This week a farm in Ayrshire had their first cases of acute liver fluke diagnosed for this season. They experienced three deaths from a batch of 140 Texel ewes that until now were in excellent condition.
Liver fluke disease, or Fascioliasis, is caused by the trematode parasite Fasciae Hepatica. Disease can result from the migration of large numbers of immature flukes through the liver, or from the presence of adult flukes in the bile ducts, or both. Liver fluke can infect all grazing animals, as well as humans, but mainly affects sheep and cattle. It is most pathogenic in sheep.
The carcass of one of the Texel ewes was submitted for post-mortem examination where a large volume of un-clotted blood had been present in the abdomen. A large blood clot was found next to the liver where evidence of immature fluke damage was found. Although these signs are undetectable without post mortem, we would advise all customers to be extra vigilant for signs of fluke especially due to the wet weather that we have experienced this year. Don’t let the short recent dry spell fool you, sudden deaths of animals should always be investigated, signs of fluke being present in living animals could be seen as lethargy, loss of appetite and a reluctance to move.
At McCaskie, we have a long and proud history of being able to discuss and advise our customers on control and treatment where fluke has been diagnosed by a vet. Our Amtra qualified staff will be more than happy to discuss any queries or questions you may on fluke or other parasites. For more information please contact one of our experienced agriculture specialists at 01786 474 481 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.