Seasonal distribution and common management practices of ectoparasites of domestic dogs in Ilorin, Nigeria
In spite of their zoonotic potentials, ectoparasites of domestic animals are less studied in many part of Nigeria. This study therefore investigated the seasonal distribution and common management practices of dogs’ ectoparasites in Ilorin, North-Central Nigeria. Information on dog’s bio-data, activities and control measures adopted by owners were obtained using structured questionnaire. Dogs were examined for ectoparasites using standard parasitological method. Out of the 164(48.9 %) male and 170(51.1 %) female dogs examined, a total of 52.0 % harbored at least one of five species of ectoparasites identified in the study: ticks (Rhipicephalus sanguineus, 70.3 %, Haemaphysalis leachii, 29.4 % and Amblyomma variegatum, 4.5 %), Flea (Ctenocephalides canis, 63.7 %) and lice (Heterodoxus spiniger, 30.0 %). Infestation was higher in males (60.7 %) than females (43.5 %). Multiple infestation particularly combination of tick and flea (34.7 %) were more frequent. Puppies of ≤ 6 months and dogs with short hair (86.5 %) were significantly infested (p<0.05). Analysis of seasonal distribution showed that ectoparasites were more abundant during the rainy season than the dry. The practice of allowing dogs to associate with other dogs; defecate and roam around the premises was significantly associated with increased infestation (p<0.05). Bathing of dogs with locally formulated chemicals significantly reduced infestation; however, they were not recommended acaricides. Some dog owners still employ handpicking, removal by brush or application of kerosene as best practices for controlling ectoparasites; hence, adequate knowledge on safe and reliable methods of control is exigent.
Keywords: Dog, Infestation, Ectoparasites, Seasonal distribution, Management