Past research in the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish sites in Ethiopia, conducted jointly by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and national research and development partners, has highlighted the importance of coenurosis in small ruminant production.
This parasitic disease causes circling and eventually death in affected small ruminants. Dogs play an important role in the disease’s transmission cycle as the adult parasite resides in dogs intestines producing eggs which are excreted on pastures and then ingested by sheep and goats during grazing.
While there is no coenurosis treatment available for small ruminants, its transmission cycle can be interrupted by preventing and controlling the parasite burden in dogs.
ILRI and the Livestock and Fish program partners are implementing a community-based coenurosis control program which includes deworming of dogs in southern Ethiopia. The aim is to reduce the incidence of the disease in small ruminants and strengthen smallholder livestock systems to withstand the impact of coenurosis and support farmers to produce healthy animals and products for sale and consumption. The intervention will also assess the effect of anthelminthics on Taenia spp. and other intestinal parasites with zoonotic importance in dogs and will improve the overall health of dogs.
A practical laboratory training was conducted 8-9 September 2016 at Addis Ababa University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture in Debre Zeit for national research partners who are carrying out faecal examinations in the coenurosis control program.
Twelve participants from different agricultural offices and research centres in the country were trained on:
- Use of safe procedures of restraining dogs and taking faecal samples
- Different faecal examination techniques for both cestodes and roundworms of dogs
- Identification of eggs and adult intestinal parasites of dogs with clinical and zoonotic importance
- Demonstration of faecal culturing and larvae recovery procedures
As a result of the training, researchers can now implement the coprological survey of dogs faeces to estimate the baseline for multiple parasite burden and to evaluate the reduction of intestinal worm burden after deworming of dogs with Praziquantel.
Initial training sessions for communities on the transmission cycle of coenurosis and options of control where held in four kebeles in Borena Zone. As part of these activities, boiled and crushed maize was used to make baits with praziquantel which were then given to dogs. Following the pilot testing, a bigger community awareness-raising campaign is ongoing to foster community involvement in the program especially in dog deworming. Smallholder farmers participated in collecting dog faecal samples and have visited the research centre in Yabello for a training where they had an opportunity to see the parasite eggs through the microscope.
By Biruk Alemu and Barbara Wieland
The activity was funded through the Livestock and Fish CRP and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded SmaRT Ethiopia Project – Improving the Performance of Pro-Poor Sheep and Goat Value Chains for Enhanced Livelihoods, Food and Nutrition Security in Ethiopia.