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Trop Biomed. 2014 Mar;31(1):54-62.

Gastrointestinal parasites of birds in zoological gardens in south-west Nigeria.

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Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.


Infections with gastrointestinal parasites are a major health issue in captive birds. However, prevalence data of gastrointestinal parasites of birds in zoological gardens in Nigeria are scarce. This study was carried out to establish the gastrointestinal parasite profile of birds kept in zoological gardens in the University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Ilorin, University of Lagos and Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, all in south-west Nigeria. A total of 178 fecal samples from 83 birds (14 species in eight orders) were examined using three techniques; Feacal sedimentation using ethyl acetate, McMaster Egg Counting Technique and Petri Dish-Filter Paper Slant culture technique (modified Harada-Mori Technique). A total of 39(21.9%) of the 178 samples were infected. The highest prevalence (100%) of infection was recorded in Unilag zoo and a total of five species of parasites including two protozoans (coccidian and Balantidium spp.); and three nematodes Capillaria spp., Ascaris spp. and Strongyloides spp.) were recorded with Capillaria spp. (14.1%) as the most prevalent gastrointestinal parasite. Mixed infections were found in 18(10.1%) samples. Strongyloides larvae were observed in 6(3.4%) samples. All Anseriformes were infected but the Struthioniformes had the highest infection rate. The geometric mean intensity of eggs ranged from 101.98 ± 10.36 to 63.00 ± 16.67 epg and oocyst counts ranged from 332.47 ± 16.67 to 297.89 ± 20.41 opg. Balantidium cyst count was 324.04 ± 25.00. Count of oocyst of coccidian species was significantly higher in all the zoos. The feacal culture yielded Strongyloides species. Regular deworming and hygienic measures are necessary to prevent gastrointestinal infections in captive birds. So also, improved funding and management are necessary to ensure sustainability of Nigerian zoological gardens.

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