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Sheep and goats
Dicrocoeliosis in sheep in England and Wales: under diagnosed and misdiagnosed?
  1. Rita Papoula-Pereira1,
  2. Bob Hancock2,
  3. Sian Mitchell3,
  4. Harriet Semple1 and
  5. J W McGarry4
  1. 1 School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2 Foods Standards Agency, Foods Standards Agency, Cardiff, UK
  3. 3 APHA Carmarthen Veterinary Investigation Centre, Carmarthen, UK
  4. 4 University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rita Papoula-Pereira; rpapoula{at}


We report four cases of dicrocoeliosis in sheep of untraced origin at an abattoir in Wales in 2015. Liver presentation ranged from severe, with extensive disseminated fibrosis and small bile duct hyperplasia and ectasia, to mild, characterised by occasional small white lesions on the subcapsular surface. Incising the liver revealed black fluid containing Dicrocoelium dendriticum. In another case, from North West England, adult parasites were found in the gall bladder—there were no liver lesions—and eggs were present in faeces. The cases demonstrate that this condition may appear in sheep in UK outside the known endemic areas of western Scotland. Surveillance is therefore necessary but only achievable through accurate diagnosis. Investigators must be aware that lesions can appear similar in some cases to those caused by other parasites, especially Fasciola hepatica and Cysticercus tenuicollis, and that coprological methods to detect sheep nematode eggs are insensitive for this parasite.

  • Dicrocoelium dendriticum
  • Lancet fluke
  • Meat inspection
  • variable lesions
  • Problems in diagnosis
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  • Contributors All authors had a significant role in investigating and writing this manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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