Prevalence of Babesia canis and Hepatozoon canis in Zaria, Nigeria
The study was carried out to show the prevalence of Babesia canis and Hepatozoon canis in dogs within Zaria. Between the months of May and August 2010, blood samples collected from 150 dogs were processed using Giemsa stained thin blood smear and examined for the presence of B. canis and H. canis. Of the 150 dogs sampled, 84 (56%) were males and 66 (44%) were females. 106 (70.7%) were adults aged 1 year and above while 44 (29.3%) were dogs below the age of 1 year. Local breeds numbered 111 dogs constituting (74%) of the total number sampled, while 20 (13.3%) and 19 (12.7%) were foreign and cross breed respectively. One hundred and five (70%) of all dogs sampled were unconfined while 45 (30%) were confined. B. canis and or H. canis occurred in 26(17.3%) dogs, of which 10(38.5%) and 12(46.2%) had single infection of the former and later respectively, while 4(15.4%) had mixed infections of both parasites. The occurrence of the haemoparasites was significantly higher (X2 = 12.20, p < 0.05, OR= 4.467) in younger dogs than in the adults, but there was no statistically significant association between the occurrence of the parasites and the breed (X2 = 0.3794, p > 0.05) or sex (X2 = 1.237, p > 0.05) of the sampled dogs. All the infected dogs were as well infested by the tick vector Rhipicephalus sanguineus with the non-confined dogs having significantly higher (X2 = 37.93, p < 0.05) tick infestation rates. The infestation rates in both confined and non-confined groups had no statistically significant association to the respective levels of haemo-parasitism.(X2 = 0.1410, p < 0.05, OR= 1.24).
Keywords: Babesia canis, Dogs, Hepatozoon canis, Prevalence, Zaria.