Facial Eczema Prevention Services

Facial Ezcema

What is facial eczema?

Facial eczema is a liver disease, that can cause secondary skin signs such as photosensitivity. Animals are susceptible to developing facial eczema when they eat pasture containing fungal spores which produce a toxin called sporidesmin. Animals suffering from facial eczema can show a range of clinical signs including poorer production, weight loss, skin damage and can get very sick and even die. The disease is very painful, so it is important for animals’ welfare that they are protected against eczema as much as possible.

Little can be done to treat eczema once liver damage has occurred, beyond providing shade and making animals more comfortable. Prevention is the best strategy. The mainstays of facial eczema prevention are zinc administration, grazing of safe pastures/feeds, and breeding for resistance. If you do have animals suffering from facial eczema, talk to your vet or read the guide below for some treatment tips.

    Monitor spores to assess risk

    Anexa has monitor farms in most districts we service. You can sign up to receive our weekly email updates during the facial eczema season (late January to Early May, depending on season) here.

    This will give an idea of the trend in the area. Spore counts can be very different between farms, and even between paddocks on farms. It is best to test the pastures on your own farm to know the risk for your animals.

    When spore counts climb to around 30,000, it is time to consider bolusing at-risk stock with zinc. The only way to determine if a pasture is safe is to test levels. Forage crops and providing alternative feed can be used strategically, in conjunction with zinc supplementation, to get stock off dangerous pastures.

    Zinc is protective against facial eczema

    Zinc only works as a preventative; it is not an effective treatment for affected animals. However, animals with facial eczema still need zinc supplementation to protect them from further damage.

    The most effective way to administer zinc to stock is by giving them a long-acting (6 weeks) intra-ruminal zinc bolus. Other options, such as water treatment with zinc, are commonly used but often don’t provide full protection against disease due to variable water intakes. We recommend testing zinc levels in the herd to check if they are fully protected. Have a chat with your vet about the best options for managing facial eczema risk in your animals.

    Anexa’s Facial Eczema prevention services include:

    Prevention and management planning

    Weekly emails forecasting facial eczema risk, and advice on prevention


    Weekly text message of spore count numbers in your area


    Competitively priced zinc products (mono, hepta, Face-Guard bolus)


    Testing for zinc levels


    Technician bolus application

    Veterinary care for exposed animals

    Visit an Anexa Vet clinic for further details or give one of our Product Sale Reps a call 0800 284 3838

    Information & Advice


    How to collect a grass sample.pdf


    Steps to safe zinc bolusing of calves and sheep


    11 tips for Bolus administration


    Zinc dosages.pdf


    Stock suffering from facial eczema?.pdf


    Podcast - Facial Eczema 101


    Podcast – Myth Busters - Facial Eczema

    Check out the latest advice from our vet team

    Keeping your eye on the ball (or in this case the spore counts)

    Keeping your eye on the ball (or in this case the spore counts)

    Facial eczema season is here and now is the time to begin your prevention program if you haven’t already started.   Where to begin? Knowing your facial eczema risk is a good place to start. Our weekly spore count updates are underway. Follow this link to sign up...

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