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Introduction Rumen fluke are parasites of ruminants and occur worldwide. They have a snail intermediate host. The adult parasites live in the rumen (stomach) and the immature larval forms live in the small intestine. Clinical disease is due to intestinal damage caused by massive numbers of larvae in the intestine. The adult worms in the rumen are not usually considered to cause disease. In recent years, the prevalence of rumen fluke in Ireland and the United Kingdom has increased. A few fatal cases have been recorded by the regional veterinary laboratory service and veterinary surgeons in practice see occasional cases of clinical disease. Many cattle have small numbers of adult rumen fluke in their stomachs and have rumen fluke eggs in their faeces. Small numbers of adult parasites cause little or no damage. It is important to distinguish between the mere presence of rumen fluke in animals that are performing well and disease associated with rumen fluke. This leaflet will give you some background information on rumen fluke. Your veterinary surgeon will help you reach a diagnosis and decide if a control programme for rumen fluke is required on your farm. Liver fluke and rumen fluke can be found on the same farm so it is important to remember that liver fluke disease is always harmful and should be given priority, whereas rumen fluke only rarely causes disease. Life Cycle Preliminary scientific investigation suggests that the principal (if not the only) rumen fluke in cattle in Ireland and U.K. is Calicophoron daubneyi which uses the mud snail Galba (Lymnaea) truncatula as its intermediate host. This snail also acts as the intermediate host for the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica .
Figure 1. Life cycle of rumen fluke Calicophoron daubneyi Both cattle and sheep are equally susceptible to infestation
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