Haemonchus placei is a species of parasitic nematode that infects cattle.
What is a nematode?
Nematodes, also called roundworms, are worm-shaped animals. They are not the same as earthworms, which are segmented. Nematodes are non-segmented. There are 28,000 described species of nematode, most of them less than 1 cm in length. Many species are free-living and can be found in various environments: moss, rotting fruit, soil, the oceans. There are also 16,000 parasitic species. They can infect most mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, lizards and insects. Some species can infect plants. For more information check out wikipedia.
What is Haemonchus placei?
Haemonchus placei is also called the barber’s pole worm. It is an important parasite of cattle. The immature worms, called larvae, live in the pastures and climb to the top of grass, where they are eaten by a grazing cow. Once in the cow’s intestines, they mature to adults. As adults they cling to the intestinal lining of the cow and feed on the cow’s blood. The adults mate and the females produce thousands of eggs every day. These eggs leave the cow in the poo. Once out of the cow, the eggs hatch producing larvae and the cycle continues.
What diseases does Haemonchus placei cause?
In winter and spring, calves can become infected with high numbers of adult worms. Cows calving for first time are also prone due to the stress of carrying an unborn calf. Pathology is characterised by severe anaemia, leading to sudden weight loss and potentially death
What is the treatment for Haemonchus placei?
A drug called Ivermectin is usually highly effective. It infers with the muscle function and nervous system of the worm – killing it.