Liver Fluke (Fasciola hepatica) parasites can be a significant threat to the health of cattle, sheep and goats.
For cattle and sheep, we can test for liver fluke exposure in blood and milk using an ELISA antibody assay (milk testing is not available for sheep). This test isn't suitable for horses, which require a liver fluke sedimentation test. For details, please refer to the Liver Fluke - Info page in the Testing menu.
Sample turn-around for this test is normally under 2 weeks, but may be longer when sample numbers are low. If testing is urgent please contact us. Also note that faecal sedimentation tests are processed much faster (same day, or within a couple of working days of receipt) - for details, please refer to the Liver Fluke - Info page in the Testing menu.
Sample Collection and Submission
Submission forms for ELISA testing can be downloaded and printed from our website. Please see Submission Forms in the Testing menu.
- Hygiene is important when collecting milk samples. Use only clean, unused 10-30 mL sample tubes.
- Collect at least 5-10 mL milk from under the cream layer of the milk vat. Avoid collecting any cream, as excess fat may affect the test accuracy.
- Do not fill the tube by more than 75% as this may cause leakage, especially if the samples are frozen as they will crack.
- Label tubes clearly, seal tightly and keep refrigerated at all times.
- If mailing is delayed or the weather is hot, consider freezing the samples before sending. If so, ensure that the sample tubes are frozen upright and that the lids are loose to avoid the tubes cracking. Tighten the lids once the samples have frozen.
- Before mailing, ensure tube lids are secured tightly. Place each test group in a sealable bag, only one group per bag, so that if any tubes leak we can collect liquid from the bag. Include an ice brick with the samples. Remember to include your paperwork. Send the samples by express post or courier.
- Preferably collect 10 samples from a herd and submit as two test groups of 5. We will pool the samples and perform two tests per herd.
- Collect at least 1 mL per animal into non-coagulating blood tubes.
- Seal the tubes tightly & label clearly with group ID.
- Stand tubes for 2-3 hours at room temp. for proper clotting, then refrigerate & keep chilled at all times. Do not freeze*!
- Before mailing, ensure tube lids are secured tightly. Place each test group in a sealable bag, only one group per bag. Include an ice brick with the samples. Remember to include your paperwork. Send the samples by express post or courier.
* Trained technicians may wish to extract serum from the blood, which may be frozen. We only recommend this for trained personnel.
For each test group you will receive a result with one of four values:
||Interpretation - individual sera
||Interpretation - pools of sera or tank milk
|0||Negative for liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) antibodies||No, or very weak, infestation|
|+||Mild Positive for liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) antibodies||Low infestation (< 20% infestation)|
|++||Positive for liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) antibodies||Medium infestation (20-50% infestation)|
|+++||Strong Positive for liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) antibodies||Strong infestation (> 50% infestation)|
We perform duplicate tests for each sample. If the results vary between duplicates then we'll indicate the range.
Note that occasionally we receive samples that cannot be tested accurately due to contaminants that cause a false positive. In these cases we'll let you know that a fresh sample is required.