Fluke guide offers advice on parasite control

A free liverfluke guide, containing information about the control of the parasite is now available from Moredun Research Institute.

Author of the guide, Philip Skuce is concerned about the increasing number of outbreaks of liver fluke throughout the UK and the welfare and economic implications it brings.

“Over the past five years there has been a significant increase in acute and chronic liver fluke in sheep and cattle throughout the UK.

“This may be due to animal movements and changing farm management practices, but recent changes in climate, with wetter summers and milder winters, have favoured the survival of the parasite and its intermediate host, the mud snail.”

A recent abattoir survey by Quality Meat Scotland found 45% of sheep and cattle livers are condemned at slaughter due to liver fluke. And fluke can decrease the daily live weight gain in sheep by up to 30% with infected cattle taking an extra 80 days to reach market weight.

Both the November and December 2009 parasite reports from The National Disease Information Service, NADIS, show liver fluke disease to be a serious threat over large areas of the UK, with deaths due to acute disease continuing into the winter and ill thrift and poor production due to chronic disease in the winter/spring and later.

“There is no simple solution or overall blue-print for fluke control – it is essential farmers work with their vet to develop a specific, targeted fluke control strategy for their farms,” says Dr Skuce.

For a free copy of the 12 page newssheet on controlling liver fluke in sheep and cattle, contact Maggie Bennett at Moredun on 0131 445 5111.