Gastrointestinal parasites in moose (Alces alces); which ones and what consequences?
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Even though the moose in Norway represents such an important game species, this is one of the first studies of their gastrointestinal parasites. The moose population density in Hedmark county remains at a high level, and because of a decrease in forage availability per moose, reduced slaughter weights have been recorded in all classes during recent years. In this study I aimed to find out which species of GI parasites could be found in moose in Hedmark county, to quantify their prevalence and intensity of infection and to correlate prevalence, probability and intensity of infection with the individual`s sex, age and physical condition. I also aimed to find out what the presence of parasites told us about the general health status of the moose population. Intestinal and other samples from 49 moose were collected between 25.9.2013 and 1.11.2013 in three municipalities Stor- Elvdal, Åmot and Tynset. Analyses of faeces revealed that calves had higher prevalence of Monizia sp. and "Dorsal spine larvae" compared to adults, which could indicate that they have not yet acquired immunity against them. I also find "Strongylidae type" eggs, Strongyloides papillosus and Eimeria sp eggs in faeces. The prevalence of adult abomasal parasites was high in this population and high parasite burdens were associated with poorer body condition. Intensity of infection was also correlated with host age and gender, higher parasite burdens were found in older animals and even though the median abomasal infection intensity was similar between males and females, three animals with highest parasite burdens were females. The most common abomasal nematodes found were Ostertagia antipini and Spiculopteragia alcis. This study provides vital baseline data for future research, that should be standardized and repeated at a regulars interval and across seasons.