An Introduction to Capillariosis in chickens

What is Capillariosis?

Capillariosis is a disease often contracted by chickens reared in free-range environments. Infections are caused by the nematode parasite Capillaria, with different species often occupying distinct anatomical locations (crop, oesophagus, small intestine, cecum) within the infected host. Mild to moderate signs of infection include emaciation, diarrhoea, and listlessness; severe cases can even lead to death. Economic losses to the poultry industry can be significant, with increased production costs, together with detrimental effects on egg quality and hatchability. For more information about Capillaria see http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/capillaria-worms


Life Cycle of Capillaria

Some species of Capillaria have a direct life cycle, where no intermediate hosts are involved. Eggs are passed in faeces by infected birds and can remain active in the environment for months or years depending on the environmental conditions. Direct infection is often caused by consumption of infective eggs from areas occupied by these birds. Some species of Capillaria have an indirect life cycle, where infection is transmitted through the consumption of intermediate hosts (earthworms) infected with these parasitic worms. After ingestion by their final hosts, the eggs hatch, releasing their infective larvae. Larvae are then transported to their final destinations by penetrating the gut wall or developing within the gut lumen, depending on the species in question. After reaching adulthood, female worms lay their eggs which are passed in the faeces of birds once more.


Diagnosis of Capillariosis

Capillariosis is often diagnosed microscopically after salt flotation of faecal matter; these distinctive barrel shaped eggs can then be easily identified by experienced parasitologists. In severe clinical cases, diagnosis can be achieved at necropsy through the examination of the intestines and/or crop.

At RRL we provide a faecal testing service where we can analyse samples for Capillaria eggs. All you have to do is send us a sample and we’ll do the rest. For more information about our testing services click here.

Treatment of Capillariosis

Routine worming is important to small holders and producers of commercial flocks. However, treatment can be a challenge, with Capillaria species often having a degree of tolerance to commonly used anthelmintics – as a result, there is a real need for new products to enter the market.

Place your studies here

We currently have two strains of Capillaria obsignata in stock and are experienced at running a range of studies to suit your needs (efficacy, dose determination, dose confirmation etc). Experienced in running GCP/GLP studies, we pride ourselves on providing a high quality service. To find out how we can help you, please click here.