Capillaria spp are a major cause of economic losses in the livestock industry because they impair weight gain and increases mortality in cattle, especially in temperate areas.
Species recognized as pathogenic in cattle include:
- Capillaria bovis
The life cycle of Capillaria spp is relatively complex. Eggs can be ingested from the soil or from carcasses of dead animals. Infective larvae hatch in the cecum, penetrate the mucous membrane and reach the portal system where they lodge in the hepatic parenchyma. These parasites may also be found in the lung and kidney.
After 1 month, they mature to adult. Fertilized eggs are ingested by prey.
Clinical signs associated with this parasite are characterized by parasitic hepatitis, nephritis and pneumonitis. Anemia and icterus are sometimes observed concurrently, especially in young calves that can die from emaciation.
Bovine parasitic hepatitis is characterized by multiple small yellowish lesions. Histologically, the degenerative lesions show eosinophilic papillary endothelial hyperplasia of the interlobular veins and eosinophilic membranous structures in the eosinophilic granulomatous areas of inflammation. These characteristic findings have been found in 5 - 20% of milk cows in Japan and Australia.
Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs and confirmation of eggs in fecal samples.
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