Bovis ISSN 2398-2993


Synonym(s): Rumen fluke infestation

Contributor(s): Matthew Barden , Hany Elsheikha

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  • Cause: paramphistome infection.
  • Signs: diarrhea, weakness, hypoproteinemia, anemia.
  • Diagnosis: demonstration of eggs or immature and/or mature flukes on post-mortem examination.
  • Treatment: oxyclozanide.
  • Prognosis: good.



  • Infection with paramphistomes (flukes).
  • Large number of genera but commonly Paramphistomum, Calicophoron and Orthcoelium species.
  • Calicophoron daubneyi is the major rumen fluke in Western Europe.
  • Paramphistomum microbothrium is the major rumen fluke in Africa.
  • Paramphistomum cervi is traditionally considered to be prevalent worldwide, now considered to predominantly reside in tropical and subtropical regions. 

Predisposing factors

  • Young grazing cattle.
  • Climate and environment which support intermediate host (aquatic or amphibious snail).
  • Infection can be associated with the drying of recently flood pasture; especially species which predominantly use aquatic snails as intermediate hosts (eg P. cervi).


  • Primarily associated with immature flukes in proximal small intestine – attach by drawing plug of mucosa into oral and ventral sucker.
  • Migration through mucosa and submucosa can cause strangulation and necrosis leading to extensive enteritis.
  • Adult flukes in rumen generally well tolerated but heavy infections are associated with poor fecal consistency and damage to rumen papillae.
  • Protein losing enteropathy and reduced appetite result in condition loss.


  • Clinical signs due to immature flukes seen from 3 weeks following infection with metacercariae.
  • Clinical signs typically persist for several weeks but dependent on infection rate with metacercariae.


  • Similar characteristics to liver fluke Fasciola hepatica.
  • Infection from ingestion of metacercariae with herbage.
  • Intermediate host essential –  aquatic or amphibious snails. 
  • Adult cows with low level of infection provide reservoir of adult paramphistomes; responsible for infecting snail population.
  • Snails are motile and therefore capable of spreading to un-grazed pasture.
  • See life cycle Paramphistomes spp for more information.
  • In Europe outbreaks are typically seen in late summer and autumn. 


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
  • Duignan G, Fagan J, Cepta J & Casey M (2017) Diagnosing acute larval paramphistomosis in ruminants. Veterinary Record 180 (25).
  • Elelu N & Eisler M C (2017) A review of bovine fasciolosis and other trematode infections in Nigeria. Journal of Helminthology  pp 1–14.
  • De Waal T (2010) Paramphistomum – a brief review. Irish Veterinary Journal 63 (5) pp 313–316.
  • Huson K M, Oliver N A M & Robinson M W (2017). Paramphistomosis of Ruminants: An Emerging Parasitic Disease in Europe. Trends in Parasitology 33 (11) pp 836–844.
  • Jones R A, Brophy P M, Mitchell E S & Williams H wyn (2017) Rumen fluke (Calicophoron daubneyi) on Welsh farms: prevalence, risk factors and observations on co-infection with Fasciola hepatica. Parasitology 144 (2) pp 237–247.
  • Ploeger H W, Ankum L, Moll L, van Doorn D C K et al (2017) Presence and species identity of rumen flukes in cattle and sheep in the Netherlands. Veterinary Parasitology 243 pp 42–46.
  • Sargison N, Francis E, Davison C, Bronsvoort B M d C et al (2016) Observations on the biology, epidemiology and economic relevance of rumen flukes (Paramphistomidae) in cattle kept in a temperate environment. Veterinary Parasitology 219 pp 7–16.
  • Malrait K, Verschave S, Skuce P, Van Loo H, Vercruysse J & Charlier J (2015) Novel insights into the pathogenic importance, diagnosis and treatment of the rumen fluke (Calicophoron daubneyi) in cattle. Veterinary Parasitology 207 (1–2), pp 134–139.
  • Mitchell S (2014) Emerging diseases - External and internal parasites. Cattle Practice 22 pp 77–85.
  • Zintl A, Garcia-Campos A, Trudgett A, Chryssafidis A L et al (2014) Bovine paramphistomes in Ireland. Veterinary Parasitology 204 (3–4) pp 199–208.
  • Gordon D K, Roberts L C P, Lean N, Zadoks R N et al (2013) Identification of the rumen fluke, Calicophoron daubneyi, in GB livestock: Possible implications for liver fluke diagnosis. Veterinary Parasitology 195 (1–2), pp 65–71.
  • Tilling O (2013) Rumen fluke in cattle in the UK: review. Livestock 18 (6), pp 223–227.
  • Mezo M (2013) Bovine paramphistomosis in Galicia (Spain): Prevalence, intensity, aetiology and geospatial distribution of the infection. Veterinary Parasitology 191 (3–4), pp 252–263.
  • Millar M, Colloff A & Scholes S (2012). Disease associated with immature paramphistome infection. Veterinary Record 171 (20), pp 509.5-510.
  • González-Warleta M, Lladosa S, Castro-Hermida J A, Martínez-Ibeas A M (2010) Influence of Calicophoron microbothrium amphistomosis on the biochemical and blood cell counts of cattle. Journal of Helminthology 84 (1475–2697 (Electronic)) pp 355–361.
  • De Waal T (2010) Paramphistomum – a brief review. Irish Veterinary Journal 63 (5), pp 313–316.
  • Rolfe P F & Boray J C (1987) Chemotherapy of paramphistomosis in cattle. Australian Veterinary Journal 64 (11), pp 328–332.