentage will be used to express prevalence while chi-square (χ2) test will be used to compare the association of coccidiosis with different risk factors. In all the cases, 95% confidence level and 0.05 absolute precision errors will be considered. A p-value≤ 0.05 will be considered statistically significant.

Three hundred eighty four sheep were sampled during the study period to determine the prevalence of coccidial infection in sheep in the study area. Out of 384 faecal samples examined, 88 were positive for Eimeria oocysts with the overall prevalence of 22.9%. Regarding sampling site, the prevalence of coccidial infection was 23.8% in Zakilta, 21.7% in Kilil, 22.4% in Bahir Amba and 23% in Maje kebele. However, there was no significant differences (χ2 = 0.117, P> 0.05) among origin and coccidial infection (Table 1).