Wet weather causes high risk of liver fluke

Due to higher than average rainfall experienced in 2017, NADIS (National Animal Disease Information Service) have warned that West Wales is a high risk area for liver fluke this winter.

According to NADIS, West Wales is among other locations such as North, West and Central Scotland and Cornwall that are predicted to be high risk areas.

As there are localised variations of the outbreak, it is advised that farmers contact their vets for further information on the risks posed in their area to decide what tests they will need to carry out in order to investigate their own individual farms.

The effects of a liver fluke infection in farm animals can be substantial.  These effects can be particularly seen at this time of year as they include higher barren rates as a result of infection in the autumn as well as poor retention of lambs during gestation. Most farmers will be scanning this time of year and therefore poor scanning percentages should be further investigated with their vets.

It is also possible that pregnant ewes could experience lambing difficulties, reduced colostrum quality and loss of body condition.

James Ruggeri, Industry Development Executive at HCC advises on what action can be taken by farmers to tackle the issue: “Liver fluke poses a big concern for farmers. As the summer of 2017 was one of the wettest on record, this inevitably results in an influx of liver fluke during the winter months.”

“In order to combat the infection, it is vital that farmers ensure that the correct product is used.  However, farmers must be aware that there are cases of resistance to certain products and it is essential, in order to avoid getting caught out, that they seek professional advice.”

Additional information on liver fluke can be found on the following websites:

·       SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep)

COWS (Control of Worms Sustainably)