|1. Identify high
risk areas of fluke and consider if grazing these pastures in the
late summer /autumn can be avoided. Practical steps include fencing off
wet areas, attending to leaking troughs and pipes, drainage or even
consider housing early.
|2. Ask for
abattoir feedback on any liver rejections. This is a free and
invaluable option for getting an early warning that there may be a fluke
problem on a farm. Early action will minimise reduced performance due to
sub-clinical liver fluke infections.
losses in sheep if you have sheep on your farm, as this can be an
indication of fluke risk for your cattle.
|4. Treat your
cattle using the most appropriate drug, most suitable for time of year
and management of cattle involved. Be sure to understand the product
choices available in terms of the age or stage of liver fluke to be
targeted because there are distinct differences in the effect of
flukicides (see table overleaf). Consider meat and milk withdrawal
periods as well. Only use a combination product if appropriate Ė at
housing for example, when fluke, lungworm and gut worms may all need to
be controlled, but check with your vet or suitably qualified person
(SQP) and make it part of your parasite control plan.
|5. Always treat
effectively. Under-dosing is a major issue, leaving parasites alive
in the animal which will cause damage to the liver and encourage
resistance to develop. Weigh, donít guess, and be prepared to split
cattle groups if there is a wide variation in liveweight to ensure the
dose rate is accurate. Calibrate equipment regularly for all means of
administration (drench, pour-on or injectable). If the product is orally
administered ensure the drench is delivered over the back of the tongue.
Follow the prescriber and manufacturer instructions for storage and
|6. Consider if
you need to reduce pasture contamination levels in spring/summer by
using a treatment with a drug that kills adult fluke (see table
overleaf) to kill egg laying parasites. This should be based on
individual risk factors and abattoir feedback.
|7. Remember to
repeat the treatment if necessary. If you leave cattle on infected
pasture after treatment you may need to re-treat them in six to 12 weeks
depending on the product you use. None of the flukicidal products are
persistent so animals can pick up infection straight away after
to some flukicides is increasingly prevalent in sheep, so it is
important to have an effective control plan for cattle that reduces the
risk of resistance spreading. If you suspect resistance, arrange a
drench test, i.e. a Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT), with your
all incoming stock (sheep as well as cattle) from potential fluke
areas for liver fluke as well as roundworms. This will take considerable
planning but failure to do it could result in importing resistant liver
fluke from another farm as well as losses and/or reduced performance in
the animals themselves. Refer to guidelines on the COWS/SCOPS website (www.cattleparasites.org.uk
& www.scops.org.uk) and discuss with your vet/SQP.
|10. Be Prepared.
Donít wait until the losses are mounting up. Act now to work with your
vet or SQP to plan ahead in terms of management control options,
treatments and monitoring that can be put in place.