How to manage liver fluke

The liver fluke life cycle

Liver fluke is a growing issue across Australia due to difficulties around diagnosis and recent issues with resistance to treatments.

That’s why veterinary parasitologist, Matt Playford, said the strategies for dealing with liver fluke have changed substantially in recent years.

“Not only is there more fluke in Australia now because there’s more trading of sheep and cattle across the country, but there’s also greater resistance to treatments,” Matt said.

“This means the practical measures producers have used to handle fluke in the past, like April and winter drenches, can’t be relied on anymore.”

Matt said recent fluke trials on a farm on NSW’s South Coast were a good example of resistance, as liver fluke eggs were present before and after treatment.

“The product used for treatment in this case was the number one product on the market, which means we could be staring down the barrel of a widespread resistance problem,” Matt said.

Matt said the most important step producers can take in the fight against fluke is to do a resistance test, which would notify them if their flukicide of choice was effective.

“A resistance test is going to tell you whether you’re wasting money treating your stock with a particular flukicide and can help us understand the products where there’s resistance so we can work to develop new solutions,” he said.

The second strategy Matt said producers should undertake against fluke was to visit Paraboss’s Wormboss website to learn more about the biology and life cycle of liver fluke.

“Once you’ve confirmed resistance, you can use this tool to learn more about the disease and some of the effective measures you can put in place relative to your own farm,” he said.

“Bear in mind that some of the strategies that might work for you, like fencing off low-lying country and removing stock from wet areas, won’t be the same strategies the next producer can use.”

MLA and NH Foods developed the video ‘NH Foods Australia – liver fluke in cattle’:

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