Survey of gastrointestinal helminths of feral hogs from Texas.
Approximately half the nation's feral hog population resides in Texas, creating a health risk for domesticated livestock and damaging ecosystems. However, biologists know little about the distribution of their intestinal helminths. We collected intestines from wild hogs slaughtered at a private livestock processing facility in South Texas that accepts hogs from over 20 holding facilities across the state. We found a 26% infection prevalence that was not related to host gender or weight. However, female hogs tended to harbor a greater parasite prevalence and diversity than males. We collected five species of nematodes: 153 Oesophagostomum dendatum, 150 Oesophagostomum quadrispinulatum, 64 Globocephalus urosubulatus, 6 Ascaris suum, and 1 Metastrongylus. We collected one species of acanthocephalan: 64 Macracanthorhynchus hirudinaceus. This is the first wide-scale geographic survey of intestinal parasites of feral hogs in Texas and the first published record of O. quadrispinulatum and M. hirudenaceus from feral hogs in Texas. Thus, our findings set the stage for further collaborative studies on infection patterns as they relate to feral hog control and livestock risk management.