Liver fluke in cattle - a growing threat

Liver fluke, or Fasciola hepatica, is a flatworm parasite that infects the livers of cattle and sheep as well as other grazing animals such as deer. Fasciolosis is the disease caused by liver fluke infestation and has a serious financial impact on livestock production1. Farmers can lose:

Food Standards Agency (FSA) data from 2012 shows that 22% of cattle livers4 were condemned due to liver fluke infection. In a large slaughterhouse study of cattle5

  • those infected with 10 or less fluke at slaughter took on average 31 days longer to reach slaughter weight
  • those infected with more than 10 liver fluke at slaughter took on average 77 days longer to finish.

Liver fluke can increasingly be found throughout the UK, due to favourable weather conditions such as warmer temperatures and increased rainfall in autumn and winter, and due to both infected animals moving around the country and infected snails moving through flooded areas. The level of risk to animals is entirely dependent on the number of infectious cysts present on pasture when animals are grazing, which is dependent on how the weather impacts on mud snail habitats and life cycle.

Fasinex 240 for the control of liver fluke in dairy cows

Fasinex™ 240

Fasinex 240 controls all stages of liver fluke in cattle.

Combinex Cattle for worms and liver fluke control

Combinex™ Cattle

Combinex controls liver fluke and worms in cattle.

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  1. EBLEX 2013, Economic Impact of Health and Welfare Issues in Beef, Cattle and Sheep in England
  2. NADIS bulletin: liver fluke in sheep 
  3. Sykes AR, Coop, RL, Rushton B (1980) Chronic subclinical fascioliasis in sheep: effects on food intake, food utilisation and blood constituents. Research in Veterinary Science Vol 28 No 1 pp 63-70.
  4. (510,269) AHDB, 2012 Stock Briefing Note
  5. Estimation of the impact of Fasciola hepatica infection on time taken for UK beef cattle to reach slaughter weight. Stella Mazeri, Gustaf Rydevik, Ian Handel, Barend M. deC. Bronsvoort & Neil Sargison, Nature 2016