Fluke risk high in northern and western Scotland

Scottish farmers in the northern and western regions are at high risk of fluke this season, according to National Animal Disease Information Service.

The NADIS October 2013 Parasite Forecast says while the risk of liver fluke disease may be lower in other parts of the country this year than last, it does warn that because of last year’s very high and widespread incidence of liver fluke disease, those areas that do remain wet enough to support fluke development may present an unexpectedly high risk.

Norbrook’s UK veterinary advisor Barry McInerney says a comprehensive dosing regimen at housing is critical to remove “active” and “dormant” worm burdens as well as treat liver fluke infections.

Cattle of all ages can become infected with liver fluke, and even modest fluke infections can result in significant performance losses.

“Liver fluke infections in beef cattle can result in reduced weight gains of between 0.5kg and 1.6kg a week, and studies have shown that in British Blue double muscled growing and fattening cattle this can be as high as 2.15kg a week”, says Dr McInerney.

Studies have also shown the active ingredient closantel to be effective against fluke which are resistant to triclabendazole. Farmers are being advised to think carefully about which wormer to use since it is the same species of fluke that affects both cattle and sheep, and routine use of triclabendazole in cattle is likely to increase the pressure of resistance build-up in fluke, thus negating its efficacy in sheep where it is most needed.

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