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Liver fluke


 Liver fluke is caused by the parasite Fasciola hepatica, a parasite that lives in the bile ducts of the cow’s liver.

This recent wet weather is ideal for fluke eggs to hatch. It is also needed for Lymnea truncatula - the water snail that fluke larvae use as a host in which they develop into the infective stage.

Clinical diseaseisn’t usually seen until autumn and is characterised by poor weight gains, reduced milk yield and poor fertility. In acute cases you may see the classic “bottle-jaw” signs, caused by the migration of immature fluke, but this is relatively rare these days.

Diagnosiscan be made by the clinical signs and history. This can then be confirmed by blood, faecal or milk samples. If you are concerned about your milking herd, a bulk milk sample can be taken to see your infection level. 



Treatmentis by using a flukicide. There are various products available – some of which only treat adult fluke and not the migrating immature parasites. The best flukicide to use this time of year is Triclabendazole (Fasinex 10% ®) as it kills all stages of the parasite lifecycle. Milk withdrawals apply in most cases and Fasinex® should be used during the dry period and not within 7 days of calving.

If fluke becomes a problem in your herd speak to one of us about setting up a dosing regime and applying preventative measures.