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CHARPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Ruminants such as cattle, goat and sheep represent an important source of animal protein in many countries of the world, supplying a good percentage of the daily meat and dairy products in cities and villages. Apart from being the source of animal protein, their waste are also very important in agriculture (Nwosu et al., 2007).

In many parts of the world, cattle production is a profitable enterprise because of the high demand for dietary animal protein (Anaeto et al., 2009). Cattle on the other hand is widely distributed and reared in most part of the country, because it serves as the major animal protein source consumed by the people. Cattle are usually slaughtered at virtually all abattoirs in Nigeria, where they are sold to the public (households, restaurants, hotels e.t.c) as beef. Beef gotten from cattle account for about 70% of the total meat consumed in the country (Anene 1993). Cattle are greatly infected with gastrointestinal helminth (Anaeto, 2009). Gastrointestinal helminth infections have been associated with great economic losses to farmers throughout the world, these loses manifest through morbidity in acute cases and in chronic infection reduced weight gains, reduced food conversion, abortion, infertility, reduced meat and milk production (Ogunrinade, 1984; Karki, 1987; Bariajayaet al., 1995). These parasites are very ubiquitous and have also remained the major constraint, hindering the efficiency of rearing cattle and goats successfully (Khin, 2007; Siddiki et al., 2009). The negative impact of helminth infections on livestock productivity in tropical countries has long been established.

Helminthes cause a wide range of health problems to both man and animals (Colley et al., 2001). Helminthiasis, in large part is caused by members of the phyla nematode and platyhelminthes (Kenney and Harnett, 2001). Species belonging to both phyla occupy numerous niches within their mammalian hosts, ranging from intestinal lumen to intravascular and even intracellular sites (Littlewood and Bray, 2001).

The parasitic infections of ruminants are mostly caused by nematodes (such as Ostertagia spp., Capillaria spp.,Trichuris spp., Strongyliodes spp.), cestodes (such as Moniezia spp Taenia spp.) and Trematodes (such as Dicrocoelium spp., Fasciola gigantica, Amphistomes), (Zahid et al., 2005).Ruminants, infected by gastrointestinal helminth parasites cause loss to farmers through; low milk production, low fertility, reduced work capacity, involuntary culling, treatment cost, mortality and reduction in the market value of infected animal (Regassa et al., 2006).

Furthermore, most helminth parasites reside in the gastrointestinal tract where they are sheltered and obtain their nourishment. Their parasitic mode of life has an adverse effect on the host animal. They are responsible for substantial loss of productivity in livestock industry. Their harmful effects on the animals ranges from gastroenteritis, anorexia, abdominal distention, diarrhea, emaciation and loss of appetite, destruction of the liver paranchyma, these result in serious economic losses to the farmer and the nation in general (Junaidu and Adamu,1997). Similarly they constitute a major impediment to effective and profitable livestock production (Akerjola, 1999).

However, the prevalence of gastrointestinal helminthes is related to the agroclimate condition like quantity and quality of the pasture, temperature, humidity and the grazing behavior of the host (Pal and Qagyum, 1993).

Information is lacking about the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasitic infections among cattle in Benin City. Against this background, the study is conducted to determine the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasitic infections among cattle in Benin City

AIMS OF STUDY

The aims of this study are to:-

Determine the prevalence of gastrointestinal helminth among slaughtered cattle in Benin City abattoirs.

Determine the relationship between demographic characters and prevalence of gastrointestinal helminth infections.

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