Few data are available on the prevalence of Eimeria spp. in yaks. An observational study was conducted to determine the prevalence of coccidial infection in yaks on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China. A total of 324 fecal samples from 4 counties was examined, and oocysts were identified to the species level on the basis of morphological features. Eimeria oocysts were found in 113 (34.9%) samples. The species detected and their prevalence values included the following: Eimeria zuernii (54.9%), E. pellita (35.4%), E. canadensis (33.6%), E. bovis (23.0%), E. cylindrica (16.8%), E. subspherica (16.8%), E. ellipsoidalis (14.1%), E. brasiliensis (13.3%), E. wyomingensis (8.0%), E. alabamensis (7.1%), E. illinoisensis (5.3%), E. auburnensis (4.4%), E. bombayansis (3.5%), and E. bukidnonensis (2.7%). Mixed infections of 2 to 7 species were found in 66.4% of the animals. There was an age-related difference in the prevalence of infection. The highest prevalence (53.3%) was observed in calves, an intermediate prevalence in yearlings (36.1%), and the lowest was in adults (15.6%). The number of oocysts per g of feces was significantly higher in calves than in adults. More Eimeria species were indentified in calves. Eimeria zuernii was the most prevalent species in calves and adults, whereas in yearling yaks E. pellita was most common. The majority of calves and yearlings showed mixed infection, but adults tended to be infected with 1 species. The prevalence and intensity of Eimeria species were found to show statistically significant differences among different regions in Qinghai Province.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5