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Eurytrema spp in Ruminants

(Pancreatic Fluke)

By

Lora Rickard Ballweber

, DVM, DACVM, DEVPC, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University

Medically Reviewed Nov 2021 | Modified Oct 2022

Pancreatic flukes have a thick body and are 8–16 mm long × 6 mm wide. They are parasites of the pancreatic ducts and occasionally of the bile ducts of sheep, pigs, goats, buffalo, and cattle in Madagascar, Europe, Asia, and South America (Brazil). The most important species are E pancreaticum, E coelomaticum, and E cladorchis. The first intermediate hosts are terrestrial snails (Bradybaena spp), and the cercariae are released onto herbage and ingested by grasshoppers (Conocephalus spp) or tree crickets (Oecanthus spp), which are the second intermediate host. After the animal ingests a grasshopper infected with metacercariae, the immature flukes excyst in the duodenum and migrate to the pancreatic duct, where they mature. The prepatent period of E coelomaticum in cattle is 3–4 months.

Infections can lead to chronic interstitial pancreatitis; usually there are no obvious clinical signs, other than general progressive weight loss. Dicrocoelium-like eggs can be found in feces. Light infections cause proliferative inflammation of the pancreatic duct, which may become enlarged and occluded. In heavy infections, fibrotic, necrotic, and degenerative lesions develop. These lesions result in increased plasma concentrations of gamma-glutamyltransferase and AST. In production animals, economic losses resulting from carcass condemnation due to pancreatic lesions occur; it is likely that the disease also results in decreased productivity.

The control of intermediate hosts may not be practical. Treatment with praziquantel (20 mg/kg, for 2 days) or albendazole (7.5 mg/kg for sheep, 10 mg/kg for cattle) has reportedly been effective.

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