Parelaphostrongylus tenuis aka Meningeal worm aka brain worm is a problem for small ruminants, camelids and cervids in areas where there is a white tailed deer population. These weird worms do not have negative effects on their normal definitive hosts, white tailed deer, but when they get lost trying to complete their lifecycles in other species, they cause issues.
In this episode, I talk about what P teuis does, why it causes issues, what the issues look like, how I tend to treat clinical cases, and what can be done for prevention. Click the cover art to direct link to the episode.
I didn’t talk about this in the episode, but P tenuis is also a problem for other non-domestic species like moose. This is a good article talking about the life cycle of P tenuis in its normal host, white tail deer, and what it does in moose, another aberrant host.
I discussed what an eosinophilic pleocytosis is in the episode and how this is a confirmatory diagnostic for meningeal worm infection. This is what it looks like:
And finally, here are a couple of pictures of the actual worm in histology and post mortem exam, technically the only definitive way to diagnose the presence of meningeal worm.
The last image above is from this article describing looking for P tenuis DNA using PCR in these post mortem samples. If you’re a super nerd and into this stuff, it’s a fun read.