Facial Eczema (FE) is a disease caused by mycotoxins sporidesmin, contained in spores produced by fungus (Pithomyces chartarum ) that grow in the decaying litter of pastures. The risk of FE is greatest in late summer and autumn when periods of rain or high humidity occur in combination with high night time minimum temperatures.
Stock that have been affected by FE show photosensitisation or sunburn which can be severe, and animals are very uncomfortable, irritable from the itch and obviously in discomfort or even pain.
The skin damage is secondary to liver damage, and both together can result in ill-thrift, lowered milk production, low fertility, metabolic diseases and death.
FE can be a very unpredictable disease and hard to manage.
There are a number of strategies available for control and prevention of FE which include:
a Avoiding the toxin
b Protecting the animal with zinc if toxin is ingested
c Suppressing the toxin
d Breeding for FE tolerance
The most common method of reducing the animal’s risk of obtaining liver damage from FE is through the inclusion of Zinc Oxide in the feed. Animals should receive around 20mg elemental Zinc/kg live weight/day prior to spore exposure and for no more than 100 days of consecutive feeding as dose levels required are very close to those toxic to the animal.
CopRice Nutrition and Sales staff can discuss your Zinc inclusion options and it is also recommend that you seek advice from your Veterinarian. Dairy Australia also supports a Spore Monitoring Program can also assist with updates on FE.
For more information, speak to your CopRice representative Free call 1800 267 742.