Ten times more liver fluke cases than 2011
THERE have been ten times as many cases of liver fluke among Britain's sheep flocks in the last three months as in the corresponding months of 2011.
And farmers are being urged to carefully monitor their stock for the infection.
Lesley Stubbings of the specialist organisation SCOPS (Sustainable Control of parasites in sheep) said fluke is causing havoc in many parts of the UK.
Recent reports from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency show the tenfold increase in the number of cases of acute fasciolosis in the last quarter of 2012 (69) compared with 2011 and a fourfold increase in the number of cases of chronic disease.
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Vets are diagnosing fasciolosis at post mortem examinations of sheep for their farming clients in a large number of cases.
SCOPS said only a spell of very cold weather will stem the tide (Fluke metacercarieae are only killed by temperatures below minus 18C for several days).
Sheep farmers must continue to monitor their flocks for signs of fluke infection and treat with an appropriate flukicide where appropriate, said Ms Stubbings.
"If sheep have suffered any liver damage they will also need good quality feed, to maintain body condition up to lambing," she added.
More information can be found on the SCOPs website www.scops.org.uk