Rabbit management and occurrences of mange mite infestations in rabbit farms in Morogoro Municipality, Tanzania
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Morogoro Municipality between September and December 2015 to explore the rabbit farming and assess the common health problems with a focus on epidemiology of mange infestation. A total of 18 rabbit farms with 622 animals from 9 wards were investigated. A questionnaire was administered to the rabbit farmers to gather information on rabbit management and the associated challenges. All rabbits found in the farms were examined for mange lesions and skin scrapping was collected and analysed for mange mites in the laboratory using standard procedures. It was found that Morogoro Municipality had 18 rabbit farms with average of 34.6±23.1 rabbits per farm. Farmers reported to keep rabbits as sources of meat and income. Most of rabbits (83.1%) were raised in cages and were fed on green herbes, grasses and concentrates. Constraints to rabbit production were availability of good feeds, predators, lack of extension services and diseases particularly diarrhoea, infertility and skin conditions. Mange mite infestation was reported by 33.3% of respondents and poor hygiene, not resting of rabbit house and keeping of rabbits on the floor were significant (P < 0.05) factors for mange infestation. Prevalence of mange infestation was 23.2% and 33% in rabbits and farms respectively. All the mange mites observed were identified as Sarcoptes scabiei cuniculi. The observed clinical lesions were predictors of mange mite infestations (p=0.0000072283). Rabbit production in Morogoro is at infancy stage and is constrained with many drawbacks. Mange mites are prevalent in rabbit farms in Morogoro Municipality and therefore proper animal husbandry practices and application of acaricides are recommended.
Keywords: Mange mites, rabbit management, diseases, prevalence