By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Tuesday, 12th August 2014



Heavy tapeworm burdens in kids may result in diarrhoea and poor condition. The debilitating impact of the tapeworm infestation may lead to secondary diseases such as enterotoxaemia (Clostridia overgrowth), leading to deaths. In rare cases, intestinal obstruction may also occur.

Tapeworms often cause concern to producers as the tapeworm segments can be visible to farmers in the faeces and anal area, whereas roundworm eggs cannot be detected without microscopy.



When is Tapeworm a problem?

The summer months, October to April, favour the tapeworm. This is when Angora kids usually vary in age between 3 months to 9 months. At this age, kids have a poorly acquired immune system. The tapeworms absorb nutrients through their skin.

Tapeworm is not considered a problem in adult goats except in cases of ‘Draaisiekte’ (Taenia multiceps).https://www.angoras.co.za/article/draaisiekte-turning-disease

Echinoccus granulosus causes hydatid disease in livestock and humans. Taenia ovis causes "sheep measles" (ovine cysticercosis). Both have life cycles involving dogs as definitive hosts and sheep and goats as intermediate hosts.

Hydatid disease can be life-threatening to humans and result from accidental ingestion of hydatid eggs from dogs.

The best way to prevent these problems is to keep dogs (domestic and wild) from eating carrion or other raw meat.


What are the clinical signs of heavy tapeworm infestations in kids?

  • Diarrhoea,
  • Weight loss, poor condition
  • Potbelly,
  • Insufficient numbers, tapeworms can obstruct the bowel and cause death.


What do adult tapeworms look like?

The adult tapeworm consists of a head (scolex). The worm attaches itself to the mucosa of the intestine; a neck; and a segmented body that contains both male gonads and female gonads (proglottids). Mature tapeworms shed segments, which are expelled with the faeces. These segments are packed with eggs.

Tapeworm segments can be seen in the faeces of the goats. They have a white, grain-like appearance. Adult worms, often up to a meter or more in length, can be expelled and passed in the environment.


The life cycle of the tapeworm

All of the important species affecting sheep, goats, and cattle require pasture mites. These mites ingest the eggs while feeding and the larval stages of the worm develop inside the mites. Hundreds of thousands can live in one square meter of soil. Sheep and goats become infected when they ingest the mites containing tapeworm larvae. Once ingested by the goat, it takes 6 to 7 weeks for the larvae to develop into adult tapeworms.


Which is the most common tapeworm in Angora goats?

Moniezia expansa is the tapeworm that commonly affects Angora goat kids. Moniezia benedeni, more common in cattle, can also be found in sheep and goats. Sheep and goats serve as intermediate hosts for several other species of tapeworms.



Diagnosis is difficult on faecal floatation as segments are often passed into the environment without being released in the intestine to pick up on faecal floats. On microscopic floatation examination, the angular eggs can be detected if they have been released from the segments in the intestine. Tapeworm is often diagnosed when the moving segments are seen crawling around the anus or seen in the faeces.


Treatment and control

It is usually advised to treat the Angora kids once before Christmas(Nov-Dec) and once after Christmas (Jan-April).

See the website for treatment options.



  • Group 8 (Isoquinolones) Praziquantels –MOST EFFECTIVE (adult and immature stages of tapeworm) Examples-Maxi-Lint, Ecotel 2.5%, Brutel, Prestin
  • Group 4 (Salicyclanalides) Examples: Ecolint, Ex-A-Lint, Lintex-L, Conifuke+Tape
  • Group 2 (Benzimidazoles) -Not very effective
  • as well as the combinations Examples Ovidose4, Avomec Matrix Lamb, Virbax First Drench

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