This year has highlighted that there is no typical year for fluke. With a very dry spring in some regions followed by a wet summer, the timing of peak fluke risk this year could be different from normal and different across the country. Reports of cases of fluke have started to come in from some regions, however these are variable, highlighting the unpredictability of fluke this year.
Testing before treatment can save money
Each farm is different and monitoring the situation on an individual farm can help save money. “It is of great benefit to have a screen of your stock to predict fluke infection. It means also you are not over treating and risking the effect of resistance. There is a saving in cost of drugs required and labour input and gathering could be a day and a half with 3 men. (£372). Finding 3 men while busy at harvest would be difficult and risk the loss of unharvested crops possibly 80 acres of grain 200 tonnes at £130/t.”Anonymous farmer, Scotland.
Blood testing spring born lambs can confirm when stock become infected
- Speak to your vet to arrange the test and to help interpret the results.
- Knowledge of the farms history for liver fluke will also be useful.
- Test six to ten sentinel lambs every month. While these results are negative, there is no need to treat for fluke. If lambs start to come positive, speak to your vet about further testing with a copro-antigen test if needed. Once confirmed as infected then you should treat the rest of the sheep on that ground
- If treatment is necessary, treat with a product to target the immature stages of fluke such as triclabendazole, closantel or nitroxynil.
- If your farm has an issue with triclabendazole resistance, then avoid using this.
- Avoid turning animals back onto flukey pastures if possible, to avoid re-infection and further risk of disease.