What is Liver Fluke?
A Liver Fluke (bovine faciolosis) is a parasitic nematode worm that can cause substantial liver damage within its host. If you live in an area where fluke prevalence is high, speak to your farm vet about forecasting and prevention of transmission.
Flukes are more common in wet marshy areas which can be permanent (boggy flood plain) or temporary (rutted ground). Most development of the larval stages takes place during the spring and summer months and ceases during the winter. The 'summer' infection of snail's results from the hatching of overwintering eggs or eggs passed in the spring. The metacercariae (enveloped stable fluke larvae) then appear on pasture from August to October. Cows and sheep can ingest these metacercariae and can become infected. The flukes can then migrate up the bile duct and reside within the liver, causing substantial damage.
- Condition loss
- Reduced growth
- Milk yield loss
- Milk quality loss
- Oedema (bottle jaw)
Prevention of Liver Fluke can involve:
- draining boggy ground
- avoiding summer grazing of snail-infested ground
- isolating new livestock away from boggy pasture
- flukicides (remember that treatment requires milk withdrawal for lactating animals. Guidance should be sought from a farm vet to avoid flukicide resistance)
NML Testing Services
- Bulk milk antibody ELISA (for dairy herds)
- Individual cow blood antibody ELISA
Bulk tests for Liver Fluke can be done on an ad-hoc or quarterly basis. The bulk samples can be tested on samples held in the IML fridge or by requesting a bulk milk sample kit.
To order a Liver Fluke bulk milk test please call the IML office along with your Milk Buyer ID on 042 96 75 353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To order a blood test just ask your vet to take a blood sample and submit it to the IML laboratories.
Results are available through normal notification methods. These include post, fax, email or online via the milk quality monitor on Herd Companion.