cows in field


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.

3. Cestodes (Tapeworm)

  • Moniezia spp

4. Coccidia (Eimeria)

  • Coccidia are not worms but microscopic protozoal parasites.


Causing common outbreaks of disease
Common NameScientific Name
Summer-rainfall areas  
Barbers pole worm  Haemonchus placei

Small brown stomach/intestinal worms

Teladorsgaia spp./Cooperia punctata/C. Pectinata as a complex
Hookworm Bunostomum phlebotomum
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
Occasionally significant  
Liver fluke Fasciola hepatica
Stomach fluke Paramphistomum spp.
Rumen fluke   Calicophoron calicophorum
Threadworm   Strongyloides spp.
Other minor roundworms/mixed infections  
Whipworm Trichuris spp.
Lungworm Dictacaulus spp.
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.



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: Anne Oakenful, (2008). Revised by Stephen Love, September 2013. NSW DPI Faecal Egg Counts for Worms Manual.