Histopathology and antibody responses describe the seasonal pattern of dicrocoeliosis in small ruminants in the Himalayan ranges of Pakistan

Muhammad Asim Khan, Kiran Afshan*, Umer Chaudhry, Sabika Firasat, Neil Sargison*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In some parts of the world, Dicrocoelium spp. lancet flukes cause significant production loss in pastoral livestock, and accurate diagnosis of infection is important. The aims of the present study were to describe the histopathology and to investigate the transmission patterns of Dicrocoelium amongst ten sheep and goat farms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. The liver histology and indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) analyses followed standard procedures. The liver histopathology showed intensive tissue destruction and biliary hyperplasia associated with presence of adult flukes, severe inflammatory cell infiltration, congestion of red blood cells, damaged hepatocytes, and sinusoids in the infected areas. The time of onset of infection was investigated by ELISA detection of antibodies in sheep (n=164) and goats (n=152). Colostral transfer of Dicrocoelium antibodies from seropositive mothers was detected in sheep and goats up to 16 weeks of age. In both sheep and goats, the estimated time of infection differed between farms and years. Infection was seen in both sheep flocks and goat herds, with high variation between flocks and herds, and the highest infection rate in lambs. Dicrocoelium infection was most prevalent in sheep and goats in September (n=84) and August (n=63) respectively.

Conclusions: Dicrocoelium causes severe inflammation and necrosis of liver tissues in sheep and goats. Colostral transfer of antibodies can be detected up to about ten weeks of age. Higher infection rates are observed during August and September in sheep than in goats, putatively due to effects of different grazing and browsing behaviors on the ingestion of ants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109975
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Early online date17 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Dicrocoelium spp
  • anti-Dicrocoelium antibodies
  • liver histopathology


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