1Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nazlu
Campus, University of Urmia, Urmia, Iran
of Laboratory Sciences, Private Sector, Tabriz, Iran
This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence and diversity of Eimeria species in sheep in Tabriz suburb. The prevalence of ovine parasitism due to Eimeria spp. was estimated in 240 sheep aged less than six months to over 12 months, in a period of one year (2003-2004). The samples were collected from pre-slaughtered sheep in Tabriz slaughterhouse and transferred to the parasitology laboratory. Afterwards, sporulation of the oocysts was performed. The overall prevalence of Eimeria infection in sheep was found to be 16.7%. Two pathogenic species of Eimeria, including E. ahsata (8%) and E. ovina (18%) and four nonpathogenic species, E. faurei (18%), E. parva (13%), E. pallida (8%) and E. intricata (35%) were identified. All of the infected sheep (40 out of 240) had mixed infections at least with three species. Intensity of the infection was significantly higher in young sheep compared with older animals (P<0.05). Gender had a significant effect on the prevalence and intensity of the infection (P<0.05). Diversity in Eimeria spp. in different age groups, potentially, might be an important factor contributing to notable losses in small ruminants in this area.