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This article was published in 1952
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(Dicrocoelium dendriticum)


T.R. JONES, B.V.Sc., Inspector of Stock, Wagga.

On the 26th February, 1952, at the request of the owner and in the absence of the Inspector of Stock, Narrandera, a visit was paid to a property in the Leeton Irrigation Area to investigate a mortality in sheep.

History. Some 400 mixed comeback one-year-old sheep were purchased through the local yards during the previous October. Deaths at the rate of one or two per day commenced about the middle of February. One wether was examined at about 3 p.m.; this sheep having been found dead during that morning.

Post-mortem examination showed a typical Black Disease picture. The liver was heavily scarred by fluke but a detailed examination failed to reveal any further evidence of the common liver-fluke (Fasciola hepatica). After a complete dissection many Dicrocoelium dendriticum were seen in the peripheral or small bile ducts.

This fluke has not been encountered previously in the field by the writer, who is not aware of any report of its occurrence in this State; though a personal communication indicates that Dicrocoelium may have been located recently on the Southern Tablelands.

[Clunies Ross and Gordon (The Internal Parasites and Parasitic Diseases of Sheep, Angus and Robertson, Australia, 1936) detail the life history and description of this parasite and indicate that as treatment with Carbon tetrachloride is not effective, the main line of attack should aim at eliminating the host snail; though this also is difficult as the host species are land and not aquatic snails. Reference is made to distribution in Northern Europe and North America, as well as the western coast of Scotland only in the British Isles.

Seddon (Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Health, Division of Veterinary Hygiene Service Publication No. 2, 1947) states that although Dicrocoelium apparently has been exhibited in Australia, it is presumed, since liver fluke has been studied so extensively, that this parasite does not occur in this country. EDITOR.]


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