Prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasites in captive felines; a case at The Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre
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Feline gastrointestinal parasitism constitutes an issue of concern for veterinarians since parasites are widespread and affect animals’ health and welfare. Furthermore, some of these parasites have a zoonotic potential. This case study was carried out in January 2020 to investigate the gastrointestinal parasites in felines (cats) kept under captivity at Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center (UWEC). A total of 14 cats which included seven African lions, three Cheetahs, two serval cats, one caracal and one leopard constituted the sample size. Samples were taken from the faecal droppings in the feeding cages as the cats were let out early morning for the routine cleaning and put into faecal containers and labeled using a pen. These were put into a cooler box with ice and transported to the Central Diagnostic Laboratory at COVAB Makerere for microscopic examination. Examination was done by floatation and sedimentation to identify the species of parasites based on egg structure, and the eggs of the parasites were quantified using the Mc Master technique. Fifty seven percent of the cats tested positive with Toxocara cati eggs., The association in the concentration of the gastrointestinal parasites between the different felines was determined using one-way ANOVA using the SPSS statistic 20. The worm load was more in the lions, and significantly low burden in the leopard and Cheetahs, serval cats and the caracal tested negative for all the tests. The worm burden was significantly more in the young than the old. Age, stress, individual host differences and management exhibited effect on the concentration of gastrointestinal parasite in the felines kept under captivity. Results indicated that all the infections with nematodes fell under moderate and mild infestations this was attributed to the strict management, routine deworming and health monitoring.