Studies on Dog Population in Makurdi, Nigeria (II): A Survey of Ectoparasite Infestation and its Public Health Implications
AbstractThis study investigated the current status of dog infestation by ectoparasites, compared infestation between stray and restricted dogs and investigated some beliefs and practices by dog owners in Makurdi. Ectoparasites were collected using the body brushing and hand-picking methods and identified by standard methods. Dog owners' attitude and perceptions were investigated using structured questionnaires. The prevalence of infestation with ectoparasites among male dogs was 31.5%, though this rate was higher when compared with female dogs that had infestation rate of 23.5%. The difference was not statistically significant (X2 = 11.4, df = 1, P > 0.05). Male dogs accounted for 57.8% of the total ectoparasites collected during this study. Stray dogs accounted for 56% of total dogs examined during this study and 58.3% of the ectoparasites were recovered from them. The infestation rates between stray and
restricted dogs was statistically significant (X2 = 14, df =1, P<0.05). The relative abundance of Rhipicephalus species (53.5%) was statistically highest. Other species of ticks encountered were Boophilus (31.4%) and Amblyomma (8.4%). Lice and fleas recovered from the dogs during this study belong to Linognathus and Ctenocephalis species respectively. Of the dog-borne disease listed, rabies was the most frequently mentioned by 56% of respondents while only 5.2% mentioned tick infestation as potential health risk to dogs and humans. Bathing dogs with brush, soap and detergents (59.6%) was the most popular method of cleaning dogs in Makurdi. This study demonstrated that several dog owners in Makurdi do not have the adequate dog-care information that will protect the health of their pets and safe-guard human health.