Calicophoron daubneyi

Calicophoron daubneyi (rumen fluke)

The life cycle of rumen fluke

Calicophoron daubneyi is the most common species of rumen fluke in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Adult fluke are pink, conical shaped, approximately 1cm in length and can be found attached to the lining of the rumen. Disease associated with rumen fluke is called paramphistomosis and infects ruminants such as cattle, sheep, deer, buffalo and alpacas.

The life cycle of rumen fluke is similar to that of liver fluke as they also use an intermediate snail host. The one used most often in the UK is the mud snail, Galba truncatula. Liver and rumen fluke can infect the same snail at the same time.

Adult fluke produce eggs that are passed out in the final host animal’s faeces onto pasture. Here they develop into embryos and hatch, releasing miracidia that then seek out and infect a snail host.

The miracidia develop further in the host snail and multiply into infective cercariae. The snail sheds these cercariae and they migrate to wet herbage where they encyst as metacercariae. At this stage the final host animal eats them.

Rumen fluke infection rarely causes clinical disease and often goes undiagnosed. However, reports of the infection are increasing.

Where it does occur, clinical disease is caused by a large number of immature flukes migrating from the small intestine towards the rumen. This can lead to a lower milk yield and a drop in weight gain.

Symptoms of infection include:

  • Anorexia
  • Anaemia
  • Failure to thrive
  • Non-responsive diarrhoea
  • Sudden death (a few rare cases linked to a large burden of immature fluke)

Diagnosing rumen fluke

Infection with mature adult flukes can be diagnosed using a worm egg count (WEC) to detect eggs in faeces.

Treating rumen fluke

Treatment for rumen fluke is not the same as for liver fluke.

The only drug shown to be effective against adult rumen fluke is oxyclozanide. To date there have been no reports of anthelmintic resistance of rumen fluke to oxyclozanide. However, before using it you should seek advice from your veterinarian.

The best way to manage rumen fluke is to use flukicides in conjunction with effective grazing and herd management. Wet, muddy pastures pose a high risk, in particular during warm summers with a high rainfall. Therefore you should avoid grazing these areas during peak infection times of late summer and early autumn.

Always investigate sudden deaths in your livestock and ask abattoirs for feedback on carcasses.

Our current rumen fluke studies

We are studying:

  • The passage of rumen fluke through cows
  • Co-infection of rumen fluke with liver fluke or Cooperia

Rumen fluke we supply

We culture parasites on request.

We supply eggs, metacercariae and adult life cycle stages of rumen fluke.