Late summer is when we see animals with facial eczema. This is due to a fungus that grows in pasture at this time of year and causes liver damage. The greatest risk period is from February to May. Symptoms vary depending on the amount of spores ingested. The following symptoms are most commonly seen: reddening and swelling of skin areas which can result in skin lesions and loss of skin patches. Animals are restless and irritated, seek shade and can have diarrhoea or red urine. In worst case scenarios animals can be quite sick and even die. Sometimes the liver damage is so severe that animals die from it. Supplementing animals with zinc over this time has been shown to be protective of the liver.
The most reliable way to supplement zinc is to use a bolus. This is a capsule that gets administered orally and releases zinc slowly and steadily over several weeks, ensuring that zinc levels stay high and stable over the course of treatment. Zinc boluses last between 4 -6 weeks, so a repeat is often necessary.
There are special applicator guns that are used to protect the bolus as it is introduced into the animal’s mouth. These can be hired from your clinic. If you would like a hand treating your animals we have technicians who can come to your place and help you. They can even bring out small portable yards to help with catching and handling sheep.
If you have any questions about reducing the risk of your animals getting facial eczema or want to know the current level of risk please contact your local Anexa FVC clinic.