UK parasite control and alerts for Spring 2020

Elanco has released its analysis of the UK's potential parasite challenges for farmers.
calendar icon 22 April 2020
clock icon 2 minute read

The very wet spring and mild winter will have an impact on where and when we see the usual spring parasite challenges. The volume of water, and the number of wet days in February mean that if not flooded, the ground has been waterlogged with no breaks to dry out at all. The mild winter, 1 – 2 degrees C above average and reaching above 10 degrees C in parts of the south will allow some parasite development to start in the environment. So what does this mean for the usual spring parasite challenges?


Any delay to turn out will put calves at increased risk of coccidiosis. Limited housing space means that as stock numbers increase, levels of hygiene inevitably fall, and the longer animals stay in, the greater the risk of multiplying cocci numbers up to dangerous levels. However, turning out onto wet ground can be just as risky, as weather stress and contamination can also lead to high levels of challenge outdoors. Being aware of the risk and being prepared to target at risk animals (calves) before disease strikes, is the best way to manage this challenge. Elanco's website contains additional information on coccidiosis.

Liver fluke

The liver fluke challenge varied across the country this winter but overall was lower than expected. This was good, but meant that some animals went untreated as there were no obvious signs of fluke. These groups are likely to be carrying adult fluke into the spring which will provide eggs to produce next season’s fluke. Testing for fluke eggs before turning cattle out will allow a targeted treatment for adult fluke where needed. We’ll still have to watch the weather over the coming months, and see where the floodwaters leave suitable snail habitats, to predict where and when the fluke challenge will come this autumn.


Lucilia sericata, the main blowfly in the UK, starts to become active when soil temperatures reach 9 degrees C. From February, large parts of the UK have been hitting 8-10 degrees C already, especially in the south. If the mild conditions are maintained through March, then southern counties will be in for an early blowfly challenge. Correct application of an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) product BEFORE strike happens, is still the "gold standard" in blowfly prevention. Information on application can be found on Elanco's website. The Elanco blowfly tracker in collaboration with NADIS is also live, check it out online to see when strike is happening in your area. 

For more information on the health of your livestock visit Elanco's website.

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