Group Title: Veterinary Science mimeo series
Title: Lungworm disease of cattle
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: Lungworm disease of cattle
Alternate Title: Veterinary Science mimeo series - University of Florida ; 59-2
Physical Description: 4, 1 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Swanson, Leonard E., b. 1898
Wade, A. E.
Publisher: University of Florida, Agricultural Experiment Stations
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1959
Copyright Date: 1959
Subject: Cattle -- Diseases and pests -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Lungworms -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Leonard E. Swanson.
General Note: Caption title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094195
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 433106048

Full Text

Veterinary Science '-S"v
'4liimeo Series No. $9-2 7


BY .

LEONARD E. SWANSON, Parasitologist
A. E. WADE, Research Asst. in Parasitology
Agric. Exp. Sta., Dept. Vet. Science
Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Lungworm disease of cattle is caused oy a long, thin, white worm, tech-

nically known as Dictyocaulus viviparus. The life cycle is direct, no inter-

mediate host is required. The larvae are passed from the animal in the feces

and become infective to calves and adult animals by the fourth day. This parasitic

disease is very prevalent throughout Florida, especially where calves and older

cattle have access to muck lands, wet areas, deep shade, swamps, or drainages

from barns or corrals. In the areas mentioned above it is nearly impossible to

raise replacement dairy heifers. Beef calves from four months to yearlings suffer

frrom the ravages of this parasite. Adult cattle may also become infected. Many

dairymen have lost their entire calf crop, and beefmen have lost up to 30 percent

of their calf crop. The biggest loss, however, is not in the actual deaths buy

rather retarding the growth of animals.


Usually the owners will report that they weaned the best crop of calves

and all of a sudden the animals begin to go off feed and lose weight. The calves

will stand out from the herd. Coughing is very prevalent, especially if excited.

The bowel passages may be normal or the animal may be constipated, and many will

show diarrhea. The mouth may be held open with a pronounced abdominal type breath-

ing. Occasionally a calf will be seen with tongue protruding, ears droopy; glaasy

eye. A frothy creamy colored mucous will be noted running from the nostrils

or mouth and the infected calf continually licking its nose. When the

animal becomes too weak to eat or stand it goes down and dies, usually

without a struggle. Death is a result of suffocation, 1dck of dtxdation

of the -. ftbq, dehydration and strrv tion.


The blood is dark red. There is bilateral pleurisy (inflammation

of chest cavity), with straw colored fluids in the thoracic and abdominal

cavities. The entire carcass is emaciated, usually showing edematous

infiltration of the lymph glands, mesentery, momentum, heart and kidneys.

The trachea and bronchial tubes are filled with a yellowish-white frothy

exudate mixed with adult worms, embryonated ova and larvae. The bronchial

lymph glands are extremely large and gelatinous in appearance. There is

heavy congestion of the lung tissue with marked lobar pneumonia. The

bronchioles and trachea may be reddish in color but usually are clear.


Naturally infected calves will be free of lungworm larvae in from

60 to 180 days, depending upon the severity of infection. Adult bulls

and cows, when exposed to infected areas, will carry light loads, con-

stantly reinfecting the premises, yet they will show no symptoms of the


The larvae are recovered from the feces by means of a Baerman appara-

tus. Lungworm larvae in fecal samples varies from 1 to 1000 per gram

feces depending upon the severity of the infection. Four day old larvae

given to parasite-free calves by mouth were able to establish themselves

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in the lungs, and larvae were recovered in the feces of experimentally

infected animals in from 21 to 33 days. Embryonated ova ire found in the

bronchiole, whereas free larvae are found in the trachea, stomach and

small and large intestines. The larger numbers of larvae are found in

the caecum and rectum. The highest daily output (24 hours) of larva from

any one calf on test was 1,851,000.


The lungworms of cattle are direct infectors, the adult worms live

in the bronchioles and trachea of the animal, male and females mate, the

female lays her eggs which contain a larvae. The eggs hatch in the

trachea and/or digestive tract of the host. Those larvae or eggs which

are coughed up are swallowed, pass on out the animal with the ingesta to

the ground. Upon reaching the ground in feces and in the presence of

moisture, these larvae develop into infectious larval stages in four to

seven days. The infective larvae crawl upon blades of grass where they

are eaten by grazing animals. The larvae reach the lungs by way of the

lymph and vascular systems and reach sexual maturity within 21 to 33

days after taken into the body of the host.


All calves observed with natural infections of lungworms were also

carrying heavy burdens of stomach and intestinal parasites. A typical

parasite infection found on necropsy is as follows:

Number Location Kind

200 Stomach Haemonchus contortus Wireworms
8,600 Stomach Ostertagia patertag Threadworms
2,400 Stomach Trichostrongyius axei Tankrupt worms
10,o00 Small Intestine Strongyloides spp. Microscopic worms


Number Location Kind

53,900 Small Intestine Cooperia spp. Threadworms
100 Small Intestine Buonostomum thlebotomum Hookworms
787 Large Intestine Oesophagostomum radiatum Nodular worms
61 Large Intestine Trichuris discolor Whipworms
5,389 Bronchial tubes Dictyocaulus viviparus Lungworms
Other calves had like infections, although many were more fortunate

and carried only light infections of the stomach and intestinal parasites.


One hears many suggestions and sees many writings on the control of

lungworms in calves. Good feeds, protection from adverse weather condit-

ions, and removing animals from low, wet, shady places are recommended.

Good management practices arei

o1 Creep feed the calves during their nursing or milk feeding

period to promote growth and to prevent the shock from sudden

change of feeds.

2. Rotate pastures frequently and do not allow animals to crop

grasses too close to the earth.

3. Use heavy muck lands and deep shaded areas for fattening older

cattle intended for slaughter.

4. Place dairy calves above barns or older cattle yards and on

well drained areas.

5. Segregate age and sex groups.

6. Remove visibly sick animals from the herd.

7. Infected calves should be placed on high, dry areas, given free

access to good hay, concentrates and minerals, and if available,

citrus or sugar cane molasses. All feeding should be done from

racks or bunkers. DO NOT FEED ON GROUND. Have your calves checked
r 4 - -, '

for parasites periodically, especially for stomach and intestinal worms.

8. Treat all infected calves with the therapeutic dosages of pheno-

thiazine, and repeat the dosage in 21 days. If necessary, con-

tinue the dosing every 21 days until stomach and intestinal para-

sites are reduced and calves show improvement. This method will

eliminate most stomach and intestinal parasites, giving the calf

an opportunity to throw off the lungworm infections. If calves

are not treated and properly fed as outlined, they will die

from parasite infections.


All attempts to remove these worms from the lungs of calves have

failed. Various drugs administered directly into the lungs by inhal-

ation, hypodermically or by mouth were ineffective.

Experiments are in progress studying the means of destroying the

adult parasites in the lungs, the larvae in the feces and of producing

immunity in calves.

LES jm
200 copies

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