Facial Eczema (FE) is caused by fungal spores in the pasture which produce a toxin that damages the liver. The danger period is usually between January and May, depending on weather conditions. Weather conditions that promote fungal growth are warmth with a night time temperature above 12 degrees C and consistent rainfall giving high humidity.
As it is only October we have a bit of time to prepare for the facial eczema season ahead. Prevention is imperative as there is no cure for liver damage. Some of you may have had very bad cases last season, and some even lost stock. It is important to protect your sheep, cattle and alpacas. Sheep and alpacas will get droopy ears and a swollen face. Further signs include reddened skin, which then will start to blister and peel off.
In the next newsletter we will provide all the information you need. Basically though, treating animals with Zinc helps protect each individual animal. Zinc capsules can be used in sheep and cattle. Alpacas can be fed pellets, which include Zinc. Pasture management is also important, including spraying pastures before the FE begins.
Get organized early for the Facial Eczema season and have zinc on hand.