The new year is nearly here, and with it, another facial eczema season. Warm nights with moderate moisture levels are ideal conditions for toxic fungal spores to build up on your pasture. These spores in turn are eaten by your animals, causing liver damage and skin problems.
Facial eczema is not a species-specific disease: all grazing livestock are at risk of developing it. It can lead to significant production losses and poses an animal welfare issue.
Two important facts about facial eczema:
- If you see animals with symptoms of facial eczema, such as skin lesions, a huge proportion of your mob will be suffering silently – often no symptoms can be seen but liver damage has occurred
- There is no cure for facial eczema, as liver damage is the primary problem. The liver has amazing abilities to regenerate, but it has its limits. Chronic exposure to spores across one or multiple seasons can lead to liver failure
Therefore, prevention is key to avoid facial eczema problems on your farm.
Effective zinc supplementation is the best way to protect your animals against facial eczema.
There are three key components of an effective supplementation plan:
Accurate dosing with your chosen zinc product(s)
- Timely supplementation to cover the facial eczema risk period – which can be up to 100 days
- Testing blood zinc levels to ensure dosing level is appropriate.
Talk to your vet about building an effective zinc supplementation plan for your farm. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to facial eczema.