Indigenous knowledge, practices and preferences in control of gastrointestinal nematodes in Bonga and Horro sheep of Ethiopia
Gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) remain one of the main health and production constraints of sheep globally. Considering alternatives to anthelmintics in control of GIN of sheep has become important mainly due to development of anthelmintic resistance. In this study, we used a questionnaire survey in combination with participatory epidemiology methods, ranking and scoring, with the objectives of (1) understanding local sheep disease problems related to GIN in community-based breeding programs (CBBP) in Bonga and Horro of Ethiopia, compared to neighboring communities not involved in CBBP, and (2) assessing current practices and preferences in control of GIN of sheep in both types of communities. The most important disease conditions of sheep in Bonga CBBP with weighed ranks of 1 to 3 were coenurosis, diarrhea and coughing. The corresponding sheep disease conditions in Horro CBBP were coughing, diarrhea and bottle jaw. Diarrhea and bottle jaw presumably are related to gastrointestinal nematodes. Ethnoveterinary medicinal plants are widely used in Bonga while the knowledge is at risk of loss in Horro. Respondents in non CBBP and CBBP communities did not differ (p > 0.05) regarding most of the plant species used frequently in control of GIN in Bonga. There was significant difference (p < 0.001) in frequency of anthelmintic use between CBBP and non CBBP communities for each of the two locations, Bonga and Horro. In Horro, CBBP farmers considered anthelmintics as more sustainable GIN control option than non CBBP farmers (p < 0.001). This can be attributed to lack of awareness pertinent to development of anthelmintic resistance. In conclusion, local knowledge, practices and preferences of farmers should be considered when designing and implementing control programs for gastrointestinal nematodes.