Parasitological investigation in an organic dairy donkey farm

  • Caterina Gianfaldoni
  • Giulia Barlozzari
  • Simone Mancini
  • Elisabetta Di Domenico
  • Michela Maestrini
  • Stefania Perrucci Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Universit√† di Pisa
Keywords: dairy donkeys, ectoparasites, endoparasites, central Italy, prevalence, organic farm.


A parasitological survey was carried out in an organic dairy donkey farm. Individual fecal, skin and fur samples were collected from 29 donkeys (14 jennies, 2 jacks, 9 fillies and 4 foals) and examined for the search of ecto- and endoparasites. Blood samples were also collected from jennies and fillies and examined for the presence of IgG antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii. All donkeys were found infected by intestinal strongyles (100%), with a fecal egg count ranging from 50 to 2400 eggs per gram of feces. Moreover, the following endoparasite species were also identified: Oxyuris equi 37.9%, Parascaris equorum 31%, Dicrocoelium dendriticum 14.3%, Fasciola hepatica 14.3%, Anoplocefalidae cestodes (Anoplocephala perfoliata, Anoplocephala magna and Anoplocephaloides mamillana) 10.3%, and Strongyloides westeri 6.8%. A single jenny (4.3%) was found positive to T. gondii at serological analysis. The louse species Haematopinus asini was detected in 27.6% animals. Multiple parasite infections were found in the 76% of examined donkeys. This is the first parasitological investigation in an organic dairy donkey farm worldwide. Results showed that pathogenic helminths and H. asini are prevalent in the examined donkeys, suggesting the need for effective parasite control measures.

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