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Facial Eczema

Ewe

Facial Eczema is caused by fungal spores that occur on pasture during warm moist conditions, usually late summer to autumn when grass minimum temperatures are above 14ºC and moisture is available.

When ingested by ruminants (cattle/sheep) these spores release a toxin which damages the liver and causes secondary skin damage.

 

There are many symptoms to facial eczema including loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhoea, and irritation of skin which can cause the skin to slough (peel) leaving large raw wounds.  This causes the animal great suffering and is a significant animal welfare issue.  

 

There is no treatment for this disease and the key is to prevent the damage before it happens. Several different treatment options exist and they each vary in price and effectiveness.  Watch our website for spore count updates to know when to start treatment with zinc.

 

On lifestyle blocks the most effective way to provide zinc is using zinc boluses (Faceguard and Time Capsules) during the risk period.  These provide the longest period of protection, lasting for up to 6 weeks and come in a variety of sizes to fit all sizes of stock.

 

Faceguard  Boluses Low Res

Drinking Water
Zinc in Feed
Drenching
Boluses
If animals are being treated via in-water medication ensure that no other water source is available for animals to drink.  Water trough treatment will not protect calves less than 12 months of age or sheep.  Water trough treatment is unreliable in protecting against high spore counts over 100,000. When using in-feed zinc, ensure that all stock are eating the treated feed in adequate amounts to prevent the effects of Facial Eczema. This option is labour intensive, but is effective and reliable because you can be sure that very animal gets appropriate protection. We stock two brands of bolus Face Guard & Time Capsule.  While they are the dearest of the treatment options, they are also very effective and provide reliable protection. They are ideal for calves, yearling cattle, lambs and sheep.

Our friendly staff are trained to help you select the most appropriate treatments for your farming operation.