Liver Fluke in Cattle

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Winter Fluke Treatment in Cattle:

Are you getting the most from your housing/winter fluke treatment?


The decision made at housing for fluke treatment depends on multiple factors
but with fluke having a significant impact on growth rate and time to finishing1 we need to ensure what we do is effective. This means using the right product, at the right time, using the correct dose and administering it in the right way. Unfortunately, no one treatment in isolation will kill all stages of fluke present without consideration of timing of dose. The aim of treating animals for fluke around housing is to remove the burden picked up from the pasture during the months before housing when the pasture levels of infectious stages of fluke are likely to be increasing. By removing this burden when housed, it will help the cattle to perform well over winter and achieve their potential growth and productivity. The timing of fluke infection varies by farm and year, but generally in late summer/ autumn, there will be increasing levels of fluke on pasture and mostly newly acquired (immature) fluke within the cattle liver. As none of the available flukicides will kill all early immature fluke in cattle, treatment AT housing in the autumn will always leave some fluke behind in the liver. There is a balance to be struck between the convenience of treating at housing and leaving some fluke behind, or holding off for the appropriate waiting period so that all the fluke present in the animal are old enough to be killed by the product. For the age of fluke killed2, appropriate waiting periods would be:

• Triclabendazole drench: 2 weeks

• Closantel or triclabendazole pour on: 6-8 weeks

• Nitroxynil: 8 weeks

• Adulticides (albendazole, clorsulon or oxyclozanide): need a 10-12 week waiting period, so would be more appropriate to use as a turn out dose to prevent contamination of pastures with fluke eggs for the following season.



Treatment at housing will minimise the impact of handling/stress, but the impact on growth rate from the ‘left over’ fluke must be taken into account. A second treatment later in the housing period, with a different active, would be necessary to ensure they are removed.

Fluke challenge is different for each farm so working with your Animal Health Advisor to get the right balance for your farm will help minimise losses associated with liver fluke.


Read more here:


1. Mazeri et Al, Nature Scientific Reports, 7: 7319, 2017

2. COWS Manual

For further information call Elanco Animal Health on +44 (0)1256 353131, write to Elanco UK AH Limited, Form 2, Bartley Way, Bartley Wood Business Park, Hook, RG27 9XA. Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. Use medicines responsibly ( © 2020 Elanco and its affiliates. Date of review: October 2020. PM-UK-20-0907.
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