Liver fluke

Rabbit liver showing signs of fluke

When I was at school, the word fluke applied to a moment of extreme luck or good fortune. It was a good thing to be described as “flukey”. In the context of rabbits, however, the application of the word fluke is decidedly less positive.

I posted something about liver fluke in rabbits a few months ago, which I encountered while gutting lamped bunnies to feed to my ferrets. The liver tissue was swollen and shot through with pussy capsules which oozed thick fluid when cut open with a pen knife. I thought it would be worthwhile mentioning that I came across a rabbit which appeared to have recovered from a mild case of fluke while ferreting a couple of days ago.

Setting up the longnet, I used a ferret to work a stack of rotten silage bales which clearly played host to an unknown quantity of bunnies. The little hob keenly darted through the gaps in the sagging plastic, bolting a rabbit out over one of the four foot bales and into the net. Another burst into the open, but ran into another hole before the net could tangle it up. A second rabbit seconds from time was duly bagged, but when I came to gut it, I found white spots throughout the liver. They weren’t as angry and as infected as the fluke spots I came across in July and August, but there was no mistaking the odd discolouration.

When the time came to gather up the ferret, it was soaking wet and muddy, despite the day being quite fresh and dry. This could explain the fluke, given that I am told that it  thrives in wet ground and the rabbit had clearly been living under the soggy bales for some time.

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