Facial Eczema is caused by fungal spores that occur on pasture during warm moist conditions, usually from late summer through to autumn. When eaten by cattle or sheep, these fungal spores release a toxin that damages the liver and may result in secondary skin damage.
Treatment with zinc boluses, zinc in water, or the application of anti-fungal products to pasture are some of the options to prevent facial eczema damage.
In most common beef breeds skin damage is not likely to occur as there must be white skin exposed to sunlight to create the classic skin sores. Unfortunately, this does not mean there has been no liver damage over this time.
Franklin Vets was involved in Beef and Lamb trial work monitoring growth rates of beef bulls over several facial eczema seasons. This work showed significantly lower growth rates in bulls that were not protected from facial eczema damage despite very few skin sores being seen.
Check the spore counts in your area