Livestock

No fluking it; drench to a plan

By Country News

Producers understand there are treatments available to manage internal parasites such as liver fluke. A question worth considering is when to strategically use those chemicals.

Liver fluke is an internal parasite that lives in the bile ducts of cattle, sheep and goats and has a complex life-cycle that requires the involvement of a snail called Lymnea tomentosa.

The snail can be identified by its characteristic cone-shaped shell and the spirals of the shell which rotate in a clockwise direction.

The snail resides in swamps, drains, billabongs and irrigated pastures.

Liver fluke can be treated using flukicides, which should be used strategically at specific stages of the year to minimise pasture contamination and to most effectively kill the stage of fluke present in the stock. However, it should be noted that withholding periods apply.

The snail cannot survive frosty conditions, so consideration should be given for administering flukicides following the first frosts.

It should also be remembered that liver fluke control strategies vary by region and even property to property.

Producers should talk to their veterinarian for specific recommendations. This will enable them to put in place an effective and economical fluke control plan for their property.

For further information please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer, or in NSW your Local Land Services office.

— Dr Jeff Cave, district veterinary officer