01786 474481
13 Jan

Cattle Fluke

Posted by admin


Liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) is a leaf-shaped parasite which lives in the liver and bile ducts of infected cattle.  Liver fluke cost the agricultural industry millions of pounds annually with the effects of infection on growth rate and milk yield.  Therefore it is essential that an effective and sustainable parasite control is in place within your herd.

Cattle can pick them up while out at pasture, and if not treated can drastically affect their performance, and cause liver damage.

The disease they cause is called fasciolosis. Cattle typically develop chronic disease and classically show loss of weight, condition and become anaemic.  Liver fluke can cause big production and financial losses in cattle. Even if it doesn’t kill an animal, it can cause ill health, reduce intakes and hinder growth if there is undetected disease in animals.

What are common symptoms?

  • Condemnation of livers
  • Reduced liveweight gains through reduced feed conversion efficiency
  • Reduced milk yields
  • Reduced fertility
  • Anaemia
  • Diarrhoea
  • In severe (but few) cases – death

To try and eliminated Fluke you should:

Identify problem areas.          

Deal with any potential high risk areas as soon as possible.  Manage the affected areas by fencing off wet areas so no animal can get to them.  Also ensure leaky troughs and pipes, drainage or housing that are attend  early.

Treat with correct products at the correct time. 

If your cattle are treated correctly they should be fluke free throughout the winter when they are house.  Cattle cannot pick up liver fluke when they are housed.

However if they are not, it has the potential to put their growth rates well below target.

Correct treatment means using the right product, at the right time, using the correct dose rate and administering it the right way.  It is important that you use the correct amount for the weight of the cattle.   Try splitting your group into weight groups.  Never underdose your cattle for liver fluke one size does not fit all.  Equally you should not overdose as this can result in resistance to the treatment.  If you have any questions speak to your AMTRA qualified sales rep who will be happy to advise


Try to avoid resistance. 

Over-reliance on a product as a flukicide has led to drug resistance growing in liver fluke.   It is therefore essential that you have measures in place that that reduces the risk of resistance spreading.   Another effective way to reduce resistance is to split the cattle up in weight groups when treating them if there are significant weight differences

As mentioned before, try and prevent resistance by splitting up your herd into weight groups when you are treating for liver fluke if there is a large variation.

It is important also that you treat any new cattle coming on to your farm for liver fluke and roundworms.  Failure to do so could result in the existing cattle being affected.

Fluke can be complicated, with acute fluke and chronic fluke, and immature parasites and adult parasites.  Triclabendazole is the only active ingredient available that should be effective against all stages of liver fluke.

For further information and advice for the best treatment for your herd speak to your local sales representative.