Facial Eczema

Facial Eczema is a disease that increases in conditions of heat and humidity. Prevention can be achieved in a number of ways, the most common being zinc supplementation. If an animal has Facial Eczema any recovery must be carefully managed.

What is Facial Eczema?

  • A widespread disease in many of the herds across the North Island and upper South Island areas.
  • Caused by the toxic fungus Pithomyces Chartarum, this fungus grows on dead plant material found in the base of summer pastures. It proliferates in conditions of heat and humidity.
  • The spores produce a toxin that damages the liver and bile ducts, causing a buildup of body toxins.

How can Facial Eczema be prevented?

The most common form of prevention and best known is zinc supplementation. The zinc used needs to be in a form that sends zinc directly to the liver (sulphate or oxide forms, rather than chelated forms). Once sufficient zinc is in the liver it can effectively disrupt the process that would otherwise produce liver damaging toxins.

Other methods are the spraying of pastures with certain antifungal sprays. This method is very hard to time well. This can result in less than 70% effectiveness, so although a valuable tool, it should be used as part of other control measures such as zinc dosing.

Another method used is to offer safe feeds - silages, or crops - during the period of risk. Therefore reducing the animal's exposure to the pasture spores.

Once an animal has Facial Eczema - what can be done?

Facial eczema is definitely a disease where the old adage of “prevention rather than cure” holds true.

This disease can often be fatal and if not fatal can leave the animal so weakened as to leave her prone to suffering fatality from other opportunistic diseases and seasonal stresses. In the majority of cases providing the liver has not been too badly damaged it will recover over time. The affected animal will need to be well fed, supplemented with essential minerals, and not subjected to undue stress during the recovery period.

Agvance manufacture a powerful liver tonic called Liverade, this tonic delivers a combination of herbs, amino acids, minerals and vitamins, the formulation is designed to aid in the rebuilding of liver cells and help the recovery of the animal. This product is effective in treating both cattle and sheep. Dosage is based on liveweight.

Agvance knowledge and experience covers pasture, soil and animal health.

We manufacture high quality mineral solutions targeted for use over the Facial Eczema season. These mineral blends are fully customisable and available through your local vet.

To find out more about the most effective prevention strategy, or recovery support, for you, contact your local vet or talk to us at Agvance today.