Mild winter intensifies fluke challenge

The importance of removing adult liver fluke from sheep with a late spring, early summer treatment has been heightened by a mild winter, say industry experts who warn farmers against allowing fluke eggs to reach their pastures.

“Survival rates of the mud snail, an essential host in the liver fluke life cycle, are likely to be high and the population will be ready to escalate as soon as soil temperatures reach 10°C,” explains Matt Colston, Ruminant Technical Vet at Elanco Animal Health.

“Fluke eggs landing on the pasture in late spring have the highest success rate when it comes to hatching,” continues Mr Colston, “and if this coincides with a growing snail population we will get a high percentage of infected snails and a higher challenge in the autumn.

“Farmers need to be sure that no fluke have been left behind by earlier treatments and for many a late spring, early summer treatment targeted at adult fluke will be necessary to remove any fluke that do remain.”

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