Liver Fluke in Cattle (Fasciola hepatica)

25 Sep, 2018

Liver fluke is one pest that doesn’t just cause problems for cattle; it can also harm sheep, goats, horses and many other animals. Flat, oval shaped and just 25mm in length, it makes its home in the bile duct and in cattle can cause a reduction in the production and quality of milk, lower growth rates, anaemia and ill-thrift among other symptoms. Most vulnerable to cattle fluke are young adult animals, however any age group of cattle is susceptible if they are moved into a heavily infested area.

A common symptom of liver fluke in cattle is ‘bottle jaw’. This is the name for a fluidy swelling below the jaw. This comes about because the fluke have ‘sucked protein’ from the host animal leaving the blood low in protein content which means the blood lacks the power to keep fluid within the blood and the circulatory system. Fluid is lost from the blood to the tissues and in cattle this accumulates under the jaw giving this characteristic fluidy swelling.

Life cycle of the cattle fluke

The life cycle of this creature is quite complicated and precise.

The adult fluke lays its eggs where it resides inside the liver bile ducts of the cow. The eggs are expelled from the body through the cow’s manure. They hatch and release larvae which then go on to infect a very particular type of snail. Numerous minor stages of the life cycle take place in the snail that result in the creation of an organism that forms a cyst on a blade of grass. Cattle then eat these cysts, which hatch into larvae that travel through the body to reach the liver where they damage the tissue. The larvae ultimately reach the bile duct where they grow into adults and repeat the life cycle process.


The specific treatment for liver flukedisease in cattle largely depends on the cattle’s age and how far the disease has progressed.Vetmec F injection is one of the leading treatment products on the market. It’s a non-sting solution that delivers positive results. Let Chemvet help you control internal and external parasites in your sheep and cattle


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Cattle Lice