Prevalence and risk factors of gastrointestinal parasitic infections in goats in low-input low-output farming systems in Zimbabwe

P. I. Zvinorova, T. E. Halimani, F.C. Muchadeyi, Oswald Matika, Valentina Riggio, K. Dzamaa

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A longitudinal study was conducted in low-input low-output farming systems to determine the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasitic infections in different age groups, sex and associated risk factors in goats. A total of 580 indigenous goats were randomly selected in areas representing the five agro-ecological regions of Zimbabwe in the dry and wet seasons. Blood and faecal samples were collected from each animal and egg/oocyst per gram of faeces (epg/opg), larval culture, and packed cell volumes (PCV) were determined. Factors affecting parasitic infections were evaluated. Highest prevalence was determined for Eimeria oocysts (43%), strongyles (31%) and lower levels in trematodes and cestodes. Parasites identified were Haemonchus, Strongyloides and Oesophagostomum. Area, season, sex and age significantly influenced patterns of gastrointestinal infections (P < 0.05). Cannonical correlations indicated that parasite species composition varied by area and impacts of risk factors also differed. Risk of infection was very high for goats sampled in Natural regions (NR) I, II, III (OR = 6.6 - 8.2; P < 0.05) as compared to those in NR IV and V. Highest helminths and Eimeria infections were observed in the wet vs. dry season (P < 0.05). Young animals were more susceptible to parasitic infections (P < 0.05). Prevalence was higher in males than females, with odds of infection for males being almost three times to that for females (P < 0.0001). Knowledge concerning gastrointestinal helminth biology and epidemiological infection patterns caused by these parasites is essential in the development of appropriate control strategies and this has a potential to reduce production losses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
JournalSmall Ruminant Research
Early online date12 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • faecal floatation
  • gastrointestinal tract
  • helminth
  • coccidian
  • risk assessment


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