Cooperia spp

From Cow
Cooperia spp adult worm

Cooperia spp are a common haematophagous parasitic nematode of cattle worldwide.

Cooperia spp are a major cause of economic losses in the livestock industry because they impair weight gain and increases mortality in cattle, especially in tropical and subtropical areas.

Species recognised as pathogenic in cattle include:

  • Cooperia punctata
  • Cooperia oncophora
  • Cooperia pectinata
  • Cooperia mcmasteri[1]

The life cycle of Cooperia spp is relatively short with a prepatent period of 4 - 6 weeks. Eggs are passed in the feces and become infective third stage larvae in a few weeks but may be longer in cold weather. Dormancy occurs over cold winters. Infective larvae can survive on pastures for up to one year, before being ingested during grazing by cattle to complete the cycle[2].

Clinical signs with this parasite are usually related to chronic gastroenteritis, protein-losing enteropathy. In heavy infections with C. punctata and C. pectinata, profuse diarrhea, anorexia and weight loss are observed. Anemia is not a common finding with this parasite. Cooperia oncophora produces a milder disease but can be responsible for weight loss and poor productivity.

A differential diagnosis would include Trichostrongylus spp, Strongyloides papillosus, and immature Nematodirus spp.

Treatment is effective with most oral and topical anthelmintics. Resistance to benzimidazoles and avermectins are commonly reported[3].


  1. Fiel C et al (2011) Comparative efficacy of trichlorphon and trichlorphon/ivermectin combination treatment against anthelmintic-resistant cattle nematodes in Argentina. Parasitol Res 109(1):S105-S112
  2. Fiel CA et al (2012) Observations on the free-living stages of cattle gastrointestinal nematodes. Vet Parasitol 187(1-2):217-226
  3. Canul-Ku HL et al (2012) Prevalence of cattle herds with ivermectin resistant nematodes in the hot sub-humid tropics of Mexico. Vet Parasitol 183(3-4):292-298