PREVALENCE OF BOVINE CYSTICERCOSIS AND FASCIOLIASIS IN SLAUGHTERED CATTLE IN NSUKKA ZONE AND THE HAEMATOLOGICAL, BIOCHEMICAL AND HISTOPATHOLOGICAL CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO ACTIVE INFECTION
The prevalence and distribution of bovine cysticercosis and fascioliasis in cattle slaughtered in Nsukka zone, together with the haematological, biochemical and histopathological aspects of active infection were investigated from April 2009 to March 2010. Six slaughter areas consisting of three slaughter houses and three slaughter sites within five local government areas in the zone were used for the study. The cross-sectional study involved actual postmortem inspection gof the slaughtered cattle. A total number of 3659 cattle were examined for the presence of cysticerci and liver flukes, out of which 137 (3.74%) were positive for Fasciola gigantica and 8 (0.22%) positive for Cysticercus bovis. The gender-related distribution of the infections showed significant higher infection of fascioliasis in females than in males (P<0.05) and C. bovis infection only in males. Age-related prevalence of fascioliasis showed no significant difference between the two recorded age groups. Only adult cattle above 2 years of age were detected with C. bovis. In breed-related distribution, fascioliasis was significantly higher in White Fulani breed than the others (P<0.05) while C. bovis was slightly higher in Sokoto Guadali than in White Fulani breed, though it was not significant. Seasonal prevalence showed significant higher infection of fascioliasis during the rainy season than during the dry season (P<0.05) and significant higher infection of C. bovis during the dry season than during the rainy season (P<0.05). The haematological assay determined showed high significant decrease in the mean values of RBC, Hb, PCV, monocytes and lymphocytes (P<0.01) and significant increase in the mean values of MCH, MCV, eosinophils and neutrophils of Fasciola infected cattle when compared to that of the control group (P<0.01). RBC, Hb and PCV showed significant negative correlation with worm burden while eosinophils and neutrophils correlated positively with worm burden. In the biochemical aspect, high significant elevations were observed in the mean values of AST, ALT, ALP, urea and creatinine of Fasciola infected cattle when compared to that of the control group (P<0.01) while high significant decrease was observed in the mean values of total proteins, albumin, glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, high density lipoproteins and low density lipoproteins of Fasciola infected cattle when compared to that of the control group (P<0.01). Total proteins, albumin, glucose, triglycerides and LDL parameters possessed significant negative correlation with worm burden (r > 0.5), while urea and creatinine possessed highly significant positive correlation with Fasciola worm burden (r < 0.5). The haematological and biochemical alterations in the infected cattle reflected tissue damage which was confirmed by the histopathological changes that portrayed various stages of necrosis and fibrosis in the infected liver tissues.