Beef HealthCheck programme update

Dr Natascha Meunier, Beef HealthCheck Programme Manager

T he Beef HealthCheck programme has a passed a milestone this summer of more than 2 million animal records to date. The programme has been running since 2016 and previous results are available to farmers online at The online tool allows farmers to see a summary graph of their liver fluke information or a fluke graph which shows monthly trends, as well as batch reports and animal reports. Farmers can also share this information with their veterinary practitioner to discuss the results. More information on accessing this online tool can be found on the Animal Health Ireland website click here . Liver fluke There has been a decrease in liver fluke seen at the factories this year to date compared to the average in previous years. Figure 1 shows the trends for heifers and steers for this year compared to the results from the previous three years. Live liver fluke seen in these younger animals has decreased from an average of 2.8% to 1.2% and damage caused by liver fluke has decreased from an average of 15% to 8%. Any damage by liver fluke seen in cows and bulls, while also lower this year, is at an average of 29%. The lowered levels of liver fluke this year may be an effect of last year’s warm, dry summer. As we enter autumn, environmental conditions will become good for multiplication of the snail which is part of the fluke life cycle and as a consequence, there will be increasing risk of infection by liver fluke on the pasture. Even though there appears to be less liver fluke reported nationally, the risk of liver fluke varies per individual farm. In wet areas where there is poor drainage, there is a high possibility of infection of cattle in late summer and autumn. Farmers should monitor the situation on their farm in consultation with their veterinary practitioner. If liver fluke is present on farm, it is usually advised to treat animals going into housing with a flukicide that targets both mature and immature liver fluke.



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