Recommendations to Control Cysticercus tenuicollis Infections in Goats

Pashu Sandesh, 05 Jan 2024

U. Naseema1, C. Theophilus Anand Kumar2, K.K. Ponnu swamy3 and T.V. Tamilam4

1Assistant Professor, Dept. of Veterinary Pathology, 2 Professor and Head, Dept. of Veterinary Pathology, 3 Professor and Head, Veterinary Clinical Complex, 4 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Veterinary Parasitology, 

Veterinary College and Research Institute, Salem,

Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Tamil NaduMany parasitic diseases are prevalent in India, which are responsible for the low productivity in goats; especially Cysticercus tenuicollis infections lead to significant economic loss to the marginal farmers due to the carcass or organ condemnation. Cysts of C. tenuicollis (Smooth inner surface and contain only a single invaginated scolex) are responsible for many infections in animals. C. tenuicollis is the metacestode of the Taenia hydatigena (tapeworm).

The life cycle of Taenia hydatigena in goats

  • Matured cysticercus:  It is 6 cm in length, having a single invaginated scolex, attached to a fluid-containing bladder by a long-unsegmented neck. Found attached with the omentum, mesentery, serosal surface of the intestinal wall and other organs in the IH  
  • Pre patent period is 51 days and the dog remains infected for one year or more.

Prevalence of cysticercosis in Salem, Tamil Nadu

From January 2021 to December 2023, 30 goats aged 1-2 years were brought for postmortem examination to the ad-hoc Veterinary Clinical Complex (which was functioning at the Veterinary Dispensary, Aragalur, Salem, Tamil Nadu) and Department of Veterinary Pathology, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Salem, Tamil Nadu. A total of 30 adult goats, aged 1-2 years were examined for cysts of Cysticercus tenuicollis infections in the visceral organs by postmortem examination. 

In these 30 goat carcasses, seven (23.33%) cases revealed the presence of cysts of Cysticercus tenuicollis infections. Cysts were seen in liver (42.86%) in 3 cases, 2 cases in peritoneum (28.57%) and 2 cases in omentum (28.57%).


Effects of Cysticercus tenuicollis Infections

  • Migration of cysticerci through the liver resulted in greyish-white tortuous tracts. 
  • Heavy infestation in goats caused liver damage, haemorrhages and peritonitis.
  • In extremely heavy infection, it causes impaired function of the liver.
  • Degenerated cysts are replaced by caseous materials, which further damage the liver parenchyma, resulting in acute/fatal hepatitis leading to the condition known as “Hepatitis cysticercosis”.

Recommendations to control Cysticercus tenuicollis infections

Generally, cysticercosis causes loss of appetite, weight loss, and reduction of meat and milk production and the cyst of C. tenuicollis invades most of the visceral organs (i.e. Omentum, mesentery, and liver). This results in condemnation of the organ, which leads to severe economic

loss to the farmers. The high infection rate in goats, which commonly occurs in extensive rearing systems, probably results from the longer exposure to the environment in which infected dogs are present. Therefore, appropriate control measures were required to reduce the prevalence of the Cysticercus tenuicollis infections in goats.

  • The best way to reduce cysticercosis infections is by deworming the farm dogs which is an environmental contamination of Taenia hydatigena.
  • Feeding of cysticercosis infected offal/organs to the dogs should be stopped.
  • Entry of dogs/stray dogs into the farm/animal’s place should be prevented by proper fencing and locking the gates. This will also prevent the infected dogs from defecating on the pasture land and reduce the incidence of cysticercosis.
  • Appropriate disposal of infected organs/carcasses will end the continuation of the  life cycle between the definitive and intermediate host.
  • The sale of cysticercosis-infected offal/organs of goats should be avoided.
  • Control of infections by proper diagnosis and applications of chemotherapy with suitable anthelmintics at appropriate times should be implemented.
  • Proper goat management practices and deworming schedules should be implemented.
  • Awareness programs should be done for the butchers, abattoir workers, meat sellers, meat handlers and dog owners on the importance of cysticercosis in animal health.