Meningeal Worm in Goats

Meningeal worm in goats can be a serious threat. Let’s explore the research and ever evolving data around meningeal worm. This page is dynamic and will be updated as new research is uncovered.

Meningeal worm, scientifically known as Parelaphostrongylus tenuis (P. tenuis), is a parasitic nematode that affects the nervous system of various ruminant and camelid species. Understanding its epidemiology is crucial for managing the health of livestock such as goats, sheep, llamas, and alpacas.

Key Insights

  • Mortality Rates and Species Susceptibility: P. tenuis-induced mortality rates are significantly higher in llamas and alpacas compared to sheep and goats, with llamas experiencing the highest mortality rate among the studied species1.
  • Seasonal Patterns: There is a seasonal peak in P. tenuis-induced mortalities, particularly from October to December, indicating a possible seasonal influence on the parasite’s life cycle or transmission1.
  • Temporal Trends: Over a 19-year period, there has been a significant increase in P. tenuis-induced mortality rates, suggesting changes in environmental factors or host-parasite dynamics over time1.
  • Environmental Correlations: A positive correlation exists between higher summer temperatures and increased P. tenuis-induced mortality rates, while no such correlation was found with precipitation1.
  • Geographical Expansion: The presence of P. tenuis in white-tailed deer in Oklahoma has expanded the known western range of this parasite, indicating its ability to spread to new areas2.

The research indicates that meningeal worm infections can lead to significant mortality in certain livestock species, with llamas and alpacas being particularly vulnerable. Seasonal trends suggest that the risk of infection may be higher during specific times of the year. Over time, the mortality rates from P. tenuis have increased, and this may be associated with rising temperatures. Additionally, the parasite’s range is expanding, as evidenced by its presence in white-tailed deer in new geographical locations. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring environmental conditions and implementing appropriate management strategies to mitigate the impact of P. tenuis on livestock health.

Meningeal worm exposure can cause temporary mild paresis and lumbar weakness in bighorn and domestic sheep, with some showing paralysis and death, and causing generalized inflammation in the spinal cord.

Alpacas develop resistance to Parelaphostrongylus tenuis disease after a previous infection, suggesting the potential for immunoprophylaxis to prevent disease in this highly susceptible host.

Cerebrospinal nematodiasis in camelids is a rare disease, with males and llamas more likely to die, and corticosteroid treatment is contraindicated.

Fallow deer in Kentucky exhibit high exposure to meningeal worms without clinical cerebrospinal parelaphostrongylosis due to low prevalence, partial innate resistance, and acquired immunity.

Meningeal worm may temporarily slow elk population growth in Kentucky, as younger elk born in the state have higher mortality rates than older translocated elk.

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