Liver fluke disease in sheep and cattle


Nationally, up to 40 million sheep and 6 million cattle graze pastures where liver fluke is endemic. Graziers spend approximately $10 million a year on fluke drenches alone; lost production costs a further $50–$80 million a year (1999 estimate).

Deaths account for only a part of this loss. Other significant losses in sheep include:

  • reduced production and quality of wool
  • reduced lambing percentages
  • poor growth rate of lambs
  • increased costs for replacement stock

In cattle, losses include:

  • reduced production and quality of milk
  • lower growth rates and lower feed conversion rates in fattening cattle.

This Primefact includes information on the life cycle of the liver fluke, epidemiology, the characteristics of liver fluke disease, treatment, strategic control, using anthelmintics, intermediate host snail control, and disease control by farm management


Primefact 446 Fourth Edition

Published: Mar 2017