After-hours/Emergency Phone: 07 573 7606

07 573 7606

Te Puke Veterinary Centre Ltd

Liver Fluke

Liver Fluke in cattle causes general ill-thrift, reduced growth rates, decreased milk production and delayed onset of puberty. In sheep it is characterised by ill-thrift, loss of appetite, anaemia and in advanced cases bottle jaw.

The life cycle of Liver Fluke is unusual in that it involves a particular breed of aquatic snail. Consequently the disease is only found in wet areas that stock can graze, where the water is relatively clean, slow moving and does not dry up over the summer. Peak risk time for acquiring Liver Fluke is late Summer and Autumn  Having just had a very wet summer it is likely that Liver Fluke risk is higher than normal.

Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and confirmed by blood tests, faecal egg counts or necropsy. A good point to start in cattle is to blood test rising 1YOs and 2YOs in the late autumn/winter. For sheep a necropsy is diagnostic.

There is also a bulk milk test - this is more for screening and monitoring affected herds where there is a diagnosed problem. It is not as sensitive as blood testing

Treatment is relatively expensive so diagnosis is important. Merial Ancare have recently released a cost effective cattle combination oral drench called SWITCH Fluke 10. This contains abamectin and levamisole for control of all roundworms as well as triclabendazole for the treatment of both immature and adult stages of liver fluke. There is also Genesis Ultra Pour-on, Ivomec plus injection and Genesis Ultra Oral for sheep. The best time to treat is early winter.