Vet corner: Understanding facial eczema signs in stock

The Country-NZ Herald
By: Ashleigh Taylor and Steph Gordon/Horowhenua Chronicle
Photo: Courtesy of The Country-NZ Herald 
 
Photo Caption: Facial eczema is a disease which commonly affects cattle, sheep and alpacas.

Original content from The Country-NZ Herald.     

 Have you heard of facial eczema but not sure what it is?

Facial eczema is a disease which commonly affects cattle, sheep and alpacas. It occurs when animals eat fungal spores found at the base of the pasture.

These fungal spores release toxins which can cause liver damage and skin peeling (photosensitisation). Once the liver is badly damaged it cannot regenerate and this can lead to death or chronic wasting. The risk season usually runs between January and May, but is dependent on moist warm soil temperature.

Some key signs to look for with your animals include shade-seeking or animals separating themselves away from herd mates, loss of condition, head shaking, sitting down and looking sad, jaundice (yellowing gums), sunburn and skin peeling.

 Not all animals who have liver damage from facial eczema will display these signs. They will have a higher risk for next season.

Prevention is the only way to combat the risk of facial eczema.

Read the rest of this story at The Country-NZ Herald