Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting dogs in Nigeria: epidemiological and public health implications.

Affiliation

Parasitology Division, National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), PMB 01, Vom, Plateau State, Nigeria. [Email]

Abstract

Ticks are haematophagous arthropods that exert direct and indirect effects on their hosts. Their global importance as reservoirs and vectors of diseases of veterinary and public health importance is well recognized. However, the level of understanding of their role in disease epidemiology varies from one country to the other based on available data. Information on ticks infesting dogs across Nigeria and the public health significance is scarce. Therefore, this study aimed to provide information on ixodid ticks infesting dogs in Nigeria. Ticks were collected from 608 owned dogs presented to veterinary clinics and hospitals in 10 out of 36 states of Nigeria over a 14-month period and identified using taxonomic descriptions and morphological keys. In all, 1196 ticks belonging to three genera were identified. Rhipicephalus (including the subgenus Boophilus) ticks were collected from dogs from all the states surveyed and accounted for 95.2% of the ticks collected, followed by Haemaphysalis (3.7%) and Amblyomma species (1.2%). The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato was the only tick identified in all the climatic zones of Nigeria. There is a statistically significant association between tick infection rate and rainy season, female animals, local and cross breed against exotic animals, total lack of control practice by dog owners, frequency of the control and with traditional methods of tick control but not the age of the dogs. The epidemiological and public health implications of these findings were discussed.

Keywords

Africa,Dog,Nigeria,Pathogens,Public health,Ticks (Ixodidae),