Estimation of the impact of Fasciola hepatica infection on time taken for UK beef cattle to reach slaughter weight

Stella Mazeri, Gustaf Rydevik, Ian Handel, Mark Bronsvoort, Neil Sargison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fasciolosis is common in UK beef cattle, but it is unclear at what levels liver fluke burdens cause production losses. This
study aimed to address these uncertainties by estimating the impact of liver fluke infection on UK beef cattle productivity and
investigating the use of diagnostic tests in a quantitative manner. We built three linear regression models for slaughter age by
weight and different measures of liver fluke status, while accounting for sex, breed, season, year and farm of origin. Data were
sourced from Scotland’s largest red meat abattoir throughout 2013 and 2014. Our Meat Hygiene Service model estimated that cattle classified as having liver fluke damage had on average 10 days greater slaughter age than animals with no evidence of fasciolosis. Our liver fibrosis model estimated that the increase in slaughter age was more severe for higher fibrosis scores.
Similarly, our burden model showed an increase in slaughter age for animals with as few as 1 to 10 parasites found in their livers. Lastly, we used receiver operating characteristic curves to show that serum antibody ELISA, copro-antigen ELISA and faecal egg counting can be useful in distinguishing between animals with and without production limiting levels of fasciolosis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7319
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2017

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