Epidemiology and impact of Fasciola hepatica exposure in high-yielding dairy herds



Howell, Alison ORCID: 0000-0002-1988-1376, Baylis, Matthew ORCID: 0000-0003-0335-187X, Smith, Rob, Pinchbeck, Gina ORCID: 0000-0002-5671-8623 and Williams, Diana ORCID: 0000-0001-8186-7236
(2015) Epidemiology and impact of Fasciola hepatica exposure in high-yielding dairy herds. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 121 (1-2). 41 - 48.

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Abstract

The liver fluke Fasciola hepatica is a trematode parasite with a worldwide distribution and is the cause of important production losses in the dairy industry. The aim of this observational study was to assess the prevalence of exposure to F. hepatica in a group of high yielding dairy herds, to determine the risk factors and investigate their associations with production and fertility parameters. Bulk milk tank samples from 606 herds that supply a single retailer with liquid milk were tested with an antibody ELISA for F. hepatica. Multivariable linear regression was used to investigate the effect of farm management and environmental risk factors on F. hepatica exposure. Higher rainfall, grazing boggy pasture, presence of beef cattle on farm, access to a stream or pond and smaller herd size were associated with an increased risk of exposure. Univariable regression was used to look for associations between fluke exposure and production-related variables including milk yield, composition, somatic cell count and calving index. Although causation cannot be assumed, a significant (p < 0.001) negative association was seen between F. hepatica exposure and estimated milk yield at the herd level, representing a 15% decrease in yield for an increase in F. hepatica exposure from the 25th to the 75th percentile. This remained significant when fertility, farm management and environmental factors were controlled for. No associations were found between F. hepatica exposure and any of the other production, disease or fertility variables.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fasciola hepatica, dairy cattle, milk production, risk factors
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2015 14:43
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 00:10
DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.05.013
Publisher's Statement : © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2028440