Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Trichuris spp

Synonym(s): Trichuris globulosa, Trichuris discolour, whipworms

Contributor(s): Ash Phipps , Andrew Forbes




  • Phylum: nematoda.
  • Class: enoplea.
  • Subclass: enoplia.
  • Order: trichurida.
  • Family: trichuridae.
  • Genus: trichuris.
  • Species: T. globulosa and T. discolour.

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Clinical Effects



  • Adults inhabit the large intestine, particularly the caecum.
  • Eggs are passed in the feces.
  • L1 to L4 inhabit the glands of the caecum +/- large intestine. 


  • Prepatent period: 6 to 12 weeks.
  • Direct lifecycle.
    • Adult worms produce eggs which are passed in the feces of cattle.
    • Cattle ingest the egg containing the L1, from the pasture.
    • L1 (infective) hatch from the eggs within host.
    • The L1 travel the large intestine and caecum and penetrate then glands.
    • L1 undergo 4 moults in the glands before emerging as an adult. 
    • The anterior end of the adult worm remains embedded in the mucosae and the posterior end lies on the mucosal surface.  


  • Ingestion of egg containing L1. 

Pathological effects

  • Most infection are asymptomatic.
  • Rarely, high burdens can cause severe diphtheritic inflammation of the caecum resulting in diarrhea and anaemia. 
  • Disease often severe in animals with concurrent disease (such as BVDV Bovine viral diarrhea infections and other Nematode infections). 


Control via animal

  • Ensure animals are in good health and are provided with good nutrition. 
  • Disease commonly observed in animals with concurrent infections/ disease and in lower body condition score. 

Control via chemotherapies

  • The modern benzimidazoles (including Albendazole, Fenbendazole Fenbendazole and Oxfendazole) and Ivermectin Ivermectin are effective against Trichuris spp. The products available will vary depending on the country. 
    • Note: Some resistance to benzimidazoles has been recognized. 

Control via environment

  • Avoid overstocking pens and paddocks. 
  • Reduce fecal contamination of the environment may reduce the burden on livestock. 


  • No vaccine currently available. 

Other countermeasures

  • Alternative countermeasures outlined for other nematode worm infections may also help to control Trichuris spp infections.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
  • Beer R (1973) Morphological descriptions of the egg and larval stages of Trichuris suis Schrank, 1788. Parasitology 67 (3), pp 263-278 PubMed.
  • Frechette J L, Beauregard M, Giroux A L & Clairmont D (1973) Infection of calves by Trichuris discolor. Can Vet J 14 (10), pp 243–246 PubMed.
  • Georgi J R, Whitlock R H & Flinton J H (1972) Fatal Trichuris discolor infection in a Holstein Freisian heifer. Cornell Vet 62 pp 58–60.
  • Smith H J & Stevenson R G (1970) A clinical outbreak of Trichuris discolor infection in stabled calves. Can Vet J 11 (5) pp 102–104 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Junquera P  (2018) Trichuris spp, a parasitic whipworm of cats, dogs and livestock; cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Biology, prevention and control. [online] Available at: Last accessed 29 January 2018.
  • Kaufmann J (2013) In: Parasitic infections of domestic animals: a diagnostic manual. Birkh√§user. pp 50.  
  • Parkinson T J, Vermunt J J & Malmo J (2010) In: Diseases of cattle in Australasia: a comprehensive textbook. New Zealand Veterinary Association Foundation for Continuing Education. pp 729.
  • Anderson D E & Rings M. (2008) In: Current Veterinary Therapy: Food Animal Practice. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp 82. 
  • Radostits O M, Gay C C, Hinchcliff K W & Constable P D (2006) In: Veterinary Medicine: A textbook of the diseases of cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and goats. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp 923-924.
  • Foreyt W (2001) In: Veterinary Parasitology Reference manual. 5th Edition. Blackwell Publishing Company. pp 86-87.
  • Urquhart G, Armour A, Duncan J, Dunn A & Jennings F (1996) In: Veterinary Parasitology. 2nd Edn. Blackwell Publishing Company. pp 97-98.