Variations in Gastrointestinal Parasites in Multiple Hoofstock Species in Different Zoological Facilities
Gastrointestinal parasites (GIP) are frequently significant contributors to negative health status in captive exotic hoofstock as well as domestic livestock species.1 Individual zoological facilities have different management protocols for animal husbandry and parasite control, but there are frequently similarities as well. Neither the differences nor similarities in management can explain all differences in seasonalities of GIP. No less than 24 sequential monthly fecal samples were collected from hoofstock species at three participating facilities. Fecal egg count (FEC) and culture larval count data was collected on all samples submitted for testing, and results demonstrated some obvious trends in seasonality. In the Southeast US, seasonal spikes in FEC are in late summer and late fall; in Southern California, spikes are usually in late winter.
Haemonchus species are generally associated with warm, moist environments, so they are frequently blamed for morbidity and mortality in hoofstock in the SE US 2; however, culture data indicates that they may be more common in dry areas than previously believed. This may be due to artificially altering the environment by irrigation. Some animal species also seem to be more greatly affected by GIP than others, including giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dama), Thomson’s gazelle (Gazella thomsonii), and blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi). Trends in GIP infection are not necessarily the same when comparing the different facilities or the different animal or parasite species.
1. Fontenot DK, Kinney-Moscona A, Kaplan RM, Miller JE. Effects of copper oxide wire particle bolus therapy on trichostrongyle fecal egg counts in exotic artiodactylids. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2008;39:642–645.
2. Kaplan RM, Vidyashankar AN, Howell SB, Neiss JM, Williamson LH, Terrill TH. A novel approach for combining the use of in vitro and in vivo data to measure and detect emerging moxidectin resistance in gastrointestinal nematodes of goats. Int J Parasitol. 2007;37:795–804.