INCIDENCE OF ECTOPARASITES OF DOGS
Dogs are the earliest animals to be domesticated by humans. In many areas of Nigeria, dogs are poorly managed and rarely protected from diseases which turn them to be reservoirs of diseases that can be shared to human and livestock. A cross sectional study was conducted between October 2017 and January 2018 to assess the community knowledge, attitudes, practices and to study the epidemiology of parasitic infestations in dogs of Rural district and Urban Municipality. The structured questionnaire was administered to 200 dog keepers, 100 in each study district. A total of 400 dogs were examined for ectoparasite infestations and sampled for laboratory identification using standard identification keys. Faecal samples were also collected from all the study dogs for coprological analysis of gastrointestinal parasites. It was established that 59% of dog keepers had fair to good knowledge on management of dogs, 50.5% showed positive attitude towards dogs. Dogs of Rural district were managed under poor conditions compared to those of Urban Municipality and the difference was statistically significant (P<0.05). Majority (83.8%) of the dogs were infested with ectoparasites namely ticks, fleas, mites and lice. It was further found that 76.8% of dogs were infested with intestinal parasites and some of them were zoonotic parasites namely Ancylostoma (60.5%), Uncinaria (22%), Toxocara (11.5%), Toxascaris (6.3%), Ascaris (3.8%), Taenid (6%), Dipylidium (1.8%), Cryptosporidium (15.5%), Isospora (8%), Cyclospora (4.3%) and Entamoeba (3%). Dogs of Rural distict were more (P<0.05) infested with parasites than those of Urban Municipality. Risk factors for parasitic infestations which were found to be statically significant (P < 0.05) included age, location of origin, management and housing system, lack of routine deworming and feeding system. It was concluded that dogs in Urban are poorly managed and had high infestation of parasites that reflect the status of parasitic infestations to other animals in the area. Therefore, integrative approaches on creating public awareness on dog management practices in the study areas and other areas in Nigeria in order to safeguard the health of dogs and humans is recommended.