Liver Fluke is causing havoc in many parts of the UK, says Lesley Stubbings of SCOPS.
Recent reports from the AHVLA show a tenfold increase in the number of cases of acute fasciolosis in the last quarter of 2012 compared with 2011 and a fourfold increase in the number of cases of chronic disease*.
This data is supported by reports from veterinary practitioners, who are also diagnosing fasciolosis at post mortem examinations of sheep for their farming clients in a large number of cases.
With mild conditions still prevailing SCOPS urges sheep farmers to remain on their guard as we start 2013. Only a spell of very cold weather (Fluke metacercarieae are only killed by temperatures below minus 18 degrees centigrade for several days) will stem the tide and at the moment this is not being forecast.
Sheep farmers must continue to monitor their flocks for signs of fluke infection and treat with an appropriate flukicide’ says Ms Stubbings. ‘If sheep have suffered any liver damage they will also need good quality feed, to maintain body condition up to lambing ’ she adds.
*69 new cases of acute fluke diagnosed in October to December 2012 compared to seven for the same time period in 2011. Similar increase seen in diagnoses, for chronic fluke infection in sheep with 73 incidents in the same time period in 2012 compared to 19 in 2011
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