Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Chronic wasting due to liver and rumen flukes in sheep

Grazing sheep and goats are constantly exposed to helminth infections in many parts of the world, including several trematode species that causes a range of clinical diseases. The clinical picture of flukes is dependent upon the organs in which they develop and the tissues they damage within the respective organs. Accordingly, infections with the common liver fluke <i>Fasciola hepatica</i>, which, as juvenile worm migrates through the liver parenchyma for several weeks, may be associated with hepatic disorders such as impairment of carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, followed by chronic wasting. In contrast, the lancet fluke <i>Dicrocoelium dendriticum</i>, which does not exhibit tissue migration and thus does not lead to major tissue damage and bleeding, also does not lead to significant clinical symptoms. Rumen flukes such as <i>Cotylophoron daubneyi</i> cause catarrhal inflammation during their migration through the intestinal and abomasal epithelium during its juvenile stages. Depending on the infection intensity this may result in a range of clinical symptoms including diarrhoea, inappetence or emaciation. In this review, we aim to provide an update on the current knowledge on flukes particularly concerning the clinical relevance of the most important fluke species in sheep.

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