Prevalence and control of tick-borne parasites of domestic ruminants in different livestock production systems in Gulu District, Uganda
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The study assessed the prevalence of tick-borne parasites in domestic ruminants in relation to the control and / or management practices applied by farmers against ticks and TBDs in Gulu District, Uganda. Blood smears were made from 552 domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) under open grazing, tethering and zero-grazing systems to determine the prevalence of tick-borne parasites from January to March, 2008. The significance of the relationships between prevalence of tick-borne parasites and management system, ruminant type and sex of the animal were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance and Fisher Least Significant Difference. In the study the following three tick-borne parasites were found infecting domestic ruminants in zero-grazing, tethering and open grazing systems: Theileria, Anaplasma and Babesia. The most prevalent tick-borne parasites were Theileria and Anaplasma. The prevalence of the three tick-borne parasites also varied significantly by grazing systems. There was no significant difference in the prevalence rate by ruminant type and sex of animals under study (P = 0.05). The study also revealed that there was no significant difference between zero-grazing and tethering systems (P = 0.05). Ruminants raised under open grazing were more likely to have increased risk of contracting the parasites compared to their counterparts under tethering and zero-grazing, respectively. Management of ticks and tick-borne parasites was more intensive in zero-grazed farms than in the other systems. It was therefore recommended that farmers in the study area use tethering system which is less costly compared to zero-grazing since it reduces the prevalence of Theileria, Babesia and Anaplasma.