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2011, Vol. 6 No. 2, Article 96


Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis) Infestation in Goats

D. K. Sharma* and H. A. Tiwari


Central Institute For Research On Goats,
Makhdoom, P.O.Farah- 281122, Mathura (UP)


*Corresponding Author; e-mail address: lkofwb@yahoo.co.in



Present communication discusses Ctenocephalides infestation in a flock of 119 suckling Barbari kids... The affected kids were found restless, jumping, scratching and with ruffled hair coat. Minute haemorrhagic spots were observed in inguinal region and other body parts. The pest specimens collected and processed for identification were found to be Ctenocephalides felis felis of cat. Treatment with cypermethrine dipping was effective to relieve the condition. Pre and post treatment haemograms of affected kids, however, remained unaltered.


Ctenocephalides felis felis, cat flea, goats, kid.


Fleas are cosmopolitan in distribution affecting a wide range of wild and domestic animal species like dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, goats, ponies, horses, chicken and lizards (Fox et al. 1966 William, 1986; Yeruham et al.1996; Yeruham and Koren, 2003; Dryden, 1993). Kusiluka et al. 1998 reported fleas infesting to the extent of 84-95% in goats. Heavy infestation of calves, lambs and kids with fleas have been associated with anaemia and mortality (Dryden and Rust, 1994) and allergic dermatitis (Yeruham et al, 2004) .Fleas are host specific in nature. However, their aberrant attacks in unusual host can't be ruled out. The present paper describes the infestation of Barbari kids with cat flea Ctenocephalides felis felis.


The Barbari kids of less than two months of age, maintained at Barbari Farm Unit of Central Institute for Research on Goats, Makhdoom UP (India) made the study material. The kids were allowed to approach respective dams at morning-evening suckling only. They were also allowed a little exercise (outside) of about one hour as stroll. Each kid was provided concentrate feed @ 100gms per day with a little bit nibbling. To avoid ground infection, the bedding material comprising of dried grass, was changed after every 3 days. The herd premises were restricted for wild or domestic animals entry.
During routine operations in autumn months, the kids were reported to be restless. jumping, scratching, and licking their body. Physical examination revealed infestation of some pest of fast moving and jumping nature. The live pest specimen were treated with 10% KOH solution and kept overnight for removing unwanted tissue materials. Cleaned and processed specimens were put for washing, dehydration and staining. The stained and cleared specimens were mounted with DPX. Epidemiological survey was conducted by examining other animals at goat unit and a sheep unit situated in vicinity. Reportedly a cat was observed roaming in the goat unit. However, the menace created by rats could not be ruled out. As a control measure the infested kids were treated with cypermethrin dipping (Ektomin 0.01% Sol.) and bedding material was brunt and replaced with fresh one. Blood samples were collected for haematological study from 10 infested kids before and after treatment (1 week PT) using EDTA as anticoagulant. Blood cell analysis included Red and White cells count (total and differential leukocyte count), PCV and haemoglobin. Pre and post treatment observations were statistically analyzed using student t test.


The specimens collected and processed for identification were found to be Ctenocephalides felis felis of cat. The infestation was not of very severe in nature, however, a mean of 5-8 specimens were collected from a kid. All the kids in the flock of 119 were affected with weak kids heavily infested. Pathological lesions of skin were absent except some rashes of pinpoint size. Kids with more number of flea were later found lethargic and indifferent. Among the adult goats, none was infested with fleas. A sheep farm just close to the Barbari goat unit, was also found free from the pest. Treatment with cypermethrine dipping was effective to relieve the condition. Pre and post treatment haemogram of infested animals did not vary significantly.


Ctenocephalides felis felis is common flea affecting cat. Infestation of cattle, sheep and goats with C. felis has been reported by several workers (Dipeolu and Ayoade, 1983; Fagbemi, 1982; Connan, R.M., Lloyd, S. 1988; McCrindle, et al, 1999). During present study, sheep farm in close vicinity of the affected goat flock separated merely by wire fencing was found free from flea infestation. The finding was not in agreement with the earlier reports of Obasaju and Otesile, 1980 who observed flea infestation in both the species. Observation of flea infestation in autumn month was supported by findings of Fagbemi, 1982 who reported flea infestations throughout the year with a high prevalence in the summer and autumn month. Involvement of young kids of pre-weaning age was in conformity with reports of Fagbemi, 1982. The Adult goats in the affected farm were also observed free from flea infestation. Finding was interesting and intriguing as age is considered to be non-contributory factors in the flea infestation (Odo, 2003). However a comparatively lower infestation rate in adult cattle and horses has been reported (Yeruham et al. 1989: Yeruham, 1996). Immunological and managemental factors along with skin quality and odour can probably provide explanation to such finding. Insignificant difference in pre and post treatment haematological values was in line with the findings of Obasaju and Otesile, (1980) but contradictory to the findings of Yerham and Koren, (2003) who reported Normocytic and hypochromic anaemia in she-ass and (Obasaju and Otesile, 1980) who observed lowering of PCV in sheep and goats infested with Ctenocephalides canis. The variation in observations may be attributed to low severity of infestation in present study.
Unusual occurrence of Ctenocehalides felis felis infestation in kids supposed to be transmitted by cat or rodents indicates either the change in epidemiological behavior of the parasite or different genetic strain of Ctenocephalides felis felis showing affinity to goats. This is also important because Ctenocephalides felis has been reported as carrier of Bartonella, Ricketssia and haemoplasma species the pathogens of significance to human and animal health (Shaw et al. 2004).


Authors extend sincere thanks to Director CIRG, Makhdoom for providing necessary help for study.


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Table-1: Haemograms of Ctenocephalides felis felis infested kids in Pre and post treatment


Pre treatment Means


Post treatment Means  (1 Week PT)


RBC     (Million/l)





PCV     (%)





Hb        (g/dl)





MCV       (fb)





MCHC    (g/dl)





MCH      (pg)





Leukocytes    (x1000/l)





Neutrophils   (x1000/l)





Lymphocytes (x1000/l)





Eosinophils (Total count/l)








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