Mycotoxins produced by Pithomyces chartarum.
Animals most affected
Ingestion of rye grass (Lolium species) contaminated by sporidesmin during autumn
following periods of drought (particularly a problem in the south of France, Australia
and New Zealand). Poisoning is still known as ‘ruminants' facial eczema'.
Sporidesmin causes photosensitivity secondary to hepatic damage.
Clinical features and lesions
These present 10-20 days following ingestion of the toxins:
oedema of the lips and eyelids;
inflammation and swelling of the ears and face (and in unpigmented areas);
fall in milk production;
moderate to severe jaundice;
haemolysis with haemoglobinuria;
possible fatal outcome within 10 days of exposure.
No antidote. Symptomatic care only:
place animal in a shaded area, or out of sunlight;
a sample of dried plant material taken from ground level;
a sample of faeces to be taken less than 24 hours after grazing on the field
suspected of being contaminated; the samples for mycological analysis should
be taken either directly from the animal or from the area where it has been grazing.