Ectoparasites and Endoparasites of New Zealand White Rabbits from North West of Iran
Background: Rabbits contain several parasites that can be harmful to their health as well as human being’s health due to the probability of causing parasitic zoonosis. The present research was designed to study ectoparasites and endoparasites of New Zealand White rabbits in North West of Iran and potential risks of parasitic zoonosis for researchers and owners.
Methods: Totally, 50 rabbits were purchased from rabbit sellers and breeders in suburbs of Urmia and Tabriz between Jul and Dec 2016. The rabbits were assessed for ectoparasites by hair brushing, skin scraping, acetate tape preparation and othic swabs. They were euthanized and inspected for helminths and protozoa infection. Faecal sampling was carried out directly from recti and the oocysts or cysts were isolated using sedimentation and floatation techniques and the sporulated oocyst were identified based on morphological.
Results: The following parasites, with their respective prevalence; Nematoda: Passalurus ambigus 54%, Trichostrongylus retortaeformis 42%, Nematodirus leporis 32%, Cestoda: Cysticercus pisiformis 26%, Protozoa: Eimeria steidae 44%, E. magna 30%, E. media 12% and Arthropoda: Sarcoptes scabiei 18% and Cheyletiella parasitivorax 38%. No significant difference was recorded in infection rate between male and female rabbits.
Conclusion: Both domestic and wild rabbits are a potential source of human parasitic zoonosis, and strict hygienic practices are recommended during and after handling rabbits or in case of exposure to their feces.
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