Original Research

Prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths and parasites in smallholder pigs reared in the central Free State Province

Ifeoma C. Nwafor, Hester Roberts, Pieter Fourie
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 86, No 1 | a1687 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v86i1.1687 | © 2019 Ifeoma C. Nwafor, Hester Roberts, Pieter Fourie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 24 August 2018 | Published: 11 April 2019

About the author(s)

Ifeoma C. Nwafor, Department of Agriculture, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Technology, Free State, South Africa
Hester Roberts, Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Technology, Free State, South Africa
Pieter Fourie, Department of Agriculture, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Technology, Free State, South Africa


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Abstract

Pigs are kept by farmers as a source of livelihood and food. Unfortunately, helminthiasis and other internal parasites are major setbacks to profitable pig production in Africa. There is a lack of information on the prevalence and intensity of gastrointestinal helminths and parasites plaguing resource-poor pig farmers in the Free State. Knowledge of these endemic parasites can be used as baseline data to help design future intervention plans. The aim of this study was to identify and quantify the types of gastrointestinal helminths and parasites prevalent in smallholder pigs reared in the central Free State Province. Faecal samples were randomly collected from 77 pigs and parasitologically analysed. Quantification was done using the McMaster counting technique. Farming system, age, gender and health status were the risk factors considered. The study was conducted between January and March 2016. Overall, results showed that 61 samples (79.2%) tested positive for one or more gastrointestinal parasites, which were observed as single or mixed infections. Amongst the positive samples, 44.5% were infected with Ascaris suum, 50.6% with Trichuris suis, 26.0% and 72.7% were infected with Oesophagostomum dentatum and coccidia, respectively. There were significant differences (p < 0.05) between the rate of infection in the intensive and semi-intensive systems and between the dewormed and non-dewormed pigs. Piglets and female pigs recorded a higher prevalence in their categories. Pigs excreted mostly low (eggs per gram [EPG] ≤ 100) to moderate (EPG > 100 < 500) levels of helminth eggs. It is concluded that different species of gastrointestinal parasites are present in most pigs reared by smallholder farmers in this study area.

Keywords

gastrointestinal helminths and parasites; smallholder pig farmers; pigs; prevalence; Central Free State Province

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