Dictyocaulus spp

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Dictyocaulus spp infection

Dictyocaulus spp are a parasitic lungworm of cattle that cause bronchitis and pneumonia in cattle worldwide. It is one of the most important parasites in grazing cattle, and outbreaks result not only in clinical disease but also economic losses.

A number of Dictyocaulus species are known to infect cattle, including:

  • Dictyocaulus viviparus

Adult females in the bronchi lay larvated eggs that hatch either in the bronchi.

Diagnosis is based on isolation of nematode eggs in feces or ELISA detection of antigens in bovine milk[1] or serum samples[2].

Treatment is effective using various anthelmintic preparations and vaccination stategies for lungworm-naïve animals when introduced into an adult herd[3].

Single mass-treatment before the grazing season may be useful to break a series of annual lungworm outbreaks. However, it is not a secure method to prevent parasitic bronchitis for more than one year[4].


  1. Ploeger HW et al (2012) The value of a bulk-tank milk ELISA and individual serological and faecal examination for diagnosing (sub)clinical Dictyocaulus viviparus infection in dairy cows. Vet Parasitol 184(2-4):168-179
  2. Goździk K et al (2012) Optimization of in-house ELISA based on recombinant major sperm protein (rMSP) of Dictyocaulus viviparus for the detection of lungworm infection in cattle. Res Vet Sci 93(2):813-818
  3. Holzhauer M et al (2011) Lungworm outbreaks in adult dairy cows: estimating economic losses and lessons to be learned. Vet Rec 169(19):494
  4. Ploeger HW & Holzhauer (2012) Failure to eradicate the lungworm Dictyocaulus viviparus on dairy farms by a single mass-treatment before turnout. Vet Parasitol 185(2-4):335-338