Syphunculosis in cattle: signs of infection and treatment

Cattle are susceptible not only to infectious diseases in case of unfavorable conditions of keeping. Weakened unkempt animals are often attacked by parasites. Syphunculatosis in cattle is a disease caused by some types of ectoparasites, that is, insects that live on the skin of livestock.

What are sifunculatoses

We can say that this is the same as head lice in humans. In other words, it is a lice infestation of cattle. All parasites of this type belong to the suborder Anoplura, formerly called Siphunculata. Hence the surviving name of the disease. On cattle, more than one type of lice is parasitized. In order not to specify each time the species of insects, any lice is called sifunculatosis.

In total, at least 50 species of lice live in Europe. On cattle, you can find 4 types of lice and 1 louse. Since in the English-speaking tradition, the louse is called the chewing / red little louse, infection with this parasite is often also called sifunculatosis.

Vlasoid (Bovicolabovis)

It differs from lice in the head, which is wider than the chest, and in the food supply. Like other livestock parasitizing on cattle, it belongs to the order Phthiraptera. But it belongs to the suborder Mallophaga, while blood-sucking lice are members of the suborder Anoplura. Size 1-2 mm. The head is dark red, the body is pale yellow. From the head and size comes the English name of the louse "little red louse".

Habitat on the host: head, neck, back, croup. This insect feeds on wool, skin, grease secretions. Doesn't drink blood. The life cycle with incomplete transformation, lasts an average of 42 days.

This is what the lice look like in macro photography.

Bovine Burnet (Haematopinus eurysternus)

She is a "sheep louse", but in the English-speaking tradition, "short-headed cattle louse". Length 1.5 mm. The color is brown, with a shiny chitinous cover. Bloodsucking. Main habitats for cattle: head and neck.

Blue long-headed louse (Linognathus vituli)

Body length 2 mm. The color of the abdomen is dark blue. The first pair of legs is shorter than the other two. Lays eggs on the host. Eggs are dark in color and may not be visible on the coat.

The period from postponement to the release of the nymph is 2 weeks. Life cycle 2-3 weeks. The lifespan of an imago is about a month.

Common habitats:

  • head;
  • neck;
  • shoulders;
  • croup.

If sifunculatosis is severely neglected and the population has grown, this type of ectoparasite can be found everywhere on the body of cattle.

Little blue louse (Solenopotes capillatus)

A sedentary organism with a length of 1-2 mm. This is the smallest blood-sucking louse that causes sifunculatosis in cattle. The color is bluish. Habitat: muzzle, forehead, eyes, neck. The developmental cycle "from egg to egg" is 27-29 days.

Tail louse (Haematopinus quadripertusus)

The largest of the parasites that cause sifunculatosis in cattle. The size of an adult is 4-5 mm. It features a dark chest plate and legs of the same size. Common habitats: head and tail. Life expectancy is about a month. From the moment of laying the egg to hatching of the nymph 9-25 days. Average life cycle is about 2-3 weeks. It feeds on blood.

Adult female Haematopinus quadripertusus (A: dorsal and B: ventral), black stripe corresponds to 1 mm

Adult male Haematopinus quadripertusus (A: dorsal and B: ventral), black stripe corresponds to 1 mm

Ways of infection with sifunculatosis

Lice are inactive insects and can live only 7-10 days without a host. Infection usually occurs:

  • upon contact of animals in a herd of cattle;
  • when the calf comes into contact with the uterus;
  • as a result of contact of a healthy individual with infected wool.

The latter is typical during cattle moulting, when animals scratch on various objects in order to get rid of winter wool.

One of the ways of infection with cattle sifunculatosis

Signs of cattle infection with sifunculatosis

Since in the English-language literature, any flightless and non-jumping small parasite on cattle is automatically classified as lice, then any of them is the cause of sifunculatosis. Signs are also similar due to the fact that all these insects cause scabies in cattle. The diagnosis is not difficult: lice are visible to the naked eye. In advanced cases, thickened, inelastic skin can be seen. Dermatitis occurs due to bites. The coat becomes brittle, dull and tousled.

Tail lice around the eye of a cow

Danger of sifunculatosis

Lice bites themselves are not dangerous. But parasites inject saliva into the wounds, which irritates the skin and causes scabies. As a result of scratching, pathogenic microflora enters the body through the damaged skin. Lice can also be carriers of leptospirosis and brucellosis, the causative agents of which they excrete. But leptospira gets into the blood all through the same combing, since in the process of combing, the cattle rubs the feces of lice into the skin.

Because of the annoying itching caused by lice, cattle significantly reduce productivity. Not only milk yield falls, but also weight gain.

Cattle with synfuculatosis

Treatment of sifunculatosis in cattle

Methods for treating sifunculatosis depend on the number of livestock. What is suitable for a private owner is often not suitable for a farmer with a large herd of cattle.

Treatment of syphunculatosis in large flocks

Preparations for industrial cattle farms are divided into 3 types:

  • for surface treatment;
  • non-systemic drugs applied to the skin and acting only on ectoparasites;
  • injections and inhalations of systemic action, which destroy not only ecto-, but also endoparasites.

Some non-systemic drugs require a single use, others need to be used twice with an interval of 2 weeks. Once, those agents are used that work for a long time, since the eggs of the lice are well protected from external influences. If the insecticide affects the parasite only through the intestinal tract, then re-treatment will be needed to kill the nymphs that emerged from the eggs after 9-14 days.

Tail lice at macro magnification: yellow arrow - nymphs, white - adults


When treating sifunculatosis in cattle, it is not necessary to use injections of systemic drugs from November 1 to February 1. Cattle can also be infested with gadfly larvae. Systemic drugs work on them as well. But, having died in the gastrointestinal tract or in the vertebral canal, decomposing larvae can cause blood poisoning in cattle. The last time of the year, the prevention of sifunculatosis can be carried out during the autumn weaning.

Treatment of sifunculatosis in a private courtyard

With an attentive attitude to animals, the appearance of lice is a rare phenomenon. If the cow does become infected with syphunculatosis, it will be possible to do with the usual anti-flea remedies for pets. They are sold in any pet store. For the treatment of cattle, you need to choose a powder or spray. You can also buy the concentrate in ampoules and dilute it with water.

The cow is taken out of the stall and tied up in the far corner, where the cattle usually do not walk. Lice cannot fly and jump, so surviving individuals are unlikely to crawl back to the barn. The animal is treated with an anti-flea drug and left on a leash for 1-2 hours.

While dying and fleeing lice are falling from the cattle, the owner needs to completely clean the stall of litter and treat the entire room with insecticides. It is better to use drugs with a long duration of action based on pyrethroids.

After 2 weeks, the processing of the animal and the premises must be repeated.

Prevention of syphunculatosis in cattle

Cattle fall ill with sifunculatoses in case of poor conditions and weakening of the immune system. Therefore, the main preventive measures are trivial maintenance of cleanliness in the barn and regular disinfestation of the premises. The latter is carried out every 2 weeks in warm weather.

Lice are easily combed out of animal hair using comb and brushes. In other words, the cow should be cleaned daily without leaving dried manure crusts on the sides and feet. Such crusts are excellent protection for ectoparasites, allowing them to reproduce safely.

The first treatment of lice of the year is carried out before the pasture of cattle in the pasture. This is done with systemic drugs that protect against all parasitic organisms. Repeated treatments are carried out according to the instructions, depending on the duration of the active substance. The last time the treatment and prevention of sifunculatosis is done in the fall, during the weaning of calves from the queens.


Syphunculatosis in cattle is a direct consequence of unsanitary conditions in the barn. Cleaned, well-groomed cows usually do not have lice, since when trying to move to a new owner, the parasites will be combed out along with dead skin and hair particles.

Watch the video: Aug 26, 2008: Spotting and Treating Bovine Respiratory Disease (November 2021).

Video, Sitemap-Video, Sitemap-Videos