Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content
Share This

Endoparasites - Trichostrongylus

Trichostrongylus axei: Stomach hair worm

General Description: The adult worm is tiny (0.5 cm.) and hair-like.

Life Cycle: The direct life cycle of Trichostrongylus is typical of nematodes, as described in the overview. Larvae develop to infectivity on pasture in 4 to 6 days with optimal humidity and warmth.

Location: The adult occurs in the lumen of stomach glands and in the small intestine.

Geographical Distribution: Widespread in many countries.

Significance: The stomach hairworm is important primarily in contributing to burdens of mixed worm species.

Effect on Host: Trichostrongylus is usually part of a mixed infection, so its results are additive. The hair worm irritates and erodes the finger-like projections, or villi, of the gut, damaging the capillaries and lymph vessels within the villi. Blood is lost into the gut. Characteristic dark, foul-smelling diarrhoea results from the diminished absorptive capacity of the damaged intestine. Blood loss causes anaemia, oedema, and rapid loss of condition.

Diagnostic Information: The small, strongyle-type egg is not identifiable by species. Faecal cultures can be made and larvae identified.

Control: Regular treatments with anthelmintics are necessary. In particular, since foals are very susceptible, brood mares should be treated and moved to clean pastures. Overcrowding must be avoided. Removal of faeces, ploughing to break up dense ground cover, and frequent stool checks will aid in strongyle control. Trichostrongylus axei may overwinter in pastures, owing to its high resistance to cold. Grazing management is important, as T. axei is primarily a parasite of cattle and sheep.

Trichostrongylus– egg   Adult T.axei



Back to Horse Disease Information