Cattle cysticercosis: symptoms and treatment

Among the common parasitic invasions of cattle, cysticercosis (Finnosis) is often found today. The disease is quite dangerous, since parasites are able to settle in the vital organs of their hosts. Let us consider in more detail what constitutes the mentioned disease and how dangerous it is for humans.

What is this disease

Bovine cysticercosis (Bovine cattle) is a lesion of animal muscle tissue by bovine tapeworm (tapeworm or cysticercus) in the larval phase. As a result of invasion, linguistic and cardiac muscles suffer, and if there is a decrease in immunity, then brain cells, liver, lungs and adipose tissues are affected.

The disease occurs in acute and chronic course.

Pathogen and Life Cycle

The larva of a tapeworm (cystode) is a life form with the following features:

  • oval vesicle (10 mm x 6 mm) of a grayish tint, with microvilli, filled with liquid contents;
  • there is a head (up to 2 mm);
  • four powerful suction cups (0.8 mm each) with rudimentary proboscis (without hooks) that have pigment, so that they can be examined under a microscope;
  • ribbon-like body with many segments (about 1000), which become wider as they approach the end of the body;
  • the reproductive system is formed from about the 200th segment;
  • on the sides of the segments are the openings of the genitals in the wrong order;
  • the last segments (7 mm by 20 mm), ripening, are separated from the body and, together with feces, are brought out;
  • the uterus is located in the middle part of the tape and is able to grow into side processes (over 30 pcs.), dividing into lobes;
  • the uterus of a mature segment can contain many spherical, transparent oncospheres or eggs (up to 145 thousand) and a pair of filiform processes;
  • the shell of the eggs, being in the external environment, is destroyed;
  • the finished oncosphere contains a fruit with 6 hooks.

Important! The main carriers of bovine tapeworm are people infected with helminths, and livestock is only an intermediate host. Therefore, in order to prevent mutual infection, it is important to observe personal hygiene and conduct regular deworming of both people in contact with animals and the animals themselves.

The life cycle of a cestode represents the following steps:

  • intermediate host (pet);
  • the final owner (person), in the body of which (in the intestine) a sexually mature individual is able to live for many years, growing up to 10 m, not manifesting itself in anything;
  • the oncosphere that appears becomes a full-fledged larva after about six months, and sometimes earlier;
  • the most active period of life is the seventh to tenth month, during which the characteristic symptoms for this disease may appear;
  • the death of the larvae begins after ten months and stretches for a month and a half.

Symptoms and course of the disease

The initial phase of cattle infection with finnosis does not have pronounced symptoms, but there are signs that require urgent intervention by the veterinary control service:

  • sharply increased temperature;
  • lack of appetite;
  • diarrhea;
  • pain during palpation of the abomasum and mesh area;
  • dryness and pallor of mucous membranes;
  • excessive agitation or lethargy;
  • slowing or increasing heartbeat;
  • painful reaction to muscle palpation;
  • swelling;
  • itchy dermis;
  • loss of vision;
  • impaired coordination.

To parasitic diseases of cattle also include hypodermatosis. It will also be useful for you to learn how to remove worms from cattle.

The presence of the above manifestations requires confirmation of the diagnosis and certain actions to protect other animals from invasion.

After the acute stage, the course of the disease is characterized by the following manifestations:

  • after 8 days, the symptoms go into decline;
  • after 14 days, the disappearance of manifestations is noted;
  • in recovering cattle, clinical symptoms are subsequently absent;
  • sometimes a week after infection, the temperature drops sharply (from 40 to 34 ° C), and the next day the cattle die.


Cysticercosis is diagnosed by several methods:

  1. During regular examinations and palpations of the oral cavity and tongue of animals, it is possible to identify superficially located helminths.
  2. Allergic subcutaneous diagnosis. Tuberculin is injected into the neck, under the scapula or under the caudal area in an amount depending on the age of the animal (0.15 ml is enough for young individuals, 0.2 ml is needed for adults). In uninfected cattle, edema occurs in a day at the injection site, intensifying in the next couple of days. With a delayed reaction (over two days), the injection is repeated. A subsequent reaction clarifies the diagnosis.
  3. Diagnosis of serum by indirect hemagglutination reaction (RNGA). A small amount of serum (5 ml) is placed in a sterile tube and placed in a red blood cell plate. When sediment is formed, it is concluded that helminth is present in the body.
  4. Method of latex agglutination (RLA). The blood serum is warmed up, then a latex suspension is added, other preparations are added in a small amount and placed on a shuttle apparatus for mixing, after which we can conclude: if there are marks with two or four pluses, a conclusion is drawn about the presence of actively breeding larvae.

Did you know? The most ancient cestodes found as a result of archaeological excavations are traces of parasites found in the remains of sharks that lived more than 250 million years ago.

Pathological changes

To clarify the diagnosis, a posthumous veterinary examination of animals is performed, which helps to identify cysticerci in the muscles:

  • chewing muscles and heart are cut in two parallel sections;
  • incisions are made in the muscles of the neck;
  • a selective examination of organs is performed;
  • an ultraviolet lamp (OLD-41) is used to detect parasite larvae that are able to glow in this spectrum with a dark cherry hue.

A study of animal corpses helps to identify characteristic changes inherent in cysticercosis:

  • muscles, spleen, peritoneum have pinpoint microbleeding;
  • in the chronic stage, cysticercosis is expressed by a grayish tinge of muscles and severe dystrophy;
  • enlarged mesentery;
  • when cut, the lymphatic ligament has a bright color.

Is it possible to cure

The treatment of animals affected by cysticerci is complicated by the specific effects of the described parasites on the body: if cattle are prescribed potent antihistamines, this will lead to mass death of the larvae, which are in large numbers in muscle tissues.

Decomposing, the larvae will poison the body of the animal and cause severe inflammation of the tissues.

Today, an effective method of controlling tapeworm has not yet been developed, but the following preparations with praziquantel (anthelmintic agents with a wide spectrum of effects) may come to the aid of veterinarians:

  1. Mebendazole. The agent is added to the feed in an amount of 50 mg per kilogram of weight. Reception 10 days.
  2. Dronzite. The drug is prescribed strictly individually according to the results of clinical studies.

Can a person get infected from sick animals

Infection of a person from animals infected with parasites can occur in the following ways:

  1. The consumption of semi-raw meat. Usually this happens in nature when barbecue or meat with blood is cooked, that is, dishes that are not amenable to sufficient heat treatment.
  2. Inadequate washing of hands in contact with raw meat during cooking.
  3. The use of raw water from open reservoirs infected with helminth eggs.

The carrier may for a long time not be aware of the presence of parasites in the body, since the incubation period of cysticercosis can have different durations, up to several years, and manifest symptoms that depend on the location of the cystode in the human body.

Important! If a person does not wash his hands thoroughly after working on a personal plot, helminth eggs from infected soil can enter the oral cavity and cause infection with cysticercosis.

Possible symptoms of invasion in humans:

  • headaches of a constant nature;
  • convulsive conditions;
  • the appearance of blindness;
  • epileptic seizures;
  • manifestations of meningitis;
  • dementia
  • hydrocephalus;
  • speech impairment;
  • paresis;
  • dizziness;
  • violation of sensitivity;
  • changes in the psyche (hallucinations, delirium, depressive states, agitation);
  • cysticercosis of the skin, manifested by towering cavity tumor formations (usual localization is the inner surface of the shoulders, the upper part of the sternum).


The best measures in the fight against livestock finnosis are comprehensive preventive measures:

  • a ban on domestic slaughter of livestock and the sale of meat products to meat processing plants and slaughterhouses without proper veterinary control;
  • dissemination of knowledge about helminth infections among the population and livestock breeders;
  • control by the veterinary and sanitary services of the state of farms and slaughterhouses;
  • tagging slaughter cattle;
  • utilization of the carcasses of infected animals when more than three cysticerci are found in them through muscle incisions.

Health measures are also needed:

  • close cooperation of medical and veterinary services;
  • the implementation of preventive and therapeutic measures in relation to livestock breeders and the population (deworming in a hospital setting, prevention of dispersal of segments and helminth eggs);
  • creation of hygienic and sanitary conditions on livestock farms with the aim of preventing helminth infections (equipment of bathrooms, hand washing, regular measures for deworming, examination of feces of farm workers);
  • control of wastewater (disinfection and filtration) on a national scale.

Did you know? Depending on the number of helminths in the body, they are able to “pump” from their host up to half a liter of blood per day.

Thus, close cooperation between the medical and veterinary services, compliance with basic hygiene rules when working with animals and household plots, as well as thorough hand washing during the preparation and consumption of meat products, are important preventive measures in combating cysticercosis of cattle and humans.

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