Sustainable Liver Fluke Control – Recognise the Vulnerable Areas
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Over the last decade, liver fluke has spread nationwide due to greater movement of infected animals, inadequate quarantine treatments and changing weather patterns, so disease management must be altered to consider this.
Changing weather patterns has affected the liver fluke lifecycle, allowing the level and timings of fluke challenge to become more variable. All grazing animals are susceptible to infection, with wet areas having a higher risk due to favourable environmental conditions, which increase parasite burden. Neither young nor adult cattle develop immunity to liver fluke, so effective control is imperative.
Key Areas for Effective Liver Fluke Control:
Ensure that no cattle or sheep carry adult fluke onto the pasture in spring and early summer. Pooled samples for fluke eggs will show any groups where fluke are still present. Treat with a targeted adulticide treatment (oxyclozanide, albendazole and clorsulon in cattle) to remove any remaining fluke in the late spring or early summer.
Minimise snail habitats by maintaining drains and ditches, avoiding/repairing poached areas in gateways and around troughs.
Infectious stages of fluke (metacercaria) will only be present in areas of snail habitat. Avoiding grazing these high risk areas at high risk times of year can minimise infection risk. E.g. fencing off ditches, ponds and watercourses, and using temporary fencing to keep stock off wet areas of fields in autumn and winter.
Using the right actives in the right stock at the right time of year for the stages of fluke present in the liver.
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