Due to the unknown quantifiable figures of the exact impact to animal health, welfare and farm profits, it seems there is a significant gap in the understanding of the rumen fluke parasite.
A three-year study carried out between Agrisearch, AHDB Beef and Lamb, AFBI and Queens University Belfast, will aim to determine the prevalence and distribution of rumen fluke in the UK, quantify the impact of rumen fluke infection on animal welfare and performance, while enabling the development of tools to aid early diagnosis.
Jason Rankin, COWS (Control of Worms Sustainably) representative and general manager at Agrisearch, explains that historically liver fluke has been the main focus for producers.
“One contributing factor for this may be the changing weather patterns we’ve seen. The warm wet summers and mild winters are known to favour an increase in the number of snails, which act as the intermediate host, and facilitate the completion of the rumen fluke life cycle.
“What remains unclear is to what extent rumen fluke infection can impair the animal in terms of causing pain, distress and the effect it has on the animal’s metabolic status and behaviour.”
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