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Liver fluke warning issued across NI
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Liver fluke warning issued across NI

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The risk of liver fluke infection in cattle and sheep this autumn and winter is high across all areas of Northern Ireland, scientists at the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) have said.
The risk of liver fluke infection in cattle and sheep this autumn and winter is high across all areas of Northern Ireland, scientists at the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) have said.

Both July and September recorded rainfall that was 60% above average, with 33% above average in August. Damp ground conditions have been ideal for snails, the intermediate host of fluke. Average temperatures of 13.2°C from July to September also suit snail breeding and the hatching of fluke eggs.

Farmers have been urged to review theirfluke control measures, either by moving stock off wet land or by strategic use of anthelmintics. With infection is still taking place in autumn, a product effective against immature and mature fluke is needed. For out-wintered sheep this should be used at least once in the autumn and again in January.

Treatment of adult (chronic) infections in cattle and sheep during the winter or early spring will reduce pasture contamination. Resistance can be an issue on some farms, particularly with triclabendazole-based products.

Fluke control plans are farm specific and advice should be obtained from a veterinary surgeon. AFBI also provide a dung and blood sampling service for evidence of fluke infection.

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