Mecistocirrus 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:
- Mecistocirrus digitatus
The life cycle of Mecistocirrus spp is relatively short with a prepatent period of 4 - 6 weeks. Eggs develop slowly and the infective larvae are reached within the egg in 2 – 4 wk and may remain within the egg for several months. After ingestion, adults mature within a month. Infections with M. digitatus significantly affects a subsequent challenge infection. Stimulation of the immune system by exposure to infective larvae extends the pre-patent period, and suppression by later stages leads to higher worm burdens.
Clinical signs associated with this parasite are characterized by diarrhea. Anemia is sometimes observed concurrently.
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