Cattle are commonly infected with nematodes, trematodes and cestodes.
1. Gastronintestinal Nematodes (Round Worms)
The most important worms found in cattle are often defined by their geographical location.
In temperate areas of Australia, there are three worms of primary importance:
- Small brown stomach worm (Ostertagia ostertagi)
- Stomach hair worm (Trichostrongylus axei)
- Intestinal worm (Cooperia oncophora)
In warmer areas of northern Australia, the worms of most importance are:
- Barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus placei)
- Nodule worm (Oesophagostomum radiatum)
- Intestinal worm (Cooperia punctata and Cooperia pectinata).
Other Nematode worms found in cattle can be found in Table 1.1. These are species that are occasionally significant, that more often occur in mixed infections.
2. Trematodes (Flukes)
- Liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) is an important parasite of cattle in certain areas where conditions are suitable for the intermediate host, an aquatic snail
- Stomach fluke (such as Paramphistomum spp or Calicopheron spp) occasionally cause disease, mainly in coastal areas.
- Moniezia spp
4. Coccidia (Eimeria)
- Coccidia are not worms but microscopic protozoal parasites.
COMMON CATTLE WORMS (Table 1.1)
|Causing common outbreaks of disease|
|Common Name||Scientific Name|
|Barbers pole worm||Haemonchus placei|
Small brown stomach/intestinal worms
|Teladorsgaia spp./Cooperia punctata/C. Pectinata as a complex|
|Nodule worm||Oesophagostomum radiatum|
|Non-seasonal to winter rainfall areas|
|Small brown stomach worm||Teladorsagia spp. (ostertagia ostertagi)|
|Stomach hair worm||Trichostrongyus axei|
|Intestinal worm||Cooperia oncophora|
|Liver fluke||Fasciola hepatica|
|Stomach fluke||Paramphistomum spp.|
|Rumen fluke||Calicophoron calicophorum|
|Other minor roundworms/mixed infections|
|Thin necked intestinal worm||Nematodirus|
Source: Pomroy, W., Beveridge, I., Constantinoiu, C., Emery, D., and Woodgate, R. (2015) Cattle. In: Beveridge, Ian, and Emery, David, (eds.) Australasian Animal Parasites: Inside & Out. Australian Society for Parasitology, pp. 654-762.
GUIDE TO WORM EGG COUNTS IN CATTLE (Table 1.2):
Cattle 6-18 months of age - burdens that may cause ill-thrift
|Common Name||Scientific Name||Eggs per gram (epg)|
|Barbers Pole Worm||Haemonchus spp.||200|
|Black Scour Worm||Trichostrongylus spp.||50|
|Brown Stomach Worm||Ostertagia spp.||150|
|Nodule Worm||Oesophagostomum spp.||100|
|Intestinal Worm||Cooperia spp.||500|
|Liver Fluke||Fasciola spp.||5|
|Stomach Fluke||Paramphistomum spp.||#|
# Clinical disease is usually caused by large numbers of migrating immature stomach fluke, and egg counts may be low or zero.
Cattle over 18 months
In older cattle, eggs per gram (epg) output of all species will be lower. When there are clinical signs, strongyle worm egg counts less than 100 and any fluke egg count may be significant. Adult cattle usually have protective immunity and often do not require routine drenching for round worms.
Source: Anne Oakenful, (2008). Revised by Stephen Love, September 2013. NSW DPI Faecal Egg Counts for Worms Manual.