a1 Department of Clinical Studies, University of Zambia, School of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 32379, Lusaka 10101, Zambia
Faecal samples (n = 1947) from captive wild impala (Aepyceros melampus melampus) were examined over a period of 14 months to determine quantitative seasonal helminth egg excretion patterns and qualitative protozoan oocyst excretion patterns. Geometric mean monthly faecal egg counts (FECs) ranged from 20 to 575 and coprocultures revealed three parasite genera, namely Trichostrongylus, Haemonchus and Strongyloides. Larvae of the Trichostrongylus spp. were most predominant from faecal cultures. No trematode eggs or lungworms were detected and eggs of the cestode Monezia were only seen in two samples during the entire study period. The nematode FECs showed a marked seasonal variation, being higher during the rainy season, moderate during the cool dry season and low during the hot dry season. The rainy season had significantly higher FECs than the dry season (P < 0.01). The percentage of helminth-egg positive faecal samples ranged from 90.6 to 100% in the rainy season and 72.4 to 85.6% in the dry season. Overall mean FECs in unpelleted faeces were significantly higher than in pelleted faeces (P < 0.01). However, the FECs were not significantly different among seasons in unpelleted faeces (P>0.05), but were significantly higher in pelleted faeces in the rainy season than the dry season (P < 0.05). Pellet size had a significant effect on FEC, with smaller pellets having higher FEC (P < 0.05). Strongyloides eggs and coccidia oocysts were only seen during the rainy season. This represents the first documentation of seasonal parasitic infestation in captive wild antelopes in Zambia. Treatment and control strategies for helminths in these captive wild impala are also suggested based on the findings from this study.
(Received April 12 2011)
(Accepted October 07 2011)
(Online publication November 10 2011)
p1 Current address: 3650 Nicholson Drive, Apt 1213, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70 802, USA.