Liver Fluke Disease in Sheep and Cattle

Moredun-logo

Summary written Dr Philip Skuce
Taken from Moredun Foundation Newsheet Volume 5 No. 4

 


 

  • Liver fluke disease (fasciolosis) appears to be on the increase in the UK, disease has been reported outside traditional high risk periods and in previously fluke-free areas.
  • The fluke has a complicated life-cycle, involving a mud snail as an intermediate host. Thus its prevalence and geographical distribution are markedly affected by climatic conditions, especially temperature and rainfall, in the current and previous year.
  • The majority of disease outbreaks in sheep and cattle are seen in early/mid-winter and are due to ingestion of infective cysts shed onto pasture in late summer through to early winter.
  • Unexpected disease in livestock in early spring can result from autumn/winter infection of snails and/or over-wintering of cysts on pasture.
  • The timing of fluke treatment is important and should be aimed at preventing disease arising from summer and winter snail infections.
  • As with any anthelmintic treatment, care should be taken to dose animals accurately, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and using a product with activity against the stage of the life-cycle responsible for disease at that time.
  • Cattle can be a significant source of infection for sheep on mixed farms and should, therefore, be included in fluke control programmes on such premises.
  • It is also important to reduce the areas where the mud snails can live. This can be achieved by improved drainage where possible and, if practical, by fencing off wet grazing in autumn.
  • No single approach to fluke control is likely to succeed on its own. Consider drainage and grazing management, where possible, in combination with liver fluke forecasting and strategic flukicidal treatment of your livestock.
  • Liver fluke disease appears to be a changing picture – consult your local veterinary surgeon to plan a customized fluke control strategy tailored to the fluke situation on your specific farm.

 


 

 

The full news sheet for any of the disease summaries can be ordered from the Moredun Foundation by using the following request form. The first news sheet title requested is free*, further news sheet titles are charged at £5.00 per copy (including postage).

*offer limited to one news sheet title per postal address in any one year. After that each news sheet will be charged at the standard price of £5.00 (including postage).

 



Click here for more information about Moredun Foundation News Sheets


 

 Moredun Membership Scheme

Moredun runs a membership scheme which aims to keep farmers and their vets up to date with the latest developments in animal health research. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Moredun Foundation, please click here.

 

 

 

Share