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Subject: Agricultural Science
Topic: Farm Animals Parasites
A farm animal parasite is any organism that lives and derives its means of Iivelihood from the body of another organism. A parasite obtains its nutrients and water from the body of another animal (host). A host is the
animal on which a parasite lives and derives its food.
Classification of Farm Animal Parasites
Parasites can be classified (grouped) into two broad categories. These are:
These are organisms that live on the body (on the outside) of another organism. Examples of these are ticks, lice, mites, flies etc.
Ectoparasites of Farm Animals
These are organisms which Iive inside the body system of its host organism.
These include tapeworm, roundworm, Iiver fluke etc.
Effects of Parasites on Farm Animals
The following are some common effects of parasites on farm animals
- It causes hunger.
- It brings about abdominal pains and discomfort to the host animal
- causes indigestion and vomiting
- lt causes disease infection
- to excretory products are usually poisonous to the host (animal).
- Heavy infestation causes imitation, distress, blood loss and Diarrhoea
- It leads to loss of weight and retarded growth.
- Causes low productivity of weight and retard farm animals and
- lt could lead to the death of farm animals and loss to the farmer.
Controlling Methods of Farm Animal Parasites
To avoid low productivity and the eventual loss of farm animals, a farmer must adopt some methods to control parasite infestations. These methods include:
1. Rotational Grazing: Animals should be grazed on a rotational manner from time to time to render the parasite ineffective i.e. when paresites have no animals to live on for a period of time, they die.
2. Isolation: A situation whereby all sick and unhealthy animals will be separated from the healthy ones in order to avoid infestation and
3. Good Hygiene: Good, proper sanitation of farm houses and paddocks should be observed all the time in order to discourage invasion by parasitic organisms.
4. Good Feeding: Animals should be properly fed on a good feed and
balanced diet. This will go a long way in preventing the animal from
being susceptible to pest and diseases attack.
5. Rearing of Resistant Breed: Animal breeds that are resistant to the parasite should always be kept and reared by the farmer in order to
discourage the attack by parasites and diseases.
6. Quarantine: New stock should be kept separately and checked regularly
before allowing such stock to enter the country.
Common Parasites of Some Animals Parasites of Cattle
Ticks are the most important of the external parasites which attack cattle.
They suck the blood of the animals and make them weak.
Common diseases caused by ticks are red-water fever, east coast fever and heart water disease. Ticks can be controlled by spraying the animals with parafin sprays or insecticides. These are chemicals which kills insects.
B. Insect bite
Insect bites can also make cattle sick. The most important of these are
the biting flies like Tabanus, and sucking flies like the Tsetse fly. The
tsetse fly causes a disease known as Trypanosomiasis. Besides ticks and insects, which are external parasites, cattle can become sick when they are attacked by other small animals which live inside them. These are internal parasites.
Examples af internal parasites are round worms which live in the gut,
liver flukes which live in the liver and tapeworms which form stones or cysts in the flesh of the cattle. These internal parasites attack cattle when they graze on bad pasture or drink dirty water. They can be controlled by
providing good grass and clean water
Parasites of Different Animals
i. Parasites of Sheep and Goats
Worms are common parasites which affect sheep, goats and cattle. There
are many types of worms, they are tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, nodule worms, and whipworms.
All animal will suffer if they have a large number of worms in their gut.
Sometimes, the number of worms is large enough to cause serious
sickness or death. Infected animals do not eat well, they pass stool frequenly and become very weak. Younger animals are more likely to show signs of sickness when infected with worms than older animals.
Prevention And Control Of Worm Infestation depends on the type of
worm causing the disease.
1. Animals should avoid damp areas during grazing. The worm problem is less serious during the dry season than during the rainy season.
2. Too many animals should not be put in a small area. overcowding should be avoided.
3. Young animals should be separated from the main herd as soon as they are weaned.
4. Water For drinking should be supplied where possible in drinking troughs instead of allowing the animals to drink from ponds, rivers or reservoirs with wet banks.
5. Animal feeds should not come in contact with their faeces. Worms can be treated with drugs. Farmers should seek advice from veterinary doctors on the type of drugs to give the affected animals.
ii. Parasites of Poultry
Here again, parasites are very important. Some of them live in the body of the animal like worms. The worms damage the walls of the intestines and take food from the animals’ gut and blood. The birds grow slowly and do not lay eggs. Worms can be treated by drugs. Though the best treatment is to prevent attack. Poultry houses should be sprayed with chemicals to reduce the number of mosquitoes and houseflies.
Parasites which are found on the bodies of birds are largely lice and mites.
They live under the feathers, suck the bird’s blood and make them restless. Houses for rearing poultry should be cleaned regularly. When young chicks are to be brought in, the house should be free of disease organisms by doing thorough cleaning using disinfectant.
iii. Parasites of Pigs
These animals are very often infested by the large round worm known as
ascaris. The adult worm lives inside the gut of the pigs and lays a large
number of eggs. Diseased animals look tired and off colour, they stool
frequently and lose weight. Pigs can be treated for worms by the use of
drugs. An animal health doctor shoud be consulted.
Done studying? See previous lessons in Agricultural Science
Lesson Evaluation / Test
- What are farm animal parasites?What are endoparasites?
- Give examples of endoparasites.
- What are the effects of parasites on farm animals?
- Explain the quarantine method of controling farm animal parasites.
- What other methods do you know that can control the infestation of farm animal parasites?
- Who is to be consulted on the type of drugs to give the affected animals?
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