Haemonchus placei

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.

Haemonchus placei. A - adults. B - head. C - tail.  Source: http://goo.gl/I1Tekd
Haemonchus placei. A – adults. B – head. C – tail.
Source: http://goo.gl/I1Tekd

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.

The life-cycle of parasitic nematodes that live in the cow's intestine.
The life-cycle of parasitic nematodes that live in the cow’s intestine. Taken from: http://goo.gl/dV6ra3

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.

The chemical structure of Ivermectin
The chemical structure of Ivermectin
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s