By Dr Jeff Cave, District Veterinary Officer  

WHILE producers know that chemicals are available to treat internal parasites such as liver fluke, they should also consider how best to use them to get the most effective outcome.
Liver fluke is an internal parasite that lives in the bile ducts of cattle, sheep and goats and has a complex life cycle involving a snail called Lymnea tomentosa.
The snail can be identified by its characteristic cone shaped shell and the spirals of the shell which rotate in a clockwise direction.
The snail occurs in swamps, drains, billabongs and irrigated pastures.
Flukicides should be used strategically at specific stages of the year to minimise pasture contamination and kill the stage of fluke present in the stock more effectively.
It should be noted that most flukicides have restrictions or total prohibitions on their use on some animals, including dairy cows, replacement heifers (animals producing milk for human consumption), ewes and lambs.
Withholding periods and export slaughter intervals also apply.
As always, to minimise the risks of using any chemical, users should read and follow the label directions.
Good strategies for liver fluke control vary by region and even property to property.
Producers should talk to their veterinarian for specific recommendations for an effective and economical fluke control plan for their property.
For further information please contact your local veterinarian or Animal Health Officer.