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Byline: Muhammad Naeem and Hassan Farooq Kazmi

ABSTRACT: Livestock especially Ovis aries (sheep) is under sober coercion of clinical and sub-clinical gastrointestinal helminthes infestation, which blights productive and reproductive potential of the animals.

To inspect the predominance of gastrointestinal helminthiasis in sheep, 500 faecal samples from all over the tehsil Jatoi, Pakistan were examined by using direct/indirect and copro-culture techniques. The identification of helminthes eggs/ larvae were made according to the standard procedures. Overall predominance of gastrointestinal helminthiasis was 68% (340/500) while the contribution of nematode was (185/500; 37%), trematodes (60/500; 12%), cestodes (10/500; 2%) and mixed infestation were (85/500; 17%). The results also exposed that helminthes predominance was higher in lambs 92.10% (175/190) as compared with adults 53.22% (165/310) while less male animals 66.5% (133/200) were infected then females 69% (207/300). The results intended that methodical attention should be paid on the regular de- worming of the ruminants.


Keywords: Predominance, Helminthiasis, Ovis aries, Jatoi

Ovis aries (sheep), member of the Bovidae family and sub family Caprinae is one of the oldest domesticated species, has been used for wool, milk, meat and skins from thousands of years through out the world . Sheep are important section of live stock and live stock has always performed a crucial role in meeting the food demands of terrifically growing human population. It is not only increasing the economic status of poor pastoral peoples but also playing an imperative role in the uplift of economy by contributing 11.5% of total gross domestic product value of Pakistan [1].

This worthwhile livestock sector is under sober coercion of clinical and sub-clinical helminthes infestation, which blights productive and reproductive potential of domestic livestock [2] through reduction in voluntary food intake and/or feed conversion efficiency [3], especially inefficient use of absorbed nutrients which leads to retarded growth [4], impair tissue deposition, blood loss and even mortality in heavy infestations [5]-[6]. In addition to these threats, animals also become susceptible to other pathogenic infections which results into heavy economic losses or even death of the flocks [7]-[8].

Helminthiasis is of utmost importance in many agro- ecological zones and still a serious menace to the livestock economy worldwide. Helminthes are categorized into three classes i.e. nematodes (roundworms), cestodes (tapeworms) and trematodes (flukes). Helminthes infestations may transfer to healthy animals due to improper care; unhygienic environment; extreme climate [6]-[9] and close contact with infected animals and such situations amplify the economic losses [10]. Many scientists have explored various aspects of the helminthes infestation in different localities of Pakistan like Raza et al., 2007; Khan et al., 2010; and reported its prevalence ranges from 25-92%. The present study was designed to investigate the predominance of gastrointestinal helminthiasis in sheep in and around of tehsil Jatoi of southern Punjab, Pakistan in relation with age and sex of the host.


Study area

The present study was conducted from January-June 2009 to determine the predominance of gastrointestinal helminthiasis in the sheep under field conditions at the vicinity of Tehsil Jatoi of District Muzaffar Garh, Southern Punjab, Pakistan.

It lies on the boarder of Indus river and Muzafargarh positioned between latitude 288570 to 308460 N and longitude 708300 to 718470 E.

Sample collection

Five hundred faecal samples of sheep were randomly collected in sterile polythene bags directly from rectum of each animal [11]. These faecal samples were brought to District Diagnostic Laboratory Muzaffar Garh and Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan for identification of eggs/larvae or adult helminthes.

Sample analyses

Fecal samples were examined for helminthes eggs/larvae by using direct and indirect techniques (Ayaz, 2010) and for identification of certain nematodes, copro-culture were performed to obtain larval stage. Both eggs and larvae from copro-culture were identified by using standard techniques as described by MAFF (1979) and Soulsby (1987).

Briefly, one gram of fecal sample was mixed well in a drop of water and a relatively homogenous and transparent preparation was obtained and examined under microscope by placing a drop of suspension on slide with cover slip [12]. At least three direct smears were examined from each sample. All the samples were also examined by concentration techniques, i.e. floatation and sedimentation.

For floatation technique, five grams of feces was mixed in 30-50 ml of water and strained through a sieve to remove the course material. The mixture was allowed to sediment for half an hour. The supernatant was poured off and sediment was mixed in a saturated solution of common salt.

The suspension was centrifuged at 1000 rpm for two minutes. The upper 0.1 ml of centrifuged suspension was transferred to a glass slide and examined under microscope at 10 X for the presence of helminthes eggs. More over a relatively new technique for "a single slide positive sample" was developed as micro-floatation technique [11].

For sedimentation technique, five grams of faeces was mixed in 30-50 ml of water and strained through a sieve to remove the course material. The mixture was allowed to sediment for half an hour.

After centrifugation, the supernatant was decanted and washing was continued until supernatant became clear. A drop was taken from sediment with Pasteur's pipette on slide and was examined under microscope at 10 X for the presence of helminthes eggs [13].


Faecal cultures provide an environment suitable for hatching and development of helminthes eggs. Faeces found positive for nematode eggs but confusing for exact identification were broken up finely, using either a large pestle and mortar or spatula and were placed in a glass jar or petri-dish which was closed and incubated at a temperature of about 26 C for 7 days. After incubation, samples were examined for the presence of larvae. Larvae were identified with the help of keys given by MAFF (1979).


The present study was undertaken from January-June 2009 to determine the predominance of gastrointestinal helminthes in sheep. Overall prevalence of helminths was 68% (340/500). The highest prevalence (185/500; 37%) was recorded for nematodes followed by trematodes (60/500;12%), cestodes (10/500; 2%) and mixed helminth infections (85/500; 17%). A total of nine species of helminths including five nematodes, i.e. Haemonchus contortus, Trichostrongylus axei, Chabertia ovina, Oestertagia oestertagi, Oestertagia circumcincta; three trematodes, i.e.Fasciola hepatica, F. gigantica, Paramphistomum cervi; and one cestode, i.e. Moniezia expansa were recorded.

The prevalence of different species of helminthes is presented in Table I. Haemonchus contortus was the most prevalent species of helminth followed by Paramphistomum cervi, Oestertagia circumcincta, Fasciola hepatica, Chabertia ovina , Moniezia expansa, Oesophagostomum radiatum, Bunostomum phlebotomum, Haemonchus placei, , M. benedeni, Trichostrongyllus spp., Oestertagia oestertagi and F. gigantica. The mixed helminth infection (85/500; 17%) was often composed of 11 species including Fasciola hepatica, Fasciola gigantica, Monezia benedini, Ostertagia ostertagi, Chabertia ovina, Oestertagia circumcincta, Cotylophora cotylophorum, Trichuris globulosa,Monezia expansa, Oesophagostomum Columbian and Haemonchus contortus.

Age wise predominance of helminthes in sheep showed that 53.22% adults (165/310) and 92.10% lambs (175/190) were infected. In sheep (Table II), lambs were found infected with six species of helminthes, i.e. H. contortus, P. cervi, O. circumcincta, F. hepatica, Chabertia ovina and Oestertagia oestertagi; whereas, from adults, eight species of helminthes were recorded, i.e. H. contortus, P. cervi, O. circumcincta, F. hepatica, Chabertia ovina, Trichostrongylus axei, Moniezia expansa and F. gigantica in the order of deceasing prevalence. A total of 17% sheep (85/500) had mixed infection comprising 18.94% (36/190) in lambs and 15.80% (49/310) in adults. The mixed infections were either with two, three or four species of helminths.

Sex wise predominance of helminthes in sheep described that 66.5% male (133/200) and 69% females (207/300) animals were infected. In sheep (Table III), five species of helminthes i.e. H. contortus, P. cervi, O. circumcincta, T. axei and O. oestertagi were recorded from males and seven species i.e. H. contortus, P. cervi, O. circumcincta, F. hepatica, C. ovina, M. expansa and F. gigantica from females were recorded in the order of decreasing prevalence

Table I. Predominance of different species of helminthes in sheep

Species of helminth###Number of Faceal###Number of Faecal

###Samples Examined###Samples Positive###Predominance

Haemonchus contortus###500###144###28.8%

Paramphistomum cervi###500###38###7.6%

Oestertagia circumcincta###500###4###0.8%

Fasciola hepatica###500###17###3.4%

Chabertia ovina###500###14###2.8%

Trichostrongylus axei###500###11###2.2%

Moniezia expansa###500###10###2%

Oestertagia oestertagi###500###12###2.4%

F. gigantica###500###5###1%

Table II. Age-wise predominance of different species of helminthes in sheep

Species of helminth###Lamb###Adult

Haemonchus contortus###81/190; 42.63%###63/310; 20.32%

\Paramphistomum cervi###20/190; 10.52%###18/310; 5.80%

Oestertagia circumcincta###2/190; 1.05%###2/310; 0.64%

Fasciola hepatica###10/190; 5.26%###7/310; 2.25%

Chabertia ovina###6/190; 3.15%###8/310; 2.58%

Trichostrongylus axei###7/190; 3.68%###4/310; 1.29%

Moniezia expansa###4/190; 2.10%###6/310; 1.93%

Oestertagia oestertagi###7/190; 3.68%###5/310; 1.61%

F. gigantica###2/190; 1.05%###3/310; 0.96%

Mixed infection###36/190; 18.94%###49/310; 15.80%

Overall prevalence###175/190; 92.10%###165/310; 53.22%

Helminthiasis is one of the major problems which affect the productivity of sheep. Losses caused by helminthes invariably depend on the prevalence, nature and intensity of infection and the management practices. In this investigation, highest prevalence of helminthes was recorded in sheep followed by goats, cattle and buffaloes. The prevalence of helminthes was higher in young animals compared with the older ones, and higher in males compared with the females in all the animals included in the study.

From sheep, a total of nine species of helminths including five nematodes, i.e. Haemonchus contortus, Trichostrongylus axei, Chabertia ovina, Oestertagia oestertagi, Oestertagia circumcincta; three trematodes, i.e. Fasciola hepatica, F. gigantica, Paramphistomum cervi; and one cestode, i.e. Moniezia expansa were recorded. The helminthes recorded in the study area have also been reported previously by Raza et al. (2007); Ijaz et al. (2008) and Khan et al. (2010) from different areas of Pakistan and by Tariq et al. (2010), Garedaghi et al. (2011), Hassan et al. (2011), Tambe et al. (2011) and many others in different parts of the world. However, these workers have also reported some other helminthes in addition to those recorded in the current study. Such a regional variation in the record of various species has been widely reported.

This variation may be attributed to different geographical distribution, host factors and climatic conditions required for the development of free-living stages of different nematodes.

The rate of helminthes infection in sheep varies from one part of the world to the other part. A variety of factors like age [14], sex [15] and breed of the host [16], grazing habits [17], level of education and economic capacity of the farmers [18], standard of management and anthelmintic used [19] can influence the predominance of helminthes.

The higher infection in young animals than that in older ones may be attributed to lesser resistance because of lesser exposure to different species of helminthes compared with the older animals. [18]-[20]. While higher predominance of helminthiasis in females compared with males may be because of lowered resistance of female animals due to their reproductive events and insufficient/unbalanced diet against higher needs. Most of the researchers have observed higher rates of helminthes infestation in female hosts compared with the males [9]-[14]-[16]-[20]. Normally females are assumed to be more infected due to stress of pregnancy and parturition.

This may be due to the practice of stall feeding females around pregnancy and thus lesser exposure to pasture contamination.


The study area is rich in livestock population which is under serious threat of different species of helminthes. The results intended that methodical attention should be paid on the regular de-worming of the ruminants.


The authors are thankful to Dr. Rab Nawaz Kusar (DDLO),

Ihsan-ur-Rehman Akbar (ADIO), Dr. Rana Sultan, Dr. Khalid Rasool, Dr. Jamshaid and Dr. Nadeem Sial, (Veterinary Officers) for their technical support during research.


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[10] K.A. Tariq, M.Z. Chishti, F. Ahmad, "Gastro-intestinal nematode infections in goats relative to season, host sex and age from the Kashmir valley, India," J. Helminthol., 84, 2010, pp. 93-97.

[11] M.M. Ayaz, "The procedures in Veterinary Protozoology," BBS Life Sciences Pub. Multan. Pakistan. 1st ed., 2010 pp. 14-23.

[12] E.J.L. Soulsby, "Helminths, Arthropods and Protozoa of domesticated animals," 7th Ed., ELBS and Bailliere Tindall, London, 1982, pp. 594.

[13] MAFF, "Manual of Veterinary Laboratory Techniques," Technical bulletin, No. 18, Ministry of Agricultural Fisheries and Food, London. 1979, pp. 14.

[14] F. Valcarcel and C.G. Romero, "Prevalence and seasonal pattern of caprine trichostrongyles in a dry area of central Spain," J. Vet. Med. Series B.,46, 1999, pp. 673-681.

[15] L. Ouattara and P. Dorchies, "Gastro-intestinal helminths of sheep and goats in subhumid and sahelian areas of Burkina Faso," Revue-de- Medecine-Veterinaire, 152, 2001, pp. 165-170.

[16] M.A. Raza, Z. Iqbal, A. Jabbar, M. Yaseen, "Point prevalence of gastrointestinal helminthiasis in ruminants in southern Punjab, Pakistan," J. Helminthol., 81, 2007, pp. 323-328.

[17] M. Ijaz, M. S. Khan, M. Avais, K. Ashraf, M. M. Ali, Saima, "Infection rate and chemotherapy of various helminths in goats in and around Lahore," Pak. Vet. J., 28, 2008, pp. 167-170.

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[19] M.N. Khan, M.S. Sajid, Z. Iqbal, A. Hussain, "Gastrointestinal helminthiasis: prevalence and associated determinants in domestic ruminants of district Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, Pakistan," Parasitol. Res., 107, 2010, pp. 787-794.

[20] C.O. Komoin, J. Zinsstag, V.S. Pandey, F. Fofana, A.N.Depo, "Epidemiology of parasites of sheep in the southern forest zone of Coted'Ivoire," Revue- d'Elevage-et-de-Medecine-Veterinaire-des-Pays- Tropicaux, 52, 1999, pp. 39-46.
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Author:Naeem, Muhammad; Kazmi, Hassan Farooq
Publication:Science International
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Sep 30, 2012

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