Liver: fasciola hepatica infestation

Fascioliasis • distomatosis • distomiasis

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Introduction

  • Cause : horses are relatively resistant to infection with Fasciola hepatica  and F. gigantica    .
  • Diagnosis : fascioliasis in horses, when it does occur, probably goes undiagnosed much of the time, because infections do not reach patency and/or techniques to detect fluke eggs are not a routine part of parasitological examination of equine feces. 
  • Signs : horses are unlikely to exhibit acute clinical signs as a result of liver fluke infection. Chronic signs, including abdominal pain, may occur and go undiagnosed. 
  • Prognosis : good if clinical cases treated; may resolve spontaneously without treatment.

Diagnosis

Differential diagnosis

Diagnosis

Clinical signs

  • Anemia    .
  • Ascites.
  • Ill-thrift.
  • Fluke eggs in feces.

Outcomes

Prognosis

  • Good if clinical cases are treated.
  • Some cases may resolve spontaneously in the absence of treatment.

Expected response to treatment

Reasons for treatment failure

  • Difficulty in reaching a specific diagnosis.
  • Reinfection if horse is put back to graze on infected pastures.
  • Relative resistance of immature flukes to chemotherapy.
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