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Cattle and sheep farmers warned to beware of autumn fluke.

CATTLE and sheep farmers in parts of north and mid Wales are likely to face the greatest problems with fluke this autumn, according to the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS).

The liver fluke's intermediate fluke host, the mud snail, thrives in warm, wet conditions. This summer has provided the ideal environment for the liver fluke to complete its lifecycle, resulting in high numbers of the infective parasite on UK pasture.

Sheep with acute fluke disease caused by mass migration of immature flukes through the liver may simply be found dead with no prior sign of illness. All sudden deaths should be investigated to allow early intervention when an outbreak occurs. Sioned Timothy, Merial Animal Health's ruminant technical manager, said: "Farmers in high-risk areas should urgently review their farm's control measures to prevent liver fluke disease this autumn. Using appropriate control measures and anthelmintic treatments is vital to mitigate the effect of the parasite on livestock health and productivity."

Cattle farmers should make use of both pasture management techniques and anthelmintic treatments to prevent and control liver fluke disease. The most appropriate approach will depend on prevailing weather conditions, individual farm conditions, and the age and history of cattle at risk.

Grazing beef cattle and dairy youngstock in high-risk areas should be treated, ideally at housing, to eliminate the impact of fluke on growth and feed efficiency in winter.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 12, 2017
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