LAST winter may have seen a relatively low incidence of fluke across the UK, but whilst the UK may be on lockdown due to COVID-19, livestock farmers in Cumbria are warned that liver fluke is carrying on as normal. Despite the relatively mild winter experienced across the UK, average temperatures have generally remained below 10 degrees Celsius from December 2019 to March 2020, so the development of fluke on pasture will have slowed or even stopped during this period.

Followed by a warm April, also one of the driest on record, snail activity and subsequent fluke development on pastures will also have been low this spring. However, farmers are urged to not become complacent about the risk of fluke later in the season.

“It is wise to test adult stock now to determine the need for any treatment to limit pasture contamination for the rest of the year.” says Moyna Richey of APHA. Across the APHA network this winter and early spring we saw a small number of cases where chronic fluke caused issues in pregnant ewes. In addition, we detected fluke eggs in faecal samples from sheep on farms in Wales and the South West of England. So if you haven’t treated this spring, now is the time to talk to your vet,” she added.