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Vet Parasitol. 2002 Aug 22;107(4):317-35.

A review of dicrocoeliosis of ruminants including recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment.

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Dipartimento di Sanità e Benessere animale, Facoltà di Medicina Veterinaria, Street Provinciale per Casamassima Km 3, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy.


Despite its widespread presence among grazing ruminants, dicrocoeliosis, also known as "small liver fluke" disease, is poorly known and often underestimated by researchers and practitioners in many countries. This is primarily due to the multiple parasitic infections which affect ruminant livestock and mask the pathology of dicrocoeliosis, to the difficulties in diagnosing it with coprological techniques and, finally, to the few effective drugs found. Furthermore, the biological cycle of Dicrocoelium, which requires a snail and an ant as intermediate hosts, and the high number of ecological and epidemiological variables affecting the disease make it difficult to set up experimental designs to study dicrocoeliosis. In the past 50 years, many aspects of this disease have been broadly investigated (aetiology, life cycle, diffusion, epidemiology, pathogenesis and immunology) but its diagnosis and treatment still remain moot issues. Dicrocoeliosis often remains clinically undetected and its diagnosis is mostly based on adult dicrocoelia recovered in the liver post mortem or on egg detected at coprological examination. The prophylaxis of the small liver fluke has been difficult and unsatisfactory to date due to the complexity of its biological life cycle and epidemiology. Many anti-helminthic drugs are practically ineffective against dicrocoeliosis if used at the dosage recommended against other gastrointestinal helminths and lungworms. The most important aspects of the aetiology, biological cycle, spread, epidemiology and pathogenesis of dicrocoeliosis are reviewed and the recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment are focused on.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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