Evaluating prevalence and control methods of gastrointestinal parasites of merino sheep in Lesotho

This research project incorporated two studies. The first study was based on farmer’s awareness and control methods of gastrointestinal parasites of Merino sheep in Lesotho. The study was achieved by simple random sampling of 216 farmers from three agro-ecological zones (lowlands, foothills and mountains) covering the central and southern regions of the country. Qualitative data was collected from the focus group discussions and individual interviews conducted in three villages per agro-ecological zone. Over 78% of farmers in these agro-ecological zones are aware of different gastrointestinal parasites of sheep and associated this problem with high mortality rates of lambs. Majority of farmers (70%) in all agroecological zones reported high prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in summer and autumn. Almost all farmers in their respective agro-ecological zones use anthelmintics as a control measure against gastrointestinal parasites; however, there are still some farmers who indicated ineffectiveness of the anthelmintics. Many farmers (81%) in the lowlands keep their sheep in non-roofed enclosures followed by the mountains (67%) and foothills (57%); however, cleaning of the enclosures is not done properly. In all agro-ecological zones more than 80% of farmers believed that communal grazing is the main source of gastrointestinal parasites transmission. The lower education level of farmers is believed to be the main contributor of improper management of the grazing systems and gastrointestinal parasites management practices. The second study focused on the prevalence and faecal egg count of gastrointestinal parasites of Merino sheep in Lesotho. The aim was to evaluate the effect of agro-ecological zone, age, sex and different times of the year on the prevalence and faecal egg loads of gastrointestinal parasites. A total of 1,919 faecal samples were collected over a period of six months (July to iv December) from the sheep sampled in different agro-ecological zones of Maseru and Quthing districts. The samples were examined using floatation method in McMaster technique and observed under the light microscope to find the faecal egg count per gram. Three types of gastrointestinal parasites eggs were identified (nematodes, cestodes and coccidia). Agroecological zones and the age of the animal had a significant effect (p<0.05) on both prevalence and faecal egg loads of gastrointestinal parasites. Nematodes were most prevalent with high faecal egg loads in the lowlands than other agro-ecological zones. Coccidian prevalence and faecal egg loads was significantly (p<0.05) affecting lambs than the adult sheep in both districts. Sex of the animal had no significant influence on both prevalence and faecal egg loads of gastrointestinal parasites. Gastrointestinal nematodes accumulate more with the increasing temperature and rain falls while coccidia prevails more in lower temperature of the winter months in both districts.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
RUFORUM Journal Articles
Access restriction: 
Project sponsor: 
RUFORUM (Grant no. RU 2015 GRG-109)
S. M. Molapo; M. W. Phoofolo; P. A. Matebesi
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