Effectively managing fluke infections in dairy cows is inherently difficult because of the limited number of actives available and the limited opportunities to treat cows without discarding milk.
What is the impact of liver fluke in dairy cows?
The impact of liver fluke on any animal is hugely variable depending entirely on the number of fluke ingested. However, studies have shown affected animals can suffer:
Unlike gastrointestinal worms cattle do not develop immunity to liver fluke, therefore any dairy animal grazing pastures with mud snail habitats from August onwards is potentially at risk of fluke infection. See COWS website here for more information on when infectious stages of fluke are likely to be present.
Once liver fluke are in the liver they can survive there for months and in many cases years unless an effective treatment is given. Find out more about liver fluke here
Licensed treatment options for adult dairy cows
|Active||Age of fluke killed:||Route of Administration||Milk Withdrawal Period*|
|Triclabendazole (oral)||2 weeks onwards||Oral Drench||Dry Period only, 45-50days|
|Albendazole||10 weeks onwards||Oral Drench||60 hours|
|Oxyclozanide||10 weeks onwards||Oral Drench||108 hours|
|Clorsulon||10 weeks onwards||S/C injection||Dry Period only, do not use within 60days of calving|
*guide only - individual products vary. Check SPC/datasheet for specifics
What can we treat and when?
Managing fluke takes thought and forward planning to minimise the impact of fluke on the dairy herd while ensuring compliance with milk withdrawal periods:
"My cows are in milk, what can I use?"
"My cows are dry what can I use?"
At dry off there are further options.
"I have pregnant heifers – what can I use?"
Other actives can be used in heifers but not after the second trimester of pregnancy as there is no maximum limit set for these actives in milk. as explained on the COWS website.
“What about my young stock?”
It is important to note that certain actives are NOT permitted for use in cattle of any age intended to produce milk for human consumption. These include triclabendazole in combination with moxidectin, or oxyclozanide in combination with levamisole.
Actives that could be used in young stock include some closantel or nitroxynil products; please check SPCs for details. See here for more details.
“I have sheep in for sheep keep over the winter - does this affect my fluke risk?“
It certainly could, depending on
See why the fluke risk varies here
Treating animals is only one part of an effective liver fluke control plan. The Four Point Plan is the best approach for effective liver fluke control.
Eamon Watson MRCVS, Veterinary Advisor at National Milk Laboratories comments on testing for medicine residues:
“Testing for residues isn’t about catching people out, it’s about assuring the milk supply chain and testing is a central part of this. The testing for medicine residues, including flukicides, has taken a step forward. New technology means it’s now relatively simple to screen bulk milk samples for the range of worm, fluke and other endectocide products. National Milk Laboratories have been using this testing technology for some time to help milk buyers and vets investigate bulk tank fails from antibiotic residues in milk samples and are currently validating a new test for use to detect residues from injectable, pour-on and oral parasiticide products.
Testing for flukicides isn’t new – but testing for a broad range of medicines is now much easier. It is worth highlighting that awareness around medicine residues has always been a vital part of ensuring food products are of the highest quality. This all starts with the correct selection and use of products to minimise the risk of residues in milk from treated cows.”
1. Schweizer, G., Braun, U., Deplazes, P., Torgerson, P.R., 2005. Estimating the financial losses due to bovine fasciolosis in Switzerland. Vet. Rec. 157,188–193
2. Associations between fasciolosis and milk production, and the impact of anthelmintic treatment in dairy herds Kerstin Köstenberger, Alexander Tichy, Karl Bauer, Peter Pless, and Thomas Wittek Parasitol Res. 2017; 116(7): 1981–1987.
3. Production Effects of Liver Fluke in Cattle I. the Effects of Infection on Liveweight Gain, Feed Intake and Food Conversion Efficiency in Beef Cattle Hope Cawdery, M.J.; Strickland, K.L.; Conway, A.; Crowe, P.J. Journal Title: British Veterinary Journal Publisher: W.B. Saunders Publication Date: 3/1977. Volume 133. Issue 2. Pages 145-159
Fasinex™ 240 Oral Suspension for cattle contains 24% w/v triclabendazole. Combinex™ Oral Suspension for cattle contains 7. 5% w/v levamisole hydrochloride and 12% w/v triclabendazole.
Legal category: POM-VPS
Information regarding the side effects, precautions, warnings and contra-indications can be found in product packaging and leaflets; further information can also be found in the Summary of Product Characteristics.
Elanco™, Combinex™ and Fasinex™ are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates.
Use medicines responsibly http://www.noah.co.uk/responsible Advice should be sought from the prescriber prior to use.