There's been a huge rise in a potentially deadly disease among sheep. Liver fluke is caused by a parasite and is thought to be responsible for thousands of sheep deaths in Cumbria and southern Scotland. Hannah McNulty has this exclusive report.
Farmers and vets are worried about an outbreak of 'Liver Fluke' in Cumbria.
The fluke is a flatworm which thrives in wet weather and can kill sheep.
Charlie Foster from Border Vets explains more about the disease:
Farmers and vets are worried about an outbreak of Liver Fluke in Cumbria. It's caused by a flatworm which thrives in wet weather and can kill sheep. It's become an increasing problem because of all the rain over the past year.
The National Animal Disease Information service says:
"Liver fluke is a parasitic flatworm that infects the livers of various mammals. The disease caused by the fluke causes great economic losses in sheep and cattle. It has been a parasite of sheep and cattle for hundreds of years."
Farmers in the Scottish Borders have told ITV Border the bad weather has delayed shearing because mud on the wool can make it go mouldy.Read the full story ›
Farmers in the Scottish Borders are finally shearing sheep after wet weather forced delays.
The practice of shaving off the wool in one go has had to wait, as their coats were covered in wet mud.
Farmers feared getting less money for the wool because taking it off damp would cause it to go mouldy and lower the quality.
They also fear the poor weather will make winter silage prices soar as there are lower stocks because the sheep have had to be brought inside.
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond says systems are in place to test for the Schmallenberg virus in sheep stocks north of the border.
At First Minister's Questions he told Galloway and Upper Nithsdale MSP Alex Fergusson adequate surveillance was in place.
He said: "Testing is provided free of charge by the Moredun Institute and that approach is working well.
"At this early stage of the lambing season three suspect cases have been reported but tests have all proved to be negative."
Scotland 'remains vigilant' to a threat posed by the Schmallenberg virus according to First Minister Alex Salmond.
The disease, which causes birth defects in sheep and cattle, has already killed animals in England.
Concerns about Scottish surveillance were raised at First Minister's Questions today.