26 February 1999

Action now can cut risk of fluke in the autumn

FLUKE is likely to be an increasing concern for sheep and beef producers this year, and action is required now to reduce infection risks in autumn.

According to latest SAC, Vet Lab Agency and DANI figures, cases in cattle have risen from 26 in Sept-Dec 1997 to 61 in the same period in 1998. In sheep, chronic cases rose from seven in 1997 to 23 last year, while acute cases – where sheep died as a result of infection – rose from 10 in 1997 to 94 last season.

Producers buying in stock or living in high risk fluke areas should consult vets on appropriate treatment for cattle and sheep when they suspect performance is suffering.

According to Shrewsbury VLAs Ian Davies, fluke warnings have been mounting since last autumn and producers should have taken appropriate action. "Where flukicide has not been administered and is now needed, vets should be consulted."

Adding to concerns, latest SAC figures show a rise in cases in January, warns Novartiss Lynda Maris.

"This means the fluke life-cycle is ticking over. Producers are strongly advised to give sheep and cattle a spring dose of flukicide to cut risks in autumn." &#42