Assessment of ticks on cattle entering Nigeria through a major trans-boundary animal route in Ogun State
Ticks cause great economic losses of livestock in several ways including their ability to act as potential vector for haemoprotozoan, rickettsial and helminth parasites; they suck blood resulting in reduction in live weight and anaemia. Ticks and tick-borne diseases are widely distributed throughout the world, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical countries where they seriously limit livestock production and improvement in much of Africa. Cattle entering Nigeria by hoof along a major trans-boundary route were assessed and found infested with a mean tick count of 66.3±35.8 per animal confirming that the trans-boundary areas are points of entry of parasites into the country. 57.7% of the animals had a very high level of tick infestation. Adult ticks identified include Amblyomma spp. (49.6%), Rhipicephalus (sub genus Boophilus) spp. (93.6%), Rhipicephalus spp. (33.9%) and Hyalomma spp. (12.1%). A total of 16,440 ticks were counted in the course of the study. Rhipicephalus (subgenus Boophilus) spp. is the most predominant tick species found in this study. These ticks were found around the ear, dewlap, brisket, udder/scrotum, anal/ genital region, legs and tail region of the animals. It was concluded that cattle entering Nigeria from Burkina Faso, Benin republic, Niger republic, Mali, Togo, and Cote d’ivoire were infested with these adult ticks which also acted as a vector for protozoa and rickettsial parasites. The Nigerian government should establish effective quarantine centres to screen and treat animals entering the country. With irrigation and planting of improved grasses and crops for zero-grazing, more farmers can be encouraged to invest in intensive system of cattle management.
Keywords: Ticks, cattle, transboundary, prevalence