Facial eczema is a common NZ disease, particularly between December and May when the temperature is humid and warm. It is caused by a toxin (sporidesim) and causes severe liver damage in animals that feed primarily on pasture. Whilst exposure to large number of toxic spores can cause severe liver disease, regular exposure to moderate numbers of these spores over a sustained period of time can also have the same effect.
Repeated exposure to spore counts even as low as 5,000 can cause liver damage. Prevention is key, and Zinc supplementation is the method by which we can help prevent this disease form affecting your animals.
Sheep and alpacas are most susceptible to this disease. Since not all affected animals show obvious clinical signs, affected animals with skin damage often only represent the tip of the iceberg. Studies have shown that up to 50% of the animals in a mob actually have severe liver disease even if only one or two of these animals are showing obvious signs. For every animal with obvious clinical signs there will be another 10 animals in the mob with internal liver disease.
Zinc supplementation before the high risk period is the ONLY effective preventative method available. Did you know that animals need to be given Zinc at least 2-3 weeks before the spore counts rise to be effective? Spore counts can be sudden and unpredictable, and for that reason zinc should be given early on in the season!
Call us for more information or to speak to us about preventative strategies