Navigating Facial Eczema Causes and Solutions
P Purple cow Roberts

Navigating Facial Eczema Causes and Solutions

Jan 17, 2024 · Cattle · Facial Eczema

Facial eczema in cattle has become a growing concern among farmers, stemming from the ingestion of mycotoxins produced by the fungus Pithomyces chartarum. This fungus thrives in warm and humid conditions, contaminating pasture grasses and posing a threat to the health of cattle. In this blog post, we delve into the causes and effects of facial eczema on cattle, exploring potential solutions and preventive measures.

Understanding the Impact on the Liver

Facial eczema primarily affects the liver through the ingestion of sporidesmin, a mycotoxin produced by Pithomyces chartarum. This toxic compound has several detrimental effects on the liver, leading to damage and dysfunction.

Release of Sporidesmin: Cattle unknowingly consume pasture contaminated with Pithomyces chartarum during grazing, releasing sporidesmin into their bloodstream upon ingestion. This mycotoxin becomes a catalyst for the cascade of negative effects on the liver.

Toxic Effects on Liver Cells: Sporidesmin targets liver cells, causing oxidative damage and cellular injury. To counteract this, products like Hep-Ora work to detoxify the liver and shield cells from oxidative harm.

Damage to Bile Ducts: The mycotoxin also inflicts damage on the bile ducts within the liver, affecting the crucial role of bile in the digestion and absorption of fats in the small intestine.

Impaired Liver Function: The combined damage to liver cells and bile ducts impairs normal liver function, which involves detoxification, metabolism, and synthesis of various proteins. The active ingredients in Hep-Ora aid in breaking down fatty particles and cleansing the liver.

Photosensitization and Skin Damage

A notable feature of facial eczema is photosensitization, where the mycotoxin affects the skin's response to sunlight, resulting in skin damage.

Photosensitisation: The damaged liver struggles to process phylloerythrin, which accumulates in the blood. Exposure to sunlight causes a reaction with accumulated phylloerythrin, leading to skin damage. Vetsep Antiseptic Sunblock proves effective in shielding the skin from harmful sun exposure.

Skin Lesions and Inflammation: The interaction between sunlight and accumulated phylloerythrin induces inflammation and damage to the skin, particularly in sun-exposed areas like the face and ears. Vetsep Antiseptic Sunblock provides protection, soothes irritated skin, and aids in healing damaged skin.

Secondary Infections: Compromised skin becomes susceptible to secondary bacterial infections, exacerbating the overall condition.

Cow suffering from Facial Eczema


Facial eczema, if left unaddressed, can result in severe liver damage and impact the overall health of cattle. Timely detection, removal from contaminated pastures, and veterinary intervention are imperative for effectively managing and treating facial eczema. By understanding the causes and implementing preventative measures, farmers can safeguard the well-being of their cattle and ensure a healthy, thriving herd.

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