A. Stock would need to be treated against all stages of Fluke within 14 days of being housed.
Q. What's the best veterinary product to use for cattle to control Fluke?
A. The best thing to do here is to get a recommendation from your vet for a product that is appropriate to your herd which will control early immature, immature and adult fluke.
Q. What about using combination products that control worms and parasites?
A. Caution is urged here. Some of the combination products do not control early immature fluke. Read veterinary product label carefully before using.
Q. Beside damage to livers, what other problems are due to Liver Fluke infection?
A. Depending on the level of infection, Liver Fluke may cause;
- Lack of thrive, poor appetite
- A reduced weight gain of up to 20pc in cattle and up to 30pc in sheep, a reduction in milk production (up to 8pc in both suckler and dairy cows)
- Fertility status can suffer in breeding stock
- Up to 50pc of infected livers can be condemned at meat plants
- Severe infection may cause death due to anaemia, especially in young lambs.
- Sudden death by triggering certain Clostridia diseases.
Q. How can I be certain that there is Fluke in my stock?
A. Faecal sampling, along with examination of beef health check reports from meat plants for slaughtered animals will tell you if Fluke is present or not.
Q. How will I know if a Veterinary treatment has worked?
A. Faecal samples, taken approximately eight weeks post the housing treatment will give some indication of the effectiveness of the flukicide used. Also, check the beef health reports for any cattle slaughtered. These reports will tell you if there is live fluke present and would give a good indication if your current dosing programme is working.
Q. I buy in store cattle every backend, what's the best option for controlling Fluke?
A. All bought in stock should be treated for all stages of fluke and kept separate from the rest of the stock for at least four weeks.
Q. Do I need to take any precautions before using a flukicide?
A. Before you start dosing for fluke, check the product label to see what fluke stages it kills and the flukicide withdrawal period. Most of the fluke only injections/drenches which have a wider spectrum of activity against the different fluke stages have at least a fifty day withdrawal period for meat/offal in cattle and 18 days plus in sheep.
Q. Is there any problem treating milking cows with a flukicide?
A. Only treat dairy cows when they are dried off, paying particular attention to the restricted number of products available in dairy animals and the withdrawal period for milk supply.
Anthony O'Connor, Teagasc Adviser, Galway/Clare Regional Unit