Representatives from Scottish Government, the veterinary profession, academic institutions and agricultural supply industry meet in Edinburgh to formulate plans to tackle the parasite.

Leading figures in Scottish farming have met to discuss the growing issue of liver fluke in sheep.

EBLEX has estimated that liver fluke costs sheep farmers £25-30 per animal.Representatives from Scottish Government, the veterinary profession, academic institutions and agricultural supply industry met on August 7 (2013) at the Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh to formulate plans to assist the industry in tackling the disease effectively to reduce ongoing losses.

The growing incidence of fluke in Scotland and the wider UK over recent years was discussed, along with testing methods that can be employed to help with diagnosis and control. The importance of providing easy to follow, clear and consistent advice was highlighted and the group decided it would work to disseminate these messages over the coming weeks and months.

One measure launched at the meeting to assist the industry in managing the parasite was the use of a new fluke surveillance farm. Held at Kinaldy Farm in Fife, experts from Scotland’s Rural Agricultural College, The University of Edinburgh, The Moredun Research Institute and Parkside Veterinary Group, with backing from the Scottish Government’s Veterinary and Advisory Services Programme and Novartis Animal Health, will be testing ways of monitoring and controlling the disease in sheep. The results from the farm will be passed on to help assist farmers, vets and SQPs in decision making and aid understanding of measures to help protect livestock from liver fluke disease.
 
Senior research scientist at Moredun and meeting chairman Philip Skuce said: “This meeting is an important first step in helping to highlight the evolving UK fluke problem and discussing the most effective ways we can help farmers manage it.

“The control of fluke varies from farm to farm and helping farmers and their advisors, both vets and SQPs, assess the risk on individual farms and develop a control plan in a practical way, is essential. It is good so many industry representatives are here, demonstrating the seriousness with which this problem is being taken.”

Veterinary manager at Novartis Animal Health Fiona Anderson said: “The appropriate management of liver fluke in both cattle and sheep is crucial.

“Liver fluke disease is a serious burden on the livestock industry, and highlights the need for us all to work together to provide education and consistent advice.”

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