Within the UK the most economically important cattle roundworms are Ostertagia ostertagi and Cooperia oncophora. Infection with these gutworms causes Parasitic Gastroenteritis (PGE), the main impact of which is suboptimal production as a consequence of reduced feed intake and nutrient absorption. PGE is most common in first-grazing season stock, as they are potentially ingesting large numbers of over-wintered larvae but have not yet developed immunity.

Lungworm (Dictyocaulus viviparus), causes parasitic bronchitis commonly known as ‘husk’ or ‘hoose’.  The life cycle is similar to that of gutworms except that larvae rather than eggs are passed out in the faeces. Heavy stocking densities and wet mild summers can increase the risk of pastures being contaminated with large numbers of infective larvae.   Lungworm typically infects young cattle during their first grazing season.

Female cooperia roundworm photographed under a microscope
Female cooperia roundworm photographed under a microscope


    Cows Resources

  1. Control of roundworms in cattle (COWS Guide, September 2023)
  2. Control of lungworm in cattle (COWS Guide, September 2023)
  3. Responsible use and disposal of parasite treatments (COWS, December 2022)
  4. Integrated parasite control on cattle farms (COWS Guide, June 2020)

    External Resources

  1. It's a lung story - Mark Pass' thesis on lungworm 2022 (Mark Pass MSc Project Report. May 2022)
  2. Make lungworm control a priority this spring (Article by Mary Vickers)
  3. Additional tool for parasite control (Article by Professor Andy Forbes)