An Update On Tapeworm Of Poultry


The rearing of poultry is globally, either in backyard or commercial production system. It serves as important sources of protein such as eggs and meat, income and organic manure for high fertility. The tape worm  act as  main  threat  to  the  poultry production especially in free range- backyard  rearing systems and causes  huge economic losses. The term parasite is derived from the Greek word Para means besides/or near where sitos stand grain/or food which lives. Cestodes are an elongate, tape like and flat body without alimentary canal.  Varies in size (millimetre to metres) and his body divide into scolex, short unsegmented neck and remaining portion of body called strobila. While, strobila consists a number of segments called proglottids, separated by a transverse constriction. Although, one or two sets of reproductive organs present in each segments. In tape worm the male reproductive organs develop first. The embryonated eggs contain an oncosphere such as spherical or oval body, bilateral symmetry and armed with 3 pairs of hooks. The life cycle is completed with the involvement of various intermediate hosts i.e. oribatid mites, gastropod mollusks, psocids, beetles, ants, fleas, earthworm, lice, flies etc. Except Hymenolepis nana, all cestodes have indirect life cycle. The tape worms mostly found in the birds reared under free range system. The tapeworm parasitizes the intestinal tract and debilitates the affected birds. Clinical manifestation shows; decreased production, growth, weight loss, ruffled feather, weakness and diarrhoea etc.

Various species of tape worm found in poultry

Sno.Name of speciesSite
iAmobotaenia cuneta/ Amobotaenia sphenoidessmall intestine 
iiChoanotaenia infundibulumsmall intestine  
iiiCotugnia digonopora (double- pored tapeworm  of poultry)small intestine 
ivDavainea proglottina (drawf tapeworm)/highly pathogenic in natureduodenum
vFimbriaria fasciolarissmall intestine 
viHymenolepis cantanianasmall intestine 
viiHymenolepis cariocasmall intestine 
viiiHymenolepis exiguussmall intestine 
ixMetroliasthes lucidasmall intestine 
xRaillietina cesticillussmall intestine 
xiRaillietina echinobothridasmall intestine 
xiiRaillietina tetragona (largest species)small intestine 

Davainea  proglottina:

  • Smallest (0.5–3mm) tape worm of poultry. Generally gastropod molluscs act as intermediate host.
  • Mode of transmission is done by ingestion of molluscs conatining cysticercoids.
  • It is highly pathogenic when it occurs in large number.
  • The parasites penetrate deeply into the villi and causes haemorrhagic interitis and necrosis.
  • In case of heavy infections, death may occur due to haemorrhagic diarrhoea.
  • Chronic cases the affected birds’ shows: poor body growth, emaciation, ruffled feather and weakness.


The intestinal mucosa appears thickened and may be haemmorahgic because hold fast organ are heavily armed.

Raillietina species (Broad headed tape worm):

  • Rostellum is armed with 2 rows of hooks and suckers armed with several circle of hooks.
  • Mode of transmission is done by ingestion of intermediate host containing cysticercoid.
  • Among Raillietina species, Raillietina tetragona  is the largest tape worms found in birds.
  • While, R. echinobothrida is most pathogenic because the parasite develops various nodules at the site of attachment in intestine.
  • Both species causes decreased production and weight loss.
  • Affected birds’ shows; emaciation, stunted growth, egg production decrease/or stop in laying birds. 


  • Conspicuous intestinal nodule found in birds with charcterstic hyperplastic enteritis which is associated with formation of granuloma.
  • The intestinal nodules often result in degenration and necrosis of intestinal villi accompanied by anaemia.

Hymenolepis species (Thread tape worm):

  • It is narrow and thread like in appearance and having numerous proglottids. Mode of transmission is done by ingestion of intermediate host containing cysticercoid.

Clinical signs:

  • The sign shows retarded growth.


  • Finding eggs in faecal examination
  • Recovery of adult parasite on post mortem.
  • Proglottids recently shed in the faeces are examined under microscope.

Treatment: The following anthelmintic should be given against tape worm.

Butynorate, Bunamidine hydrochloride, Albendazole, Febendazole, Febantel  and  Mebendazole, Praziquantel etc.

Prevention and control:

  • Preferably sandy soil may be used.
  • The soil may be treated with metaldehyde bait to destroy sluge.
  • Preventing the birds from eating the intermediate host is to be considerd as first step of tape worm control.
  • Cleaning of pen and feed rooms regularly to avoid development of any organism.
  • By use of insecticide control the intermediate host.
  • House should be clean regularly with proper removal & disposal of droppings.
  • Providing dry floor to the birds.
  • Regularly deworming practices should be done.
  • Treatment of infected birds properly.   
  • Provide clean and ample quantity of drinking water.
  • Sanitation requires cleaning of houses indicates that the flock should be checked properly for the presence of parasites.
  • Close observation of birds are always required because of the removal of suspected birds from healthy flock.
  • The chance of contact between healthy and infected should be minimize.
  • To educate peoples about public health awareness.
  • Overcrowding should be avoided and also birds should be separated age wise.
  • Control of intermediate host, possibly use of alternate rages of chemical.
  • Provide better management, because poor management is responsible for high incidence of tape worm infection.
  • Sick birds should be separated from the healthy flock.
  • To avoid any growth of bacterial or fungal, litter should be turned frequently/ changed.
  • Isolation and segregation policy should be adopted before introduction of new bird in flock.         

Alok Kumar Singh#, Rinesh Kumar1, Pradeep Kumar2, Shailendra Singh3 and Swatantra Singh4

1 Department of Veterinary Parasitology, College of Veterinary Science & A.H.,Kuthuliya, Rewa
2 Department of Veterinary Parasitology, DUVASU, Mathura
3 Department of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Science & A.H.,Kuthuliya, Rewa
4 Department of Veterinary Pharmacology & Toxicology, COVSc & A.H.,Kuthuliya, Rewa
#Corresponding author: