Prevalence of gastrointestinal helminthosis in small ruminants kept under traditional management system in Meru district, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in sheep and goats kept under traditional management system in Meru district, Tanzania in September 2014, with the objective of determining the prevalence of gastrointestinal helminthosis in small ruminants, identification of the most prevalent helminths, determination of helminth infection intensity in traditional management system and assessment of farmers awareness on small ruminants helminth control practice. In this study a total of 380 fecal samples were collected from 215 goats and 165 sheep and examined using standard parasitological procedures. The fecal samples examined revealed an overall prevalence of helminthosis of 225 (59.2%) in the small ruminants. The prevalence of helminthosis per animal species was 125 (58.1%) in goats and 100 (60.6%) in sheep. Strongyle eggs were more prevalent 188 (49.5%) followed by trematode eggs 25 (6.6%) and cestode eggs 12 (3.1%). Faecal culture was conducted on samples positive for strongyle type of eggs and larvae stage three (L3) of Haemonchus sp (43.5%), Trichostrongylus sp (29.4%), Oesophagostomum sp (16.7%), Cooperia (6.4%), Strongyloides sp (2.7%) and Bunostomum sp (1.2%) were obtained. The study revealed higher prevalence of helminthes in sheep than in goats, in adult animals than in young and in female than in male animals, but the differences were not statistically significant (p> 0.05). Agroecological zone was found to be associated with prevalence and species of parasite found even though there was no significant difference. Questionnaire survey regarding farmers awareness on the helminth control practice revealed that 98.1% of farmers were using anthelmintic to control worm infections, 72.2 % knew how to treat their animals, 46.3% dewormed their animals after every six month, vii 40.7% deworm their animals after every three month and 88.9% of farmers got information from livestock field officers. This study showed that, although farmers were aware on the use of anthelmintics to control worms in their animals, the prevalence of helminthosis was still high. Thus a sustainable integrated helminth control strategy and more farmer education is needed in order to increase small ruminant productivity and hence improving farmers livelihood.



Gastrointestinal, Helminthosis, Ruminants, Management, Meru, Tanzania