Facial Eczema

WHEN is the Facial Eczema RISK PERIOD?

  • January to May.
  • WARM MOIST CONDITIONS and increased fungal spores in the pasture litter.
  • Grass temp >12C for 4 consecutive nights.
  • HIGH humidity (4-6mm drizzle/48hr) or soil moist from irrigation.
  • Stock consume the spores containing the toxin (younger spores have more toxin), the closer the grazing the higher the levels ingested.

What are the CLINICAL SIGNS:

  • Immediate DROP in PRODUCTION (sometimes diarrhoea), most of the herd.
  • Photosensitivity with skin lesions 10-14d after exposure and only 10% of affected cows have skin lesions. Don’t rely on this to take action!
  • Red water. (Blood pigments in urine)

What should I be doing now? Ring to discuss with one of our vets. ORDER ZINC boluses NOW if you haven’t already. They are dangerous goods and DO NOT arrive overnight.

How to take a Grass Sample for Spore Counting to Monitor for Facial Eczema

  1. Select a paddock you wish to monitor
  2. Cut a handful of grass with sharp scissors or a knife, approximately 1cm above the ground level
  3. Repeat the procedure at 10 sites across a diagonal of the paddock
  4. Avoid parts of the paddock sheltered by trees and hedges and contaminating samples with soil and roots.

5. Collect the sample in a clean paper bag, need 200g of grass (one bag full)
6. Store in the fridge until taken to our clinic
7. Repeat sampling at a minimum of once a week in the same paddock and take samples on the same diagonal path across the paddock.

Monitor farm spore counts:

When regional spore counts reach 20,000 spores/g of pasture or after a period of rain is followed by warm conditions.
Choose 4 paddocks that are representative of your farm and monitor only these.

TIPS for predicting the most susceptible paddocks for spore counting:

Spore counts on north and west-facing slopes are usually higher than east and south-facing slopes.
Paddocks with a lot of pasture litter and those that are sheltered often have higher counts.

Last Updated on May 8, 2024