Identification and performance of gastrointestinal strongyles in sheep in Matanzas province


Javier Arece García
Estación Experimental de Pastos y Forrajes Indio Hatuey Central España Republicana 44280, Matanzas, Cuba


A study was conducted during a period of two years (2000-2002) about the main epizootiological and biological aspects of gastrointestinal strongyles that affect sheep in three production farms of Matanzas province. For the work three flocks were selected (Dos Mercedes, LABIOFAM and EEPF “Indio Hatuey”) in which their exploitation systems were representative of the other flocks. Four strongyle species were identified: Haemonchus contortus, H. placei, Trichostrongylus colubriformis and Oesophagostomum columbianum, and from them the last three constitute first reports in sheep in Cuba. For the first time in Cuba sympatry was found in the infestations by two species of the genus Haemonchus. On the other hand, it could be observed that in the three farms, throughout the year, the animals expelled nematode eggs, with predominance of Haemonchus spp. The levels of parasite infestation showed significant variations (P ≤ 0,05) in the months of the year, with the highest egg expelling rates in the dry season (DS) (P ≤ 0,05). The animal category influenced the fecal egg counts (FEC), which was directly related to the animal management. In LABIOFAM the lambs were more susceptible, while in the other farms the adult animals were more susceptible. Differences appeared (P ≤ 0,05) in the susceptibility of the different reproductive statuses of the females, independently from the management. The lambed ewes showed the highest FECs and constitute an important factor in the progression of the parasite disease. The body condition of the ewes incorporated to reproduction showed significant variations in the months (P ≤ 0,05), with lower values in the DS as a result of the nutritional status of the flock. The dynamics of the third-stage larval populations in the pasture had a similar performance in the studied farms. In the rainy season (RS) a higher quantity of L3 was collected as a product of the favorable effects of rainfall and temperature. In the pasture a predominance of L3 of Haemonchus spp. was found and to a lesser extent, T. colubriformis and O. columbianum.