Worms Cause Ostrich Deaths

UK - The Monthly Surveillance Report from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) for January 2009 reports the death of a number of ostriches, apparently from a heavy infection of Libyostrongylus worms and eggs.
calendar icon 24 March 2009
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Post mortem samples including an entire heart and an opened proventriculus were submitted to Winchester as part of an investigation into weight loss and recumbency in an 18-month-old female ostrich. Three birds had died from a group of six.

Examination of the heart showed the pericardium tightly adherent to the underlying epicardium. No coronary fat was present on the surface of the heart. Examination of the proventriculus showed evidence of a severe inflammation of the mucosa with a yellow/green coloured diphtheritic membrane present on the mucosal surface. Smears prepared from the proventricular surface showed the presence of large numbers of Libyostrongylus worms and eggs.

This worm species is a recognised pathogen in ostriches particularly young ostriches where it can cause a severe proventriculitis leading to anorexia, weight loss, weakness and recumbency.

A range of anthelmintic treatments are documented in the literature.

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