Capillariasis - Hairworm Infection

calendar icon 22 March 2019
clock icon 2 minute read


Nematode parasitic worms of poultry, game birds and pigeons of Capillaria species. C. obsignata in the small intestine, C. contorta in the crop and oesophagus.

The worms are 7-18 mm long, about 0.05 mm wide and hair-like in appearance. Morbidity and mortality are usually low. Infection is by the oral route. Worm eggs take about 20 days to embryonate with an L1 larvae, prepatent period about 21-25 days according to species.

Some species have earthworms as intermediate hosts; some are transmitted direct from bird to bird. Worm eggs in the environment are resistant.


  • Diarrhoea.
  • Wasting
  • Poor growth.
  • Dejection.

Post-mortem lesions

  • Enteritis.
  • Hairworms in mucosa of crop, small intestine or caecum.


This may be by a combination of macroscopic examination, seiving intestinal contents, or characteristic worm eggs in faeces in patent infections. Differentiate from other causes of enteritis.


Coumphos has been licensed in some markets. Fenbendazole has been shown to have high efficacy - other approved benzimidazoles can be expected also to have activity. Levamisole.


Separation of birds from possible transport and intermediate hosts, effective cleaning of houses.

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