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Blood characteristics, microbial and gastrointestinal parasites of street pigeons (Columba Livia) in Owerri Imo State, Nigeria

M. N. Opara, I. P. Ogbuewu, C. T. Iwuji, L. Njoku, E. K. Ihesie, I. F. Etuk


The study was conducted to determine the haematological and biochemical indices and the naturally occurring haemo and gastrointestinal microbes of 150 matured street pigeons in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. The PCV, WBC, MCV, MCH and total bilirubin values of the female pigeons were significantly (p<0.05) different from the male counterpart. All the other haematological and serum biochemical parameters measured were similar (p>0.05) between the two group. Out of 150 street pigeons examined for prevalence of parasites, 70 (46.70%) of them were infected with gastro-intestinal parasites of which 30 (42.93%) were males and 40 (57.1%) were females. Four gastro-intestinal parasites were identified with Trichomonas sp. giving the highest prevalence rate (42%), followed by Eimeria sp. (28%), and whereas Coccidia sp. and Ascaridia sp. returned the least with each having the prevalence rate of (14%). Results of haemo -parasitological examination of thin blood smears revealed haematozoa of two genera: Haemoproteus sp. which was more common gave a prevalence rate of 40 (66%) for the male and 70 (87%) for the female pigeons. Plasmodium sp. with prevalence of 20 (33%) and 10 (12%) in male and female pigeons respectively. Fecal cultures recorded high growth of bacterial organisms, of which Proteus sp. returned 50 (83%) and Enterococcus sp. returned 10 (16%). In totality, 40% of the pigeons had bacterial infections. In conclusion, the prevalence of gastrointestinal and haemoparasites in street pigeons in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. However, these parasites did not cause any visible deleterious effects in the blood parameters of the pigeons examined.

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