Using the liver fluke antibody test

The ELISA test for Liver Fluke can be used to manage the parasite.


Now that we are at a time of year when liver fluke can be a problem, here is some information on the liver fluke ELISA and how it can be used:

  • Cattle and sheep will have antibodies to Fasciola hepatica two to four weeks after exposure to liver fluke
  • The F. hepatica ELISA test picks up infection earlier than the faecal tests (six to seven weeks for the coproantigen test and ten to twelve weeks for the faecal egg test)
  • This test is most useful when used in animals out at grass for the first time i.e. spring born suckler calves and spring born lambs. Older animals are more likely to have historic antibodies circulating
  • For farms unsure if they have a liver fluke problem, target testing of these young animals (sentinel animals) can be informative
  • It can provide useful information on whether treatment is necessary in years considered low risk
  • It can also allow treatment to be instigated earlier
  • Some thought would need to be given to selection of lambs or calves for testing to make sure they give the best representation of the farmland and flock
  • Testing could be combined with other blood tests, such as trace element testing

Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss using this test, or any other matter.

Posted by SRUC Veterinary Services on 28/10/2021

Tags: Livestock Parasites
Categories: Sheep | Cattle