Identification of the rumen fluke, Calicophoron daubneyi, in GB livestock: possible implications for liver fluke diagnosis

D K Gordon, L C P Roberts, N Lean, R N Zadoks, N D Sargison, P J Skuce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, is common in many parts of Great Britain. To detect liver fluke infection and to assess whether fasciolicide treatment has been successful, the faecal egg count (FEC) and faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) are widely used. Rumen fluke is also increasingly reported from Great Britain, but its species identity is yet to be determined. Liver fluke and rumen fluke eggs are morphologically similar, which may lead to erroneous diagnoses of liver fluke infection or treatment failure. As an alternative to FEC, a coproantigen ELISA (cELISA) can be used. The potential for this test to cross-react with rumen fluke species from Great Britain has not been evaluated. Rumen fluke specimens from cattle and sheep in Scotland were identified to species level using DNA sequencing of the ITS-2 region. Subsequently, rumen and liver fluke obtained from naturally co-infected sheep were subjected to immunohistochemistry using antibodies from a commercially available cELISA kit for F. hepatica. Finally, faecal samples from naturally co-infected sheep flocks were examined by FEC and cELISA. Rumen fluke from imported and home-bred cattle and sheep in Scotland belonged to the species Calicophoron daubneyi, rather than Paramphistomum cervi, the species presumed to be most common in Great Britain. Intense staining of the gastrodermis was observed in F. hepatica but cross-reactivity with C. daubneyi was not seen. Faecal samples that contained rumen fluke eggs but not liver fluke eggs were all negative by cELISA. We conclude that C. daubneyi is the most common rumen fluke of domestic ruminants in Scotland and that cELISA reduction testing may be a valuable alternative to FECRT in herds or flocks that are co-infected with liver and rumen fluke.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65–71
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1-2
Early online date24 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Rumen fluke
  • Liver fluke
  • Diagnosis
  • Coproantigen ELISA


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