Story: Diseases of sheep, cattle and deer

Facial eczema in cattle

Facial eczema is like severe sunburn, and affects a cow's back and udder, as well as the face. It is very uncomfortable for the animal and upsetting for farmers, and causes loss of milk production in badly affected animals. Facial eczema occurs mainly in the northern half of New Zealand, where the fungus Pithomyces chartarum grows on dead and dying pasture in late summer and autumn. It produces a toxin, Sporidesmin, which cows eat when grazing.

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How to cite this page:

Gary Clark, Neville Grace and Ken Drew, 'Diseases of sheep, cattle and deer - Cattle parasites and other problems', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 May 2022)

Story by Gary Clark, Neville Grace and Ken Drew, published 24 Nov 2008