Lamb liver fluke antibody test results-Nov 2018

Liver fluke- Using abattoir blood samples from slaughtered lambs to detect the timing and spread of fluke infection

Results up to November 2018

Since 2015, from June to December, DAFM has taken lamb blood samples in factories from a proportion of flocks at the time of slaughter. These have been tested for liver fluke antibodies to determine the timing and geographical spread of liver fluke challenge to grazing lambs.

The number of flocks selected for sampling from each county is proportionate to the sheep population of that county. A number of samples are taken from each selected flock, and these are pooled at laboratory level. The presence of liver fluke antibodies reflects the level of challenge the lambs have experienced during the most recent grazing season. Results for each county for the period July- November 2018, ordered by percentage of flocks seropositive in each county, are as follows:


 Added 21.12.2018


DAFM’s recently published liver fluke forecast anticipated the highest fluke infection levels in the north, west, southwest and midlands. Results from the testing of the lamb samples from July to November 2018 are consistent with this forecast.

During November, a high percentage of sampled flocks in the western counties disclosed positive results. A smaller number of positive flocks were also recorded in counties considered at lower risk for liver fluke this winter, for example Kildare and Laois.  This serves to remind us of the danger of farmers making assumptions about the fluke status of their flocks based on past experience, and of the need to consider information from a range of sources when deciding whether or not to dose for liver fluke. 

As the sample size for some counties is small, farmers in these particular counties need to be cautious when interpreting the results of the survey as they relate to their areas.

Thanks to Seamus Fagan of Athlone Regional Veterinary Laboratory, Charlie O’Connell of VPHIS and Kate O’Keeffe, DAFM blood testing laboratory in Cork for the information provided.


Species: Multi-Species
11:47 AM on Fri, 21 December