Facial eczema – the hidden killer

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Most of the damage caused by facial eczema (FE) is subclinical (no obvious external signs) and goes unnoticed until it’s too late, comments Agritrade.

It takes 10 days from ingestion of spores to evidence of damage. If you wait until you think you have a FE issue, your stock will already be suffering ill effects.

For every three in 100 animals that are clinically affected, about 70% of the herd may have subclinical FE. The disease causes damage to the bile duct system of the liver and subsequent liver damage. 

The liver is a vital organ aiding in the digestion of fats, the production of energy, detoxification of wastes and production of hormones. Liver damage results in a drop in milk production, poor reproductive performance and poor growth rates. 

However, farmers often only talk about the clinically obvious cases of skin peeling, facial swelling and restlessness. Chronic exposure to low spore counts (20,000) can cause significant damage. It’s not just the very high spore counts that have this effect. 

To protect your livestock this season you need to know what is happening on your farm. Pasture spore counting is a good way of monitoring the spore contamination in your pastures. When the counts on your farm are trending towards 30,000, prepare for zinc supplementation of the cows. The Time Capsule provides consistent, protective zinc oxide for four weeks in cattle and six weeks in sheep. It consistently protects* more cattle against FE in your herd. 

In a 2019 NZ trial, approved by an animal ethics committee, conducted by an independent research company, the Time Capsule was tested using serum zinc levels* in cattle against another facial eczema bolus. It protected* 100% of the two groups of animals one week after treatment. The other bolus only protected 77%. 

The trial showed that the Time Capsule continued to give consistent protection for the length of the trial. The other bolus was neither fully protective nor consistent, never reaching 100% of animals protected. 

It is important to use the correct capsule for the weight of your stock as overdosing can cause health issues and underdosing will not provide the necessary defence. 

An extensive range of sizes is available to suit your needs. 

• Article supplied by Agritrade. 



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