Fluke in Sheep

October 2012

As you will be aware the risk of acute and chronic Liver Fluke disease is very high this year. 

The warm wet weather during the summer ideal for the mud snail to thrive and allow the liver fluke life-cycle to turn.  Levels of infective larvae are very high on pastures, especially those fields with muddy areas (around ditches, water troughs and boggy areas).  Sheep and cattle are therefore highly likely to become infected. 

Acute liver fluke disease does kill sheep.  If you have animals dropping dead it is essential that the cause is investigated. 

At this time of year it is best to treat animals, sheep especially, with a product effective against the immature stages of fluke.  Triclabendazole (e.g. Fasinex) is recommended.  There is increased resistance to Triclabendazole; to find out if you have resistance on your farm we recommend that faecal samples are brought into the Practice 3 weeks after treatment with Triclabendazole. 

Other Flukicidal products kill different stages of the life cycle and to ensure that you effectively treat Fluke you may have to wait a period of time after housing (or extremely cold weather) or repeat treatments.  When deciding on a treatment there is more to think about than just the cost and ease of use. 

There is more information about which products to use here

If you wish to discuss Fluke control on your farm please contact us and we will be happy to advise. 


November 2009

The VLA in Carmarthen and Aberystwyth have diagnosed acute liver fluke in several flocks this Autumn where it has caused significant numbers of sheep deaths.  Liver fluke is a parasite that develops into an infective form within a small snail which lives in wet pastureland.  Sheep ingest the infective Metacercariae and become infected with fluke.  The immature fluke migrate to the liver where they develop into adults and in doing so cause liver damage. 

Cases of liver fluke are particularly acute (sudden in onset) and severe this year because there is heavy pasture contamination with infected snails due to the recent mild weather (the snails thrive in warm and wet conditions).  The risk of infection is likely to continue for the next three months, especially if the weather remains mild.  With these points in mind, we advise treating sheep for fluke again this Autumn with a flukicide that kills immature fluke – please phone or call in for advice.

December 2008

Liver fluke disease remains a serious threat, with deaths due to acute disease, and ill thrift and poor production due to chronic disease.  Conditions through the summer and autumn have remained very good for fluke and snail development.  It is expected that infected pastures will remain a risk until the end of December, allowing acute fluke infections to continue into next year. 

We advise treating stock now.  Housed cattle, which have been in for at least 4 weeks can be treated with an Injectable such as “Closamectin” (Fluke and wormer).  Outwintered cattle should also be treated, preferably with a product which is affective against immature fluke e.g. “Tribex” or “Triclafas”.  Treatment may need to be repeated 4 to 6 weeks later.   Sheep should be treated with a product affective against immature fluke as well e.g. “Tribex” or “Triclafas”. 

If you would like to discuss this further as part of your on going Animal Health Plan please contact the Office. 

October 2008

As you will be well aware this year has been very warm and wet so far and thus the risk of Liver Fluke disease is high.  Fluke burdens can significantly reduce growth rates of both lambs and calves but can also affect fertility and milk yields of adults. 

Sheep are also at high risk and should be treated with a product which will kill both immature and adult fluke e.g. triclabendazole (“Fasinex”).  It is likely that this will need repeating in the new year as they will continue to be infected by Fluke. 


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