Facial eczema is a disease caused by a fungal spore and affects cattle, sheep, deer, llamas, and alpacas (but not horses). Fungal spores on pasture typically peak from January to early autumn. Facial eczema occurs when fungal spores are eaten and a toxin is released causing liver damage and severely painful secondary skin damage (which is not always visible!).
Prevention: Once progressed, it may not be possible to treat this disease so prevention is cure. On lifestyle blocks for sheep and cattle the most effective way to do this is by using oral zinc boluses (Faceguard) every 4-6 weeks. Zinc can be added to the feed for alpacas and llamas.
Danger spore levels:
Keep an eye on regional spore count updates to know when to start zinc.
Grass samples for spore counts can be a helpful tool in monitoring. We charge a small fee per sample.
Call our farm clinics for more information.