cows in field


Cattle are commonly infected with gastrointestinal nematodes, liver fluke, stomach fluke and lungworm.

1. Gastronintestinal Nematodes (Round Worms)

The most common worms found in cattle are often defined by their geographical location.

In temperate areas of Australia, there are three worms of primary importance. These are:

  • 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)
  • 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. Lungworms

  • Dictyocaulus viviparous

3. Flukes (Trematodes)

  • 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.

4. Flatworms (Cestodes)

  • Moniezia spp

5. Coccidia (Eimeria)

  • Coccidia are not worms but microscopic protozoal parasites. Our laboratory will note its presence or absence during a FEC.


Causing common outbreaks of disease
Scientific NameCommon Name
Summer-rainfall areas  
Haemonchus placei Barbers pole worm

Teladorsgaia spp./Cooperia punctata/C. Pectinata as a complex

Small brown stomach/intestinal worms
Bunostomum phlebotomum Hookworm
Oesophagostomum radiatum Nodule worm
Non-seasonal to winter rainfall areas  
Teladorsagia spp. (ostertagia ostertagi) Small brown stomach worm
Trichostrongyus axei Stomach hair worm
Cooperia oncophora Intestinal worm
Occasionally significant  
Fasciola hepatica Liver fluke
Paramphistomum spp. Stomach fluke
Calicophoron calicophorum  Rumen fluke
Strongyloides spp.  
Other minor roundworms/mixed infections  
Trichuris spp. Whipworm
Dictacaulus spp. Lungworm
Nematodirus Thin necked intestinal worm

Source: Inside Out



Cattle 6-18 months of age - burdens that may cause ill-thrift

Common NameScientific NameEggs 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: Guidelines from Regional Veterinary Laboratory, Wollongbar