Ark Veterinary Centre

Look out for Lungworm!

Aug 6, 2019
Look out for Lungworm!

Lungworm is a parasitic infection of the respiratory tract ingested by cattle grazing contaminated pasture.

The overall cost of an incident of lungworm per adult dairy cow is conservatively estimated at £140. Lungworm is more commonly seen in dairy calves in their first grazing season or spring born suckled calves in autumn, although it is increasingly being reported in older cattle. Left untreated, the disease may not be noted until after cattle are housed. 

Any grazing cattle that cough when disturbed should be suspected of having lungworm. Diagnosis is based on symptoms, time of year and age of cattle affected. All wormers will kill lungworm with some (e.g. Ivomec, Dectomax, Cydectin) preventing re-infection for a number of weeks. Check the data sheet for more information. 

Outbreaks are most common on permanent pasture however it is not possible to reliably prevent lungworm by grazing management alone. This is because the lungworm larvae can escape dung pats by climbing up a fungi (Pilobolus sp.) which then catapults the larvae into the air along with its spores– this allows the larvae to be distributed over some distance! Particularly in the wind.  Calves can be vaccinated before turn out– discuss this with your vet.