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TICK INFESTATION IN DOMESTIC CAT OBSERVED IN SOME SELECTED HOMES OF UNGWAN RIMI KADUNA
The domestic cat (Felis catus) is one of the most favorite animal and companion of humans in many parts of the world. This may be due to their attractive nature, good appearance and also their ability to control the population of pest in and around their habitat. They are mostly found in areas of human presence. Other than humans, domestic cat also interacts with other pets and animals within and outside human houses.
Domestic cat population serves as an important host to different medically and veterinary important parasites and because they interact with the environment and other animals around, they are also important hosts for various ectoparasites (Borji et al., 2011). Ectoparasites are vectors of zoonotic pathogens such as, Lyme disease, Powassan encephalitis, plague, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, trypanosomiasis, and tularemia (Nelder and Reeves, 2005). Some ectoparasitic arthropods are irritating pests of humans and domestic animals, regardless of their significance as vectors of disease. In fact, Jittapalapong et al. (2008) reported infested stray domestic cats to be virtually the source of many zoonotic diseases such as rabies, cat-scratch disease, ehrlichiosis and toxoplasmosis and easily spread the diseases to house animals by contact. The potential of diseases transmission from domestic cats to the human being is high as the domestic cats share the same habitat with the human being.
Ectoparasites are organisms which spend all or part of their life cycles on the external of another organism, the host, and in the process extract nutriment from it for survival (Cable, 1988). Ectoparasites are a common and important cause of pruritic and nonpruritic skin disorders in cats. Ectoparasites can transmit a variety of diseases and cause hypersensitivity disorders in animals. They also may cause life-threatening anemia in young or debilitated animals (Araujo et al., 1998). However, most cats with ectoparasites have no clinical symptoms.
The prevalence of ectoparasites on domestic cats and other domestic animal depends on the rate of proliferation of the ectoparasites which is influenced by the environmental condition, humidity and temperature of the habitat (Akucewich et al., 2002; Nuchjangreed and Somprasong, 2007; Jittapalapong et al., 2008; Paramasvaran et al., 2009; Mendes-de-Almeida et al., 2011). Furthermore, Jittapalapong et al., (2008) also state that socio-economy also seemed one of the important factors for the prevalence of the ectoparasites as increasing cost of living may cause the pet owners least concern and unaffordability to manage their pet’s health.
The relationship of domestic cats with other animal also can contribute to the prevalence of ectoparasites as the ectoparasites can be transmitted from other animal host (Paramasvaran et al., 2009). The advance in transportation system and relocation of infested animal also can influence the prevalence and the infestation rate of ectoparasites on domestic cats and other animal at that particular area (Nuchjangreed and Somprasong, 2007). The ectoparasites are comprised from many groups of parasitic animals. The common ectoparasites infesting the domestic cats belong to four groups which are fleas, mites, lice and ticks. Ticks are however one of the most common found around the tropics.
Ticks are bloodsucking arthropod parasites of the skin. Tick infestation may be noted in outdoor cats. However, the infestation is less serious than the diseases they transmit. The species reported most frequently infesting cats are Dermacentor variabilis, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Amblyomma spp and Ixodes spp (Sosna and Medleau, 1992). The impact of ticks and tick borne diseases on the individual and national economics warrants application of appropriate tick control strategies on priority basis (Bansal, 2005).
Most of the investigations on prevalence of tick species in Africa (Nigeria) are more than a decade old (Perry et al., 1975; Minjauw and McLeod, 2003), whereas periodical monitoring of tick infestation is an essential component for formulating effective control measures and recommendations.
1.1 Statement of research problem
Due to the low specificity of tick’s host and to the increased mobility, ticks can easily go from one species to another, so that some parasites found in animals can pass to humans, causing serious diseases.
Ticks cause direct damage owing to their blood-feeding behavior since they cause anaemia in cats, and act as vectors for bacterial, rickettsial, viral and protozoal diseases and may also cause tick paralysis owing to poisonous injections. However, these infections can carry substantial morbidity and affect much of human population depending on the socio-economic environment.
The role played by ectoparasites in several human diseases and animals therefore calls for a need to study these parasites and their prevalence.
Both city and local resident keep cats as pet and as hunter of house rodents. It appears that only those in the Urban or the city pay attention to the health of those animals in terms of routine visit to the veterinary clinic. However, in the urban areas they still have care free attitude in taking good healthcare of their animals.
Despite the large numbers of cats in Nigeria, very few studies have been conducted on the distribution of ticks on these animals. As a result there is paucity of information on the distribution, species composition, public awareness and zoonotic importance of ectoparasites of cats in Nigeria.
This study can provide the information on the general health condition of domestic cats and humans relative to the potential health problems that can be caused by ticks based on the level of tick prevalence. Policy makers may find the result useful in evidence-based decision to control ticks or initiate surveillance on tick borne diseases (TBD) in the area.
The availability of information may help in understanding the relationship of these parasites, their potentials and impact on the cat population, livestock and humans. Knowledge of tick distribution is an essential prerequisite for devising any effective control of these arthropods and the infections they transmit.
The impact of ticks and tick borne diseases on individual and national economy warrants application of appropriate tick control strategies on priority basis. Most of the investigations on prevalence of tick in Nigeria are more than a decade old, whereas periodical monitoring of tick infestation is essential component for formulating effective control measures and recommendations.
To study tick infestation in domestic cat observed in some selected homes of Ungwan Rimi Kaduna.
1. To determine tick density in domestic cats encountered during in Ungwan Rimi.
2. To determine the influence of habitat and health care variables on tick infestation on domestic cats in Ungwan Rimi.
1. There are no ticks on domestic cats in Ungwan Rimi.
2. Habitat and health care variables have no influence on tick infestation on domestic cats in Ungwan Rimi.
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